Ha Noi Streets

Over the summer, my wife Laura and I accompanied our daughter Allison and her boyfriend Patrick while travelling through Southeast Asia. One of the many highlights for me was spending time walking the streets of Ha Noi, Viet Nam and photographing daily life there.

People in Ha Noi really do live their lives on the streets, without being what we in the west think of as “street people”. Food is prepared, cooked and eaten on the streets. People take mid-day naps on the streets; they read the paper, sell their wares and entertain themselves on the street. At times, the streets have a carnival-like atmosphere, particularly during the Night Markets – markets that open after sun down and sell just about anything and everything. Streets are blocked off from cars entering and vendors set up tables (and tarpaulins as it does rain a lot there) and span the next few hours selling. Fascinating!

To make my life easier, the people I photographed were very accommodating. For the most part, I was able to ask for permission before shooting, except, of course, those who were napping at the time or whizzing by on motorbikes. Some of the people I asked said no, and I respected that, but these are the ones who agreed. This made, for me, a very rich travel experience, interacting with people I could not converse with, but having a general and somewhat universal understanding of what each other was trying to say. I was able to get a local hotel from https://www.junglevistainn.com/, which helped me stay close to the people. Twice, I was offered pieces of fruit from ladies who were selling it. They would not take money from me when offered, but indicated it was a gift. How lovely. How truly genuine.

You’ll notice, all of these photos are made using an iPhone. I have found using an iPhone to be revolutionary for me, especially in street photography, an area I have little experience or confidence in pursuing. However, It seems people are not as intimidated having their photo taken with a phone as they might be with a more substantial camera. Ha Noi is a very different place from Guelph or Toronto. I’m not sure I could or would be able to do the same thing here.

Please take a moment to click through the images in the Gallery below (click on the first image to enlarge it, then scroll through to see the others). Note that I have only provided very general titles. Rather than explaining each photo in the title, I would rather leave it up to the viewer to look into the photo to see what’s happening and come to their own conclusions. Some are more obvious than others.

Please leave comments (or questions) below and I encourage you to take a moment to share this page using the links at the bottom.

Enjoy!

2 comments

  1. Cathy says:

    It’s so interesting to see people in Hanoi just living their lives. What a terrific photo “essay” that was. I’ve never seen anyone sleeping on their motorbike. I can taste those pineapples from here. I love the photo of the family with the red T-shirts and yellow star. I can’t help but wonder (as you must have) what it was like there, 50+ years ago. Thankfully, life has returned to normal, and let’s hope that life is better there now than it was.

    • Terry says:

      Yes, life in Viet Nam for the majority, it seems, is great. That family, with their Viet Nam flag t-shirts, was out for the day at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum grounds (the Mausoleum itself wasn’t open that day). They were quite happy when I offered to take their group photo with one of their phones and were equally happy when I asked to take one with phone. They couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Vietnamese, but we understood one another perfectly.

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