Warmer Day, Side Street Thoughts in Hanoi

Warmer day today and I felt a bit tired this morning from yesterday’s walk. I ended up sleeping in until almost 10am which was quite nice and then breakfast and a muffin at Starbucks. Around noon I decided to go for the day’s perambulations. I started around the Hoan Kiem Lake which is kinda sorta my base of operation but soon walked south turning down whatever street took my fancy or seemed to look interesting.

The area to the south of Hoan Kiem Lake is pretty interesting. There are skyscrapers and small shopping districts and open air food stands all coalesced into the same areas. Walking through those areas you see a variety and randomness truly astounding. I also don’t see any tourists for the most part when I walk south of the lake. Its only when I get closer to the touristy Lake areas do the numbers pick up.

There are also so many little side streets that I could never run out of places to see. Many of these have elegant little shops like boutique clothing, hair salons, and small toy stores. Cars do not go down these too often but scooters are forever present. Even if you think you finally have a street to yourself sans scooters, the reverie is soon busted by the sound of the horn behind you wanting you to move out of the way. The pedestrians down these little side streets tend to walk in the middle of the little road. Discussions are had as the they walk down past the other mostly present shop in Hanoi — the coffee shop. Coffee shops are interesting cultural and social things on the streets. Young people gather in the morning and sit outside often carrying on long conversations and I often get myriad “Hellos” as I go. These people have to be some of the friendliest. Then past the coffee shop you will see the other little shops. Many of these are elegant little affairs. I’ve decided to branch off with this and spend a day walking these and capturing the elements of as many side streets south of Hoan Kiem Lake that I can do. I will never get down all of them or find them but the walking and photography should give you an idea what’s its like in the little social and cultural areas between large streets. I like them a lot!

Tomorrow I take off for an all day tour so should have some things to share other than city pictures of Hanoi. I do another all day tour on Monday all day. I’m trying to get some things done before my end date of 14 June which is fast approaching. Next weekend I fly to Hue and then about a week later I leave.

Here’s some photos from the day’s adventures. Thanks for reading along.