Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tree cage

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In some streets in town you can almost feel the trees wanting to hug the pavement - and that feels nice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bird's eye

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Here's the view from the rooftop of my office's building; you can see the West Lake (close to the horizon line), and, on the foreground, the land where a new building is being erected. Hanoi being super humid at this time, this area is most of the time under the water; I don't know how the workers do to cope with it. I really hope they'll manage to finish the foundations soon so that they can work without wading in the mud!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tales of another time

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Yep, this shot could have been taken decades ago... Surprising, ain't it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Apple store... Not.

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As I was looking around town for an Apple authorized reseller to bring my laptop in for servicing, I fell on this amusing pastiche of other (official) well-known stores of the californian brand. Of course it is not at all on the official apple.com website; otherwise I'm sure it would win some kind of award.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Into the wild

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Looking at this picture, one might think it has been taken somewhere in the outskirts of Hanoi, with the giant tree growing between two houses - one of which seems abandoned.

One might be surprised to realize it has actually been taken in the street I live in, right in the city center!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Refill or re-think?

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Kind of like what happened in Malaysia in June, the petrol prices rose by 31% on last Monday in Vietnam. A tough reality check for a country which day-to-day life practically revolves around motorbikes!

As a natural consequence, taxi fares have surged. My regular cab ride that was around 40,000 đồng ($2.4) before, now costs over 53,000 đồng ($3.1).

On the bright side, we can hope all this will help make our leaders realize that Mr. Gore's vision is not so crazy after all.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Helmet galore

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Helmets were only recently made compulsory in Vietnam, and today you can chose from a lot, as you can see. I'm not sure of the efficiency of wearing those, but the fine for not wearing one costs as much as the helmet itself - so you might as well pick a fancy one!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rackets and shuttlecocks

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Badminton really is something here; you can find courts everywhere, from the sidewalks in the city center to the public parks as you can see on this shot. I went to play last Saturday, and boy was it fun - and physically draining, with the heat and humidity!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Safety first

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Those guys are fixing this giant 'billboard', at a good twenty meters off the ground. I wouldn't bet too much on the solidity of their harnesses, but it seems to be doing the trick.

Like they say, Vietnam is not a country to bring safety inspectors nor driving instructors from Europe. They would probably gasp every 10 seconds!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chợ Đồng Xuân

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Đồng Xuân is the oldest and largest market in Vietnam; its 'organized mess' inside is quite worth a visit!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The tube-house

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Six storeys, apple-green and the width of a door: I am not kidding, this is a real building, located very close to my apartment.

I wonder what went into the architect's head when he/she designed this... What's your theory?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The keeper

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As the city is full of bikes everywhere - whether they are on the streets, on the sidewalks or in the houses basements - someone needs to keep an eye on them when one goes to the restaurant or to the office. I photographed this 'bike keeper' right in front of the little house I mentioned before; he's got a nice and quiet spot!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hanging around

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When the past (this old house), the present (those clothes hanging there to dry) and the future (the renovation works) meet, well, you get this surprising sight. But when you come to think about it, isn't it what a city is all about?

Hanoi is bracing itself for a lovely weekend after a (very) rainy week; enjoy, everyone!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum

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Here's another famous building in Hanoi: the Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum. Hosting the preserved body of the former leader, it is open to the public in the morning so that people can go pay their respects to 'Uncle Ho' - and boy do they go there in big groups in the morning, there's always a line to get in!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Little House on the Prairie

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Right in the heart of the Old Quarter sits this 'little house', with pretty much no signs of life. I'm intrigued... Aren't you?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Opera House

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Please meet the Hanoi Opera House (or Nhà hát lớn Hà Nội as you can read on the pediment), an interesting building inspired by the parisian Palais Garnier. Next to it is the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel, recently established; you may wonder why such a long name? Well, let's just say that the Hanoi Hilton from the Vietnam/American War was not so much known for its suites, but rather for its prison cells.

