My Adventures Abroad in Hanoi, Vietnam

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vietnam's Got Talent: Singing

Here is the singing portion of the Tet 2011 celebrations at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi.  I wish I could have filmed more of the talented singers, but my memory disk was too small to capture them all.  I was able to get two singing acts.  The man in the first video is actually pretty good.  The "talent" in the second video is questionable, but the women look really cool standing in a row with colorful Vietnamese dresses. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vietnam's Got Talent: Dancing

This talent show was performed at Hoan Kiem Lake as part of the Tet 2011 kick-off celebrations.  These lovely dances are versions of traditional Vietnamese dances.  I took the liberty of naming the dances since I don't know the Vietnamese names.  Enjoy!

Lotus Dance

Lantern Dance

Fan Dance

Basket Dance

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Halong Bay

Kris and I took a day-trip to Halong Bay. 

 The trip there was a nightmare.  The 3-hour bus ride took 6 hours on account of the bus driver stopping to flirt with random women on the way.  That, plus the blaring techno which was too loud for carrying on any conversation, made for a long and uncomfortable ride.  Once at the bay, the bus stopped in the middle of the highway and made us get off the bus.  Apparently, the driver was now in too much of a hurry to bother with an actual bus stop. We managed to hail a cab, but the driver went careening down the highway on-ramp, head first into a shiny new SUV, then proceeded to attempt running the cab entirely off the road.  We jumped out of the cab and were able to get two motorbikes to take us to the bay itself.

Once there, it was very easy to find a tour.  As it turns out, it was practically a private tour, with only Kris, me, and two Korean men on the double-decker wooden boat.  Halong Bay itself was serene and lovely and made the day worthwhile.  It was the perfect place to test out the panorama function on my little camera.  The bay featured several giant rock formations jutting from the sea like skyscrapers.  We docked at one formation to tour the huge cave inside.  Then, we cruised to a tiny floating village made up of tiny wooden shacks and decks.  We spent about three hours cruising around the rock formations before heading back to shore.        

A typical cruising boat on Halong Bay

The dragon head of my boat

The huge rocks make the boats look small.

Heading towards the cave

Inside the cave

View from the cave mouth

Floating village on the left

Floating village

Back towards shore

Monday, April 4, 2011


I love this ice cream place called Fanny, located directly across from Hoan Kiem Lake.  It's decorated in Breakfast-at-Tiffany's-esque fashion with neopolitan pink, brown, and cream stripes and Vietnamese girls in pink 50's-diner dresses.  The menu offers several different dishes of thoughtfully prepared desserts.  I have tried a few and plan to go back for more.  Kris thinks the place has a funny name because, of course, eating all that ice cream will give us big fannies!

Top: Banana crepe with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
Side: Vietnamese coffee
Bottom: Five fruit sorbets atop a fresh fruit salad in a waffle cone with raspberry syrup. 

Strawberry ice cream with blueberry, strawberry, and melon sorbets with fresh strawberries, mint, and a chuck of dark chocolate with chocolate sauce at the bottom of the cup. 

Coconut ice cream served in an avocado with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries.

Vanilla and chocolate ice creams with berry sorbet, a chuck of dark chocolate, a white chocolate flower, a pink Pocky stick, and mint atop a bed of fresh watermelon, berries, and dragon fruit salad swimming in chocolate liqueur. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Power Wheels: Cardboard to Carry

Cardboard is actually expensive in Vietnam and quite coveted.  It's about the only thing I've seen that is routinely recycled here.  It's gathered and carted off by motorbikes in towering heaps like this one.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Communist Propaganda Art

In Hanoi, giant communist propanda posters can be seen on nearly every corner.  I took the time to photograph many of the posters around Hoan Kiem.  After I thought I had them all digitally collected, they rotated them all for new posters!  Here's the pics from the first crop.  There are all in Vietnamese, but the artwork gives the general idea behind the posters.   

Poster stand north of the Hoan Kiem Lake 

The man in the top corner is Ho Chi Minh--a common feature to many posters.

The hammer and sickle are the ultimate symbols of communism.

Traditional dancing is featured at many public events.

A very Asian-style dragon

Business and industry are forefront in the Vietnamese consciousness.