Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Lazy June Weekend in Hanoi

Standing on a carpet of flamboyant tree and crepe-myrtle petals, I took this shot looking across the water at Kim Lien Temple.

This weekend has been really hot and humid; typical Hanoi weather for early June. One nice thing to do on days like this is explore West Lake, where ancient temples and walled alleys, and giant crepe-myrtle and flamboyant trees, reflect in the neighborhood's various lakes. There are breezes here and copious shade, not to mention nice little lakeside cafes where you can sit and listen to cicadas buzz. It's the time of year when Hanoi dons its brightest colors.

I thought I'd share a few photos from the Truc Bach area, where I live, and West Lake, which is a stone's throw away. Enjoy!

On Saturday mornings on Tran Vu Street, red-whiskered bulbul (chim chào mào)  aficionados gather in sidewalk cafes to let their birds socialize. Later, if they choose, they will pair males with females. It's fun to come here for coffee and enjoy the sight of these excited birds and the sound of them singing to each other. 

One of the giant crepe-myrtle trees, or cây bằng lăng, on Truc Bach Lake. Quite a nice spot for a cafe, no?

A small park on Truc Bach Lake full of bright flowers and blooming flamboyant trees (cây phượng).

One of Hanoi's top choices for a sidewalk cafe.

Two men fishing on West Lake. Behind them, as you can see, are the city's ubiquitous, colorful summer trees.

An old alley in West Lake, carpeted in flamboyant tree flowers.

A girl in a white aó dài being photographed beneath a flamboyant tree.

This photo, also along West Lake, I just threw in with the rest. These geese are actually pedal-driven boats, very popular in the summer.

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  1. Nice blog, but I think you would see the world differently if you grew a mustache like other famous writers such as Rudyard Kipling and Cap'n Crunch.

  2. Anonymous: You make a good point, but I’m one step ahead of you. I’ve lately grown a mustache––a Gene Shallot mustache, in fact, but sleeker, like two seal tails pushing out on both sides from beneath my nose. I can feel it working its literary magic constantly! But that’s not why I grew it. If I wanted to see the world differently, I would need to transfer my mustache to my eyebrows, where it would hang down and obscure my vision. I do get Cap’n Crunch stuck in my mustache, though, sometimes for weeks before I realize it, which is funny, don’t you think? Thanks for your comment!