Six images from my travel archives in a (roughly) weekly photo blog.

Hanoi isn’t everyone’s cup of ca phe chon but I think it’s a great place. The traffic, mainly comprised of motorbikes and scooters, takes a bit of getting used to, following the fatalistic “zen dodgems” style of getting around favoured by many Asian countries. But apart from that I can only really think of positives.

The food is cheap and delicious, ranging from Pho Bo noodle soup with slices of beef and aromatic fresh coriander for breakfast, to fresh seafood for lunch and fondue-style dinners. Vietnamese people don’t understand the concept of food that is frozen or processed – it has to be fresh.

I like the lakes and the old, rusting iron Long Bien Bridge across the Red River. I like markets. I like the water puppet theatre near the Hoan Kiem Lake. I like the scent of roses and the yelling of vendors at the flower market. I like the ca phe chon coffee, made from beans that have passed through the digestive system of a civet cat. Seriously. They’ll tell you it’s a squirrel, but it’s a civet cat.

Just to prove the point, here are this week’s Six Pics from the Vietnamese capital.

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Schoolgirls at a graduation ceremony at the Confucian Temple of Literature, one of the oldest universities in Asia.

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Early morning flower market – the Vietnamese love their flowers.

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Traffic cop his his hands full with Hanoi’s frantic traffic.

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Guards close to Uncle Ho’s mausoleum in Ba Đình Square . Hồ Chí Minh (1890-1969) remains revered and respected.

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That traffic again. Hoan Kiem Lake is on the right.

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A misty morning at Halong Bay, an easy if somewhat regimented excursion from Hanoi. The classic karst limestone mountain and island scenery and caves make the trip worthwhile.

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