Happy Hanoi Christmas

There were many things I expected to see in Hanoi, but Christmas decorations weren’t up there on the top of my list. Let alone an entire street dedicated to Christmas decorations in The Old Quarter. And I only found this gem of a street because I was after silk lanterns to bring home.

And so this is Christmas…..

My hotel lobby


Frosty and friends

I hear those sleigh bells jingling

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Walking in a Christmas Wonderland

When Buddhism meets Christmas

Lanterns in Christmas decoration Street

….Hanoi style.

Early mornings in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake

It’s cool and misty here in Sydney this morning,  much like my first morning in Hanoi, Vietnam.

outside the Temple of Literature (1076)

Hanoi is an incredibly bustling, in your face kind of city. The apartment buildings are narrow and tall, not so much neighbouring one another, almost on top of each other. Daily life is accompanied by the constant tooting of motorbike and taxi horns.  Road rules are followed with a level of flexibility that you don’t see in regulated, orderly Sydney and yet it all works. You step off the pavement and move into the flow as bikes, taxis and cars move around you, occasionally you feel the breath of a passing motorbike as whizzes it passes you. Closely.

You're never too old...


... For some pom-pom dancing ...


... by the Lake

But the early mornings are far quieter. For a visitor, walking around Hanoi in the early morning (I left my hotel at about 6ish), it gives you the chance to see  the residents  of Hanoi moving at a different pace. Breakfasts are cooked on the pavements, food is bought from the back of bicycles and plastic tubs in the gutter, stalls are set up and  exercise is taken around the Hoan Kiem Lake.

An early morning chat

The morning after bench

These were my favourite times in Hanoi.  A time when I felt that I was witnessing Vietnamese life as it is lived, not just experienced as a tourist destination.

Fan dancing Hanoi style


The Latin class


Ballroom by the lake


Back towards the Old Quarter


Back from the flower market

Making the morning teaThe Old Quarter


Breakfast in The Old Quarter

Early Morning TV

Cleaning out the chooks

The Old Quarter

Bargaining Fish