Monday, 8 September 2014

Hanoi | Report Two: The People of Tay Bac

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
The humidity is just staggering in Hanoi, and it's certainly affecting the group and I. Timing the photo shoots in the early morning, as we did today, doesn't really make a measurable difference.

That said, the dawn-early morning walk about on the Hoàn Kiếm Lake shore was interesting, both culturally and photographically. Apart from the placid tai chi being performed by Hanoi's senior citizenry, the group and I came across a more energetic display of the form using large fans, couples dancing to the tune of Delilah probably performed by a Vietnamese Tom Jones, groups of women of all ages doing aerobics to the bear of disco music...and school children waiting for their buses.

Later, we went for another walk about on Hang Ma...the epicenter of the Tết Trung Thu festival; the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is the country's second most important holiday, after Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.

It's a combination of Christmas, Halloween and a block party of sorts during which young women (known as 'the pretty young things' in my parlance) wear Minnie Mouse ears and huge eyeglasses (fake), and flash the ubiquitous Asian 'V' sign at whoever looks at them.

It's a surfeit of sensory overload, with incredibly colorful decorations and well as incessant traffic noise caused by an endless stream of motorbikes and scooters.

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
I anticipate that Hang Ma will really be incredibly crowded this evening when we return for another dose of the Mid-Autumn Festival...hopefully this time, there'll be dragon dances!

By the way, the technological improvement of the X-T1 over the X Pro-1 are really staggering. The latter is really showing its age...however, I'm still using both.