Monday, April 4, 2011

People of Viet Nam

Hi, I have decided to split up my blog posts on our stay in Viet Nam by subject matter. I'll start first with the people. I went to Viet Nam with the intention of photographing people and here are what I think are the best of that attempt.

We found the people of Viet Nam to be generally friendly and welcoming. This was somewhat surprising as they clearly new we were Americans. Many of the children and younger people spoke some English and wanted to try out their skills with us.

One of the first things that hit my wife and me was the incredible number of motor bikes and motor scooters. We took an hour rickshaw ride through the streets of Hanoi and this is what a major intersection looked like when we had the green light.

Motor bikes are used as a major transporter of goods as well as people.

As there are many rivers to be crossed ferries are important.

Some transportation modes have not changed. While not common, we did see oxcarts on a few occasions,

as well as people pulling carts.

Some of the people we met along the way were part of our tour and some we just saw and photographed. We visited the home of a former North Vietnamese Army officer and got to ask questions with our guide as an interpreter. At the end of our visit this gentleman demonstrated his skill with various stringed instruments.

We stopped at this woman's house while in Hoi An to see how an elderly person lives. All elderly persons receive a small pension from the state.

Later in the trip we met a former South Vietnamese Army officer, shown here with his wife.

I had expected that monks would be very common. However, such was not the case. We saw more, but not many, in Cambodia.

This woman was part of large group of honorees that had been brought to Hanoi to visit Ho Chi Minh's tomb. The pins she is wearing commemorate her activities.

While in Dalat we took a trip to visit a highland village where coffee is grown. The chief's wife augments the family income by weaving. We bought a weaving from her.

Her husband, the chief.

An elderly woman in the village squatting by the side of the road. How do they do that? My knees could not take that and I haven't the balance.

Children are in the care of adults sometimes,

and sometimes slightly older children.


It looks like someone had a bad day.

People lined up for hours to view Ho Chi Minh's remains.

The young man with the hat was in line and I grabbed this photo as soon as I saw him.

While in Dalat we visited the local university. Each of us was escorted by two or three students and shown around the school. Unfortunately, the young man who was with us had to leave before the photo was taken. The young lady on the left spoke excellent English; the young lady on the right not so much. The young lady on the left wanted to know about our stock market and if I owned stock.
While visiting the Citadel in Hue we ran into a small group of young women dressed in traditional Ao Dais. The one shown below really enjoyed the attention of our group.

Two more of the young ladies. This was a real treat.

Later on we visited the Literature Institute and found these three young ladies being photographed.

Many small businesses are conducted out in the open. This barber has set up in a Hanoi alley.

However, this one in the Mekong Delta has a shop.

Rice is still grown in the traditional way. Here it is being planted.

Because it has a long coast and many rivers fish and other sea food is an important part of the Vietnamese diet. Old motor bike tires are sunk in this estuary so that oysters can attach themselves and grow on them. After a few months the tires are brought ashore and the oysters are removed from the tires.

This net, in the same estuary, can be lowered into the water using a winch on one end. We saw this in a number of places.

Some fisherman cast their nets from shore, or from small boats.

Ocean fishing also is practiced. This crew is cleaning and stowing their nets after returning from the sea.

We visited a home outside Nha Trang. The family made baskets for use by the locals. Most of the folks in our group bought at least one. A small one was only $1.00 US. This gentleman is cutting bamboo strips.

After the strips are woven into a mat they are shaped into a basket, as shown here.

Finally the edges are finished.

Silk also is produced. Here a line of young girls (there is a duplicate line on the other side of this one) is recovering the silk fiber from the silk worm cocoons.

After further processing the silk is woven into cloth.

We visited a small shop where a husband and wife produced drums. The wife is fastening the head to the body with drums with pieces of bamboo.

We saw many people, mostly women, carry baskets in this way.

They would find a spot along a busy street and set down to sell what they carried. Bicycles also were used to carry small amounts of goods for sale, mostly fruits and vegetables.

There were sidewalk purveyors of food in abundance. Some had permanent locations and some, as here, worked from portable stands. This woman in Hanoi is selling Bun, which is a noodle soup and a favorite of people in the northern part of Viet Nam. Those in the south prefer Pho, also a noodle soup. I believe the spices are the main difference. Both are really good.

Here are three hardware stores. Typically, all the stores of a given type, e.g., hardware, would be located one right next to another on both sides of the street. Not only was this common in Viet Nam, we saw the same thing in Cambodia, Hong Kong, and even Istanbul, Turkey last June.

The inside of a beauty parlor. The family lives above. Note the stairway. This is typical.

This young lady was one of a group of women who demonstrated traditional instruments.

A small, two wheeled tractor and a two wheeled cart are being used to haul demolition debris.

This gentlemen is working on the hand for a large stone sculpture.

A delivery is being made to a business on a canal in the Mekong Delta.

The husks are removed from coconuts using a sharp, double edged knife blade attached to a stick in the ground. The coconut is used to make candy.

While in the Delta we were taken for a short ride in a boat such as this, shown returning for another load of passengers.

We encountered a group of men watching as these cocks were trained for fighting.

Finally, we had a number of opportunities to watch traditional dancers. This was at the ruins of the Champa Kingdom.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

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