Having lived in Sri Lanka and Australia, the "different world" experience of Hanoi, Vietnam started with opening the drivers side door of my Taxi. A smile is the only language without any barriers and I had a fair share of it. So I still don't know what exactly the driver told me, but at the end we both smiled.
It was an evening flight and arrival was almost at dusk. The taxi flew though- under the legal speed limits- small crops of towns and I can almost sense Hanoi. The Chaos started to built up. By statistics motorcycles were taking over the street by sheer force of numbers. The appearance of the centre of Hanoi was similar to the ant colony I disturbed when I was young. Motorcyclists running in every directions, people trying to lurk into the roads and hit the opposite pavement by grace of god, wide opened shops selling various stuffs I have never seen or never want to eat, street sellers with large baskets they can barely carry, diners sitting on those tiny red plastic chairs slurping the pho noodle soup with sips of Bia(Beer) Saigon and my driver who was navigating the same street once again for the Third time trying to find the hotel among all these scenes- Chaos, plus it was a Sunday- Contrary to a Friday in Sydney. It was indeed a culture shock.
Tired and straight to bed!!!
Next day, I was not expecting much of a difference between the night and the day. Everything was same except some locations of Hanoi Old Quarter particularly the Hoan Kiem Lakeside which had some morning ritual being performed- badminton, riverside open gym, Spanish dancing practices and various other community activities. Hanoi is a street and travel photographers paradise where the days can be endless- Enough said and well deserved. Negotiating this part of Vietnam while carrying multiple photography gear is always a painful process. However recent switch to Fujifilm made the process much easier. I was carrying a Fujifilm X-T2, Fujifilm X-E2S and a Fujifilm X100F which was generously sponsored by Fujifilm Australia for this trip, the latter is something special and it will make you feel special. Often I was carrying all three of them at the same time with different lenses except the Fujifilm X100F which has a fixed 23mm (~35mm equivalant) lens. Thanks to the technology behind all these new machines with great qualities and feather weights in relative terms. I got so much to share from Vietnam, so here are some pictures. In the Next post I will be trekking around the tribal villages in Northern Mountains of Vietnam.