Sunday, 24 January 2010

My morning commute

I took the camera with me to document my bicycle ride to work. I pulled some pretty gnarly one-handed cycling/snapping moves, and took most of these while actually in motion, so forgive the quality of them.

Leaving home, I ride down a street filled with shops selling electrical doodads:

Including electrical doodads for your altar:

A street vendor selling oranges:

And then I cross the railway tracks:

The railway ding-dings are operated manually by a lady who lives next to the tracks. She pulls across those gates that you can see there to stop the traffic, but all the rest of the time, it's a free for all.

This is a pretty standard view for most of the journey:

This is also a pretty standard view on the streets of Hanoi, which are constantly under construction of some kind:

When things like those tubes start appearing on your street, it means you're about to experience some pretty intense 24-hour roadworks. Good luck to the people of this neighbourhood.

While I photograph tubes, a passing traffic policeman does Blue Steel:

And then it's off down the big straight stretch of road through the Citadel, which is a huge military complex:

This is all you can really see of what's inside. You get the general idea:

There are lots of soldiers, but this is the only photo I managed to take before I got the "no cameras" signal:

But I was excited to get this shot of the very fetching dusky peach uniforms of the traffic police:

A man in a little watch repairer's box, and men drinking tea

The day I took these photos was the first of the lunar month, meaning there were lots more people selling temple trappings, like this incense on wheels:

(I make sure to keep up with the lunar dates as there are certain days when Buddhist practitioners go vegetarian. The vegetarian restaurants get insanely packed on these days and should be avoided by the everyday vegetarian.)

I then head off around Truc Bach lake. This house is actually on an island:

Temporary serenity!

The chooks in Hanoi have amazing road-sense, and hang about wherever they choose. These ones have just parked their bike to have a morning coffee by the lake:

Waiters playing the ubiquitous game which crosses shuttle-cock with hacky-sack. Nathan has predictably dubbed it cock-sack:

Workers fishing god-knows-what from the lake:

I then turn onto Yen Phu, which is a hectic street with no differentiation between the space used for the road, the footpath or for selling things.

You can get drive-by offerings to be burnt for your ancestors:

Fruit to eat, or to put on the altar:

The flower markets are right nearby, so every morning you can see these beautiful bright colours making their way down the road through the greyness. At the moment, inexplicably, almost all the flowers are yellow:

When a bus comes, you get out of its way. They don't actually even stop when passengers get on and off, they just slow down a bit:

A road-side stall serving up pho for breakfast:

A bicycle-powered fruit stand, selling long watermelons and green oranges:

The international sign for buy-my-strawberries-you-big-nosed-looky-loo:

Setting up for a day selling deep-fried banana and sweet potato:

I then take a picturesque detour:

And cycle through the grounds of the Sheraton:

Which is a little patch of tourist fantasy Hanoi:

An illusion which is maintained perfectly until you stray one metre from the hotel:

My work is in Tay Ho, which is a relatively peaceful - and expensive - area, populated largely with expats:

There are parts of the neighbourhood that feel a world away from the city. These are little boats used to collect floating green vegetables:

And then I arrive at the office:


And get to work:


  1. Cocksack! HAH!

    Could you please send me one of those small woven boats?

  2. Looks like an incredible place, full of contrast. I'm a bit jealous, and not just because I'd like to work for such a good cause too...


  3. What an entertaining commute!

  4. Wow I know that 'blue steel' traffic police chap - I walk past him everyday!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.