Omigod, my ‘computer guy’ in Chico is a GENIUS!!!! He’s absolutely great. I won’t go into the details (because I don’t even understand what happened anyway), but I’d done something to screw up my computer. A friend of Mike’s was able to reinstall internet connectivity for me on this side of the planet (thank you, Thanh!), but it still had quite a few problems. I’d apparently downloaded a virus. I contacted Gary (Mr. ‘Computer Guy’) and he logged on through thousands of miles of ethernet and fixed it…basically in the middle of the night for him. THANK YOU, GARY!! You’re wonderful!
Geez, it’s a drag being without the internet. You just don’t realize how addicted you are until you don’t have it.
So…..that’s why I haven’t put up a post in quite a while…..and I aim to amend that state of affairs posthaste….but first……
…….I just want to show you my new lamp. Ain’t it purty?
So, I went for a walk one day about a week ago. I took my regular route to the Old Quarter. It’s touristy in that area, therefore a bit more expensive, but I kinda like hanging out there. It’s just more colorful and it’s a great place to people watch. So, what I did was take my camera with me to show you my walk…..and here we go….
Here’s the alley just outside my house. I’ve already posted a picture of it from my balcony, but here it is at street level. And just around the corner is the tower….
….alongside the omnipresent electrical wiring. I went through a phase of not wanting to take a picture if I couldn’t take it without the wiring in it, but soon realized I’d never take a picture, basically – it’s absolutely everywhere….so, I got over it.
My alley opens out onto Van Ho…..
On the left side of the street is an outdoor room…..I don’t know what else to call it…. There is always someone there, rain or shine. There is a tv that’s always on. There are chairs and tables, a fridge…..
Here’s some more….
….and some more……
I’ve gone in and made a couple of enquiries, but, darn, too pricey. It’s still nice to peruse.
Van Ho opens out onto this street which is Ngyuen Dien Chieu…..
About halfway down, I take a right onto Tue Tinh…..
I sometimes buy my fruits and veges along this street.
Then I’ll take a left onto Ba Trieu.
You can see the diacritics in the lettering which have been missing in my text. ‘Pho’ means Street.
Ba Trieu is the longest stretch of my journey. It’s a fairly large, busy street, although, when I went for this walk it was mid-day when there aren’t so many people out and about…..it’s nap time! Here are a few scenes along Ba Trieu….
I love this bookstore. The owner is the man sitting inside. I bought a copy of Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” here and it’s been some mighty good reading.
I adore this dog. I haven’t pet him ~ I’ve never seen anyone around who looks like they might be the owner and I figure I’ll let sleeping dogs lie…. But he’s here every time I walk by and I think he’s gorgeous.
…….and here I’ve come to the end of Ba Trieu and am near Hoan Kiem Lake which you can just see through the trees….
…..and here I’m closer still to the lake……
…..and just about to turn left, away from it….
……but first I’ll check out this basketry store. I’ll take one of each, please.
So, I turn left onto Trang Thi…
….walk down just a little way and turn right onto Nha Chung……
…..which, at some undetermined step of the way, turns into Ly Quoc Su….. and here are a few pics along the way…..
….there are pagodas dotted all around the city.
Here’s another one. I watched this woman for a while. She was lighting incense.
At the end of Ly Quoc Su, I turn right onto Hang Bong…..which, at some undetermined step of the way, turns into Hang Gai….or Hang Dao ….depending on which side of the street you happen to be traversing.
At this point, I’ll stop recording the street names…..it really starts getting confusing. But, along Hang Bong/Gai/Dao is this massive tree that’s either grown into the side of a pagoda or the pagoda was built around it or something somewhere in between….
Crazy lookin’, huh?!
Reaching the end of said street, I have a view of the lake again.
What’s missing from these pictures are the smells of Ha Noi. One moment you’re breathing in an unknown delicious smell of some mouth-watering food, then the next breath you’re gagging from the smell of raw sewage!
A fountain in the center of a very busy intersection of about 5 or 6 streets….
This is a typical street in the Quarter. All around Ha Noi are streets which are “one product” streets, for lack of a better way of putting it. If you want plumbing supplies (for example), you go to plumbing supply street and store after store after store after….all have the exact same products. The street will no longer actually be named “Plumbing Supply Street” though it would have been at one time. It goes back to a time when craftspeople were members of guilds and all the guild members would live on one street, selling their wares. So, all the people who worked with silk would live on “Silk Street” and that’s all that was sold there…all the people who crafted pottery lived on “Pottery Street”, etc. Nowadays, though, it’s not so much craftspeople selling here, but business people. But they retain the tradition of selling all the same type of product on a given street, though the street name may have nothing to do with what’s being sold there now. For example, the old name of “Silk Street” might today be home to Paint Supply Street…….
….or Little Girl Frilly Dress Street!
….or Dried Fruit Street….yum….
…or Sewing Supply Street…
….or Shrine Supply Street…..
……all interspersed with plentiful Tourist Supply.
As I was walking around I realized I’d have to stop every few feet and take another picture or 6 to truly convey the feeling of this place and I don’t think even that would do it! There’s something going on at every turn.
It’s a visual…feast? …smorgasbord? …..minestrone? …..hash? I don’t know! One moment you see a family of 6 riding down the street on a motorbike or you see someone transporting a motorbike on the back of their motorbike…..while talking on their cellphone…. Then you see a group of guys hunkered over an ancient game of chess, all smoking a shared pipe. There’s the old man holding his great-grandchild lovingly. Turn your head and you see a man stuffing a large (live) turkey-sized bird into what is effectively a purse…I have no idea why. All the time you’re at least trying to watch where you’re going so you don’t step in anything unidentifiable or twist your ankle on the rutted streets and sidewalks or whack your head (being as tall as I am) on some low-hanging line or wandering into the path of a motorbike……
….oy! It’s time for a bia…..