Monday, June 30, 2008

Péché mignon

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What can be better than traditional sandwiches to get along with wine?
No, I'm not obsessed with food (nor drinks)... Not.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Broomsday

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Sunday: time to clean the house. In case you don't have the tools, you might want to buy a broom from this street vendor... Handy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back to school

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Young and innocent; certainly the little girls painted on this kindergarten wall are. It's funny how they remind me of the drawings that were in the books I had in primary school; do you remember yours?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Through the looking glass

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Okay, so now you know I like lakes. Here's another shot taken near Hoàn Kiếm the other day; although there are a lot of tourists around there, people were still curious when I was walking and snapping pictures.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Afternoon treat

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Lots of fruits, some crushed ice and some condensed milk: there you have your hoa qua dam! Perfect for a lazy afternoon after a walk under the sun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Un air de fête

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It was a Friday night on Truc Bach lake and I saw those families and couples waiting along the road with balloons, ice cream cones and wide grins. Made me smile.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Candy shop

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Imagine my delight when I entered this bakery and saw those Carambars. Reminded me of primary school, when my classmates and I were almost missing the school bus after having ran to the local bakery to buy a couple of those with a few francs. Feeling nostalgic? Hmm, maybe just a little.

To cope with that, a little recipe I recently re-discovered with a friend of mine: infuse a few Carambars in a decent vodka. Wait for a few hours for it to completely dissolve, and you'll get a fine tasting, caramel-flavored vodka. Yeah, we're not kids anymore, so why the hell not enjoy that?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Swan Lake

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Swan-riding is something apparently very popular here during the weekends, especially when you're a couple. Hmm, I have got to give it a try sometime!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Like a Sunday

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Sunday morning is always a perfect time to go shopping for a couple of books, isn't it? Well, at least to look around, as most of them are in Vietnamese in this nice looking street-bookshop.

Have a great Sunday everyone! I am off to Malaysia for a week, but I've got a couple of photos in stock; so, stick around!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Vox populi, vox dei

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Every day at 6am, those speakers broadcast some local news, classifieds and songs. Oh, and pay no attention to the wires, you'll just get used to it after a while!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Over the cuckoo's nest

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I saw this bird in a cage, at some junction in the Old Quarter. Hopefully it's not going to end in some restaurant's kitchen.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Colour fest

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Some street shops really are super-specialized; proof to this point, this color painting powders shop. I'm not sure if I'll ever get to buy one of those plastic bags, but I sure know I will be dropping by again to get temporarily blind-sighted by this extravagant display!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tiếng Việt

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I had my first Vietnamese lesson two days ago; for those who doubted it - it's tough! Today is the second lesson; wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On the road again

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Ask anyone who arrived in here for the first time what their first shock was, and I bet you'll probably hear about the traffic. Yep, it really is something. By all means I'm not saying that it's worse than Paris (God knows I'm scared of even thinking about driving on the Place de l'Etoile); no, I'm just saying that it is an 'organized mess'. No matter where you go, the traffic never seems to stop, and the traffic lights that happen to be on certain junctions seem to have a purely ornamental function.

At first, you'll probably be so disconcerted you won't dare to even cross the street. After a little while, you'll venture out and get a kind of thrill by just walking steadily from a sidewalk to the opposite one, with all the motorbikes avoiding you with a certain sense of grace. And after this first, you will progressively acquire this nonchalance Hanoians display when they walk on their streets.

The only thing is, when you go out of Vietnam, just forget all I said. Rules don't apply anymore out there!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Grands Crus anyone?

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Hanoi is probably the French-est asian capital there is; you can't go around town for more than an hour before hearing the sulky-ish babbling that is so typical of my native language. You keep bumping into a lot of French tourists, students, short or long-haul expats -- take your pick.

As a direct consequence (!) the wine import industry seems to be doing wonderfully well; I saw this nice wine shop in the Métropole (the classiest, Belle-Époque style hotel in Hanoi) and couldn't help but snapping this shot. These are bottles from Burgundy, where my grandparents are from. It always feels special to see something I'm so familiar with, yet while being 6,000 miles away from home.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chassé-croisé

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I was roaming around when I noticed this lovely back alley, where two bikes can't actually fit at the same time.

Made me realize that publishing photos on this blog makes me discover the city under a totally new angle, and I must say I'm quite liking it so far! I hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Getting wiggy with it!

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Semi-headless, wigged-up dummies. Now, who can top that up? :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

... le beau temps

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Many say Hanoi is very often grey and cloudy. Well, I hope this photograph will help showing that's not (always) the case!

For the sake of full disclosure though, I have to confess that two hours after I took this shot, having literally cooked under the sun, I got totally drenched wet by a heavy shower on my way to lunch. But hey, unpredictability is nice, too :).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Après la pluie...

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After having lived almost five years next to the equator (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand) with a constant temperature all year round (say, 30 celsius with 80% humidity) it's quite a nice change to be arriving in Vietnam where there are actual seasons.
Much to my surprise, I actually felt really good about walking around while it was drizzling; kinda felt like I was in Brittany -- damn, my Breton friends are going to kill me for just saying that.

And when the rain intensifies, you know it's time to seek shelter in a taxi to go home :).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Playground

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Here's a night shot of a nice square (Lý Thái Tổ), next to the Hoàn Kiếm lake. I love how all generations are represented, making it truly a public place!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ma maison

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This is what I'd love to see when I go out of my place. I know it won't exactly be like that (I just found an apartment to move in to), but I'll keep this sight in mind :).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Beacon of light

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As I am pretty new to the city, I'm still having a hard time knowing exactly where I am when I start wandering around. Thankfully this giant beacon, located on the Tortoise Tower (Thap Rua) in the Hoàn Kiếm lake, helps me out during the night. Not sure it was its original purpose - but hey, I take what I can get :).

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Yellow submarine

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Hanoi, a.k.a. the motorbike frenzy. Cars are so expensive here, that everybody uses a motorbike; after all you can use it in pretty much any situation, from transporting pigs, chickens, huge Styrofoam bags, to families of four or even five sometimes. I'm going to get mine soon (bike, that is).

Some bikes stand out more than others, and like a bunch of people in the city I kind of have a crush on those really cute Vespas. Don't you just love this one?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chocoholics, stand united!

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I was walking along the West lake again today, and couldn't help but noticing this lovely, retro tea lounge. Didn't have time to go in and enjoy whatever scrumptious deserts they had got, but I know where I'll go for next brunch!

Have a good weekend everyone.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hush!

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After the buzz during the day time, time to unwind at night in this quiet street around Tay Ho (West Lake). Isn't this peaceful?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tradition vs. modernity

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Vietnam belongs to this handful of countries that are moving towards free-market economy at a blazing pace, while still keeping some very distinct traits. What could best embody that than this combination of one of Uncle Ho's giant posters, together with a billboard featuring a modern bank ad?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thu Le Lake

Hanoi by night

You couldn't imagine Hanoi without its lakes; present all across the city, some more famous than others, they're the perfect spot for the young couple of lovers.
This one is not -by far- the most famous but still keeps a charm you'll find nowhere else. Still, the motorbikes keep passing by - this is Hanoi! :)