You really do need to carry your camera around with you everywhere you go in Vietnam, not only to capture the beautiful scenery, the people and crazy big city lifestyles but to capture the everyday normal occurrences that are not so normal for a westerner like myself.
On my arrival to Vietnam, I was in a taxi driving to Kate’s place when I saw a family of five on a motorbike. I had heard about and seen online the unbelievable carrying capacity of the Vietnamese and their motorbikes but to see it in person was another thing. On another day I saw what I assume was a dad driving his two sons to school, with the older child sitting on the back. Nothing abnormal with that you might say but what amused me was the younger child in the middle asleep, sitting up and leaning against his dad’s back amongst the craziness of Hanoi traffic.
Another thing that fascinated me every time I took a taxi form Kate’s house into the old quarter ofHanoi were the super skinny houses. These were all over Vietnam and apparently exist because people are taxed on the width of their house so they get around that by building skinny, tall, long houses instead – genius!
On this trip I took into the city I also passed the outdoor barbers. There was one section where the barbers would hang up a small mirror on the wall and have a chair ready to cut the men’s hair or give them a shave, right there on the footpath.
As already mentioned you see some entertaining things while in or watching the chaotic traffic. For example, I was sitting at a cafe in Hanoi one time and saw a guy with an electric fan on a tall stand (one of those fans we used to use in an attempt to keep cool in Australia before we had air conditioning) on the back of his motorbike. Not so fascinating you might say, but this one was somehow turned on and working! That’s one way to stay cool. I have to say the Vietnamese are very resourceful and possess a great deal of ingenuity. Another impressive feat of ingenuity I saw was the helmet with a hole in the back for the pony tail. I’m surprised females all over Vietnam do not own one of these!
One last observation before I end this post….On my last day in Hanoi it was raining so I was interested to see how the millions of motorcyclists would cope with this. Well rain ponchos seemed to be the fashion item of choice but not just your average rain poncho. For those who are doubling up on a bike they make double ponchos with two head holes that cover the bodies of both riders. I did see one girl hiding under the poncho of her driver who was either not prepared to give the girl a lift and only grabbed his single person poncho as he left the house that morning or maybe he was not ready to make the double poncho commitment in their relationship ;).
To summarise, I cannot recommend enough that you visit Vietnam at least once. Before I even left the country I was trying to figure out when I could fit in my next trip there. It is a great country filled with loads of history, phenomenal food, lovely people, beautiful places to visit and of course fantastic photography opportunities.
Click here for more pictures of my vietnamese adventure
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