Monday, August 06, 2018

Tonkin mon amour – of buildings and people

Another super nice thing about Hanoi was just exploring it and enjoying its streets, its buildings, its people's comings and goings... In particular, I was fascinated by their obsession with super narrow buildings. Apparently, this design emerged from some sort of tax exemption if your building or store wasn't wider than a certain measure, leading to this delightful and unusual look everywhere you made an effort to twist your neck and look.

Also, there was Art Déco, Art Nouvau, French architecture, balconies under which fruit vendors took cover from the rain, alleys leading to tattoo parlours and tiled floors at old cafés, old villas with jackfruit trees... Sure, there was lot of Chinese architecture as well, but I'm saving those buildings for a temples-only post. 

And then, just life, like someone sleeping in a bed right inside a shop next to a gallery, the ever-flowing stream of motorbikes, rambutans and mangosteens and lotus pods peddled by women with the typical Asian conical hat, ghost money to burn as an offering to the dead, herb shops and gay bars called Gold Cock... 

And our charming Airbnb for the our final couple of days, an old apartment in an old building down a narrow alley, with high ceilings and high wooden window frames...

What a pleasure you are, Hanoi. 

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