If you travel a lot for work, you know that most of the time you get to see the consultant trifecta: the airport, the office, and some Western chain hotel. It takes effort, and some sleep sacrificing, to squeeze in much more than that. This was my first time in Vietnam, and I was determined to see more than the consultant trifecta.
Day One: Up at 4:30 am to do a three hour tour with Vietnam in Focus. I joined one of their scheduled tours (“On the Tracks”) which had me back at the hotel before 9am. Our first stop was Long Bien Bridge, where we experimented with long exposures to get light trails from scooters. From there we went over to the Long Bien train station and practiced panning with the oncoming scooter traffic. The rest of the tour was spent walking along the railroad tracks and photographing daily life in Hanoi. We wrapped up with some fantastic Pho back at the tour headquarters.
After a day of conference calls, I went on a “Charming and Historic Hanoi” tour which was arranged through the hotel. The tour visited the Ho Chi Minh complex, the Temple of Literature, and the Old Quarter.
That night, we went on a street food tour with Hanoi Street Food Tours. I’m a bit of a picky eater, and I’m a bit leery of street food, and I don’t eat fish, so I was a little apprehensive about this outing. I’m glad that I stuck with it because it was absolutely amazing.
Day Two: The next day was an all day workshop at the office. Had it not been for the lunch outing (to the restaurant on the top floor of the building), all I would have seen is the inside of a conference room.
That night we went to dinner, and then to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre I didn’t quite know what to expect, but it was recommended by several people so we decided to give it a go. It turned out to be quite entertaining.
Day Three: On my last morning, I woke up at 3:30am to do a tour of the Long Bien market with Vietnam in Focus. I’ll admit that I was feeling a little sleep deprived by this point, but I peeled myself out of bed anyway. The first part of the tour was shooting the market from the Long Bien Bridge.
We then spent some time on the road and wandering inside the market. The road had the potential for good shots, if you could time someone interesting looking crossing the road in front of oncoming traffic to light them enough to focus properly. The inside of the market was a bit overwhelming, and I was also dead tired by this point. One of my favourite photos from the morning (the last one here) was the absolute last one I took, a few blocks from the tour headquarters.
I think this made up for seeing practically nothing in Singapore last week.