I’ve been running around a lot lately. For work and just for life in general. Taking a lot of photographs of things I wouldn’t normally be taking photographs of. Looking for more details, both close up and far away. It’s funny how much of the city I miss while I’m driving around, that I really never photograph the temples and monuments in Hanoi that are perhaps most photographed, by tourists and snap-happy locals alike. But a recent travel job has been sending me all around the capital, to all the places I generally avoid like the plague. And it hasn’t been all bad. I still say sitting with a cup of iced coffee along a particularly busy sidewalk and spending your afternoon people-watching is much more fun than running around all red and sweaty trying to see the next history museum, but if after you finish that cup of coffee you want to do something more traditional, maybe it’s a little worth it.
The top image is Ngoc Son Temple, in the centre of Hoan Kiem Lake, in the center of the Old Quarter. As well as Nguyen Qui Duc’s ode to Uncle Ho by way of Andy Warhol. Duc is the owner/proprietor of a hip little cafe bar that gets written about all over the world, called Tadioto. The second image is two views over the city from the new rooftop bar in Pacific Place. Hanoi doesn’t have the grandest aerial views, but it tries. Third down is a dragon carving at Quan Thanh Temple, near West Lake, and a swan boat adrift on the lake’s surface. Rumor has it that lust-ridden teenagers like to take rides out onto those calm blue waters and make waves, but I wouldn’t know. The fourth image is the Hanoi Opera House and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. I don’t think I’m the first person to photograph either place. Fifth down is a diptych from the Vietnamese History Museum, which is actually much cooler than it sounds. And last is some scratchings on a stone slab at the Temple of Literature, and an outside view of the Presidential Palace.
So what does it all mean? I don’t know. But I liked playing tourist for a few days. I liked being expected to be taking pictures of a lot of these things. I could just kind of smile and not worry about upsetting anyone. Except for the guard at the mausoleum. But even he seemed sorry he had to shoo me away. I hope he got over it.