On a lighter note, I'm probably going to attend a flamenco show there in two weeks; that'll be the perfect opportunity to see whether the inside lives up to the glorious shell. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Motorbike hug

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[xe ôm]: 'motorbike hug'

... Or, more commonly, moto-taxi. Yep, this is one of the easiest way to travel inside the city when you don't have a bike yourself, and, more importantly, if you're not too averse to taking risks.
Naturally, you must bargain the fare before you start your journey and it is generally considerably more difficult to get a good price if you're a foreigner. Still, it remains quite inexpensive; so go ahead and try it out!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fête Nationale

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July 14th ('14 Juillet') is France's National Day, celebrating the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1789; like all the Frenchmen residing in Hanoi, I got invited to the celebrations held at the Embassy today. This means mingling, french food and champagne. 'Mais que demande le peuple?'

Sunday, July 13, 2008

50A

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I finally got around to renting a motorbike yesterday, and it is pretty awesome; I can go around and stop when I see nice house entrances such as the one above. Priceless!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Banana to go

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This is one of the things that make Hanoi so distinct from many other cities; I wanted a banana but by the time I snapped the shot, she was already too far away. Bummer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

End of the tunnel

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Okay folks, you must have noticed that I have been posting an awful lot of night pics lately; this is simply due to the fact that I have got a lot of work at the moment, and well, the only moment I can snap is after dusk.

This should get better in the days to come (I hope).

Meanwhile, I have a few little photo projects that I'm thinking about; you'll find out more about them here very soon! Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Night shift

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I went downstairs at 10PM to take a shot in the neighborhood, when I saw this lady doing her exercise in the street; I was amazed at how she still had energy for that, while the ambient temperature was literally punching me in the face. Kudos!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jaywalk

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Quick snap behind the Temple of Litterature; I'll be posting more of this gorgeous building in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mélange des genres

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When Paris meets Hà Nội, well... You get this. A mix of Haussmann-ish top with a shophouse-like bottom; quite surprising at first, I must say.

Then again, they build châteaux in Beijing - so why not?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bike-reading

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Trúc Bạch lake, take 3; daytime!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vietnamese shadow play

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Another shot from last night: this is the road that is separating the Trúc Bạch lake from the West lake. When the weather permits, a lot of couples are just hanging out there, next to their bikes.
Oh, and since the format might be a bit small for you guys to see, I also uploaded a larger version of it.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Home sweet home

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Today's post is coming a bit late; I was uber-busy with all my things finally arriving from Thailand, meaning that I am officially in my new place as of today. It feels good to have a place I can call home again!
I am lucky enough to have a nice view on the Trúc Bạch lake; you can also see this narrow house across the street, which is very typical of the Vietnamese architecture. I heard the houses are shaped this way because the taxes are levied according to the property's width.

Anyhow, this one is empty for now. Any takers?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Heat

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After 5 years in South-East Asia, I thought I was used to hot and humid climates...
Until I arrived in Hanoi.

Seriously, I've never sweated so much in my lifetime. Can't wait for the autumn to be there!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thịt chó

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Okay, I must confess I hesitated to post this one.
Eating dog surely is a taboo in our western cultures, but it's not here - and it's actually considered almost as a delicacy.
For those who were contemplating coming over to Vietnam and who are now reconsidering, please don't let this fool you: you will not be served dog's meat if you don't specifically request it. It is only served in some restaurants advertising 'Thit cho'.

Some will argue that it's wrong to eat dog, and the purpose of this blog isn't to debate about it, but rather to open our eyes to a different culture - because it feels nice to see that we're not all alike.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Going green

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Hapro is a big local conglomerate that has supermarkets, coffee shops and the likes; never got a chance to go shop in their malls but I couldn't help but noticing this super-green building.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 2008 Theme Day: "No . . ." signs

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[cấm đỗ xe]: no parking.

No additional caption on this photo, because I really like it the way it speaks for itself and I hope you like it, too. Go check out what the other members from the City Daily Photo Community have got for y'all; they have pretty great stuff!


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