Hà Nội Cityscape

Sun behind motorcyclists on tree lined street. By the early 2000s motorbikes had taken over the streets of Hà Nội that
were previously famed for their pedal cycles
Six lane carriage way speckled with motorbikes. Nguyễn Chí Thanh Street in Ba Đình Quarter, from a tower block - before the advent of drones Traffic. One word which summarises most people's first impressions of wandering around Hà Nội, Vietnam's capital. Solid masses of standing motorbikes in the Old Town. Flowing swaths of vehicles on the wide boulevards of the new parts of the city. This page offers photographs from across Hà Nội which hopefully may raise your interest in this most complex, rich and diverse of metropoli. Other pages have already offered aspects of the central Old Town, strange loads were touched on a couple of pages ago and it is hoped that future pages will widen that collection. Here traffic and size are emphasised: looking down on it or being amongst it; and the massive density of the city which officially has a population of 4.7 million, but unofficial estimates usually run at twice this figure. This ambiguity revolves around the way central government pays local areas according to registered citizens, and wishes to discourage urban drift. The result is that many people work in the biggest cities unofficially, making accurate estimates of the density hard to find. The estimate of the number of motorcycles is equally elusive, but anecdotally it rates their number as being equal to the number of
people in Hà Nội
A clip of an intersection on the road shown above. Watch closely and you will see, after 10 secs, an ant (human) emerge from the trees on the right and set out into the traffic - and still be alive when the video ends after 22 seconds! View across city with mostly low rise buildings and some blocks. Looking out across the town from the same tower as the video (to the left) was made, but in
the other direction
Lake with major road to right and tower blocks beyond. And another shot from the same tower this time showing Ngọc Khánh Lake with a tower block
rising on its near shore
Night view of major street packed with people and flags. As with any tropical country much of life takes place at night, although photography is less happy with this arrangement. Massed crowds in the city centre But there are plenty of massed crowds that the camera can capture: traffic in the old town Shopping street solid with motorbikes as far as can be seen. Section of 10 lane straight street with steady traffic. Kim Mã Street is valuable to the tourist, recognition of it helps gain orientation in this sprawling city Looking down on the motorbikes waiting for traffic lights - well spaced out. On another street, the view from above shows the bikes may be more spaced out than appears at first sight Main shopping street with littel traffic and rickshaw near-by. A less hectic street scene, room for the rickshaw
driver to ply his trade
Two policemen walking amongst dense traffic. Traffic police, in tan uniforms, march in to select motorists for 'interview' Motorbikes on raised roadway. The raised highway through the north of the city leads to the airport one way, and in the other, to the Sofitel Plaza - ahead Elderly man cycling across big street with motorbike waiting for him. An elderly Hanoian is not to be deterred by any traffic. In Vietnam cyclists have right of way over anything bigger or heavier. The sight of older people exercising this prerogative can be alarming to westerners; and criminalising for foreigners who arrogantly believe they know how to drive in Vietnam. Happily the UK Highway Code is finally now catching up on this more seemly order of priorities Lane with motorbike driving down it. Lane with row of motorbikes and man hosing one. But it is the old lanes of Hà Nội that fascinate visitors. Penetrating deep among the buildings, for up to a kilometre, to reach dead ends.

View along lane with cycles and motorbikes parked. Every sort of bike everywhere
Buildings rising many stories on either side of narrow lane. Verticality Entrance gate to pagoda with Chinese characters. A small pagoda tucked away amongst the lanes Looking down on area of densly packed houses. Looking down on an area of lanes like the ones illustrated just above View across lower rise buildings towards tower blocks in slight merk. Looking west across the city Three blocks of a dozen stories being constructed with cranes. Blocks rise like mushrooms on the west of the city Large hotel reflected in water. The Sofitel Plaza (seen distantly above) sits beside Trúc Bạch Lake Thirty story blocks of flats with woman selling goods spread out on pavement in front. Completed blocks of flats on the west of the city; but some traders seem untouched by these edifices Large double white arch with three groups of black skeletal prancing horses on top. These rather bizarre gates are near the Thăng Long bridge by the Red River. They announce a new urban satellite city for Hà Nội. Identical gates can be seen in Phnom Penh. According to Google, this 'Ciputra' is the creation of an Indonesian business man of that name Dense shadde of trees, beyond in sun edge of yellow building and end of mausoleum. Hiding between the trees are the columns of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. A little ochre of French colonial buildings shows at the right Single track rail line with no protection. Here another sign of the French occupation. The main railway line from Hà Nội to China Sand-bank in river and bridge running across in distance. The Red River is up to a mile wide in places as it wraps itself around the capital. The Long Biên bridge was built in 1900 Non-descript building by main road. Hà Nội's self-effacing main rail station Canal with trees along bank. A waterway with potential; sadly, at present, it is often little more than an open sewer Boat on shore of river, low rise houses and trees beyond. The greener suburb of Long Biên across the river to the north Arches of new suspension bridge reflected on bonnet of car. One of the new bridges, which give better access to those living in Long Biên, is this, the Nhật Tân Bridge Double decker bridge at left houses in front. The Thăng Long Bridge, the old way to the airport, is a railway bridge with a road on top Mural by road of two dragons ưith the years 1010- 2010. In 2010 Hà Nội celebrated its 1,000th birthday. One of the memorials to this event was the rather wonderful five mile long mural, contributed by schools, alongside the main airport road which runs, at the north of the city, to the Thăng Long Bridge Trailers... Sunset behind a crane and a spire. The next page takes you from a Hà Nội cityscape to an Edinburgh cityscape. View from hilltop in snow over clouds to far hill. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Silence'.
Or go to the contents Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section. of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 26th February 2022 Murphy on duty ...guide to this site

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