The lowering sun, trees, and the slight cooling that the water of the Hồ Tây (West Lake) provides, make this esplanade (beside Thanh Niên Road) one of Hà Nội's many delights The sun is already below 45 degrees, and, disconcertingly for those living nearer the poles, will be gone in a few minutes Hà Nội is a city of lakes. There are more than 20 of them and they range in size from vague marsh areas through to the expansive West Lake (Hồ Tây) which is some 17 kilometres (10 miles) around its shore - a route that can be followed at the water's edge for nearly the whole circumference. It does not present too much of a danger to locals for its average depth equates with the average height of the population - and it fluctuates little. While Hồ Hoàn Kiếm offers an array of cultural and historic associations and artefacts, and sits at the heart of the city, and of the country, it is Hồ Tây that provides a place of rest, notably in opportunities to fish (not allowed in Hồ Hoàn Kiếm), and importantly as a space to relax and reconnect. The top of the page has photographs taken from Đường Thanh Niên. This is a road on a causeway, a causeway which forms the separation of the siamese twin lakes Tây and Trúc Bạch. The next page, in Picture Posting, turns attention to that partner lake. Here the hope is to reflect a sense of peace and repose. Two key methods of relaxation: fishing and the swan pedalos There are few ordinary houses near here. Given the climate, it is not surprising that the Vietnamese walk as... ...little as possible, so any group of people implies transport, this is normally provided by bikes; motorised or not These pedalos are greatly valued by young couples. The dense living arrangements (near here 30,000 people per sq. kilometre) of the city put privacy at a premium. What better place to be with a special friend than alone on a lake of an evening! The small floats are supporting nets which corral the fish ready for... ...fishermen (and they are mostly men) such as the one disguised by these shadows This boat sat just beside the pagoda (below) offering a restaurant on water - apparently no longer in action A reminder that pedalos are not entirely risk free. These towering cumulus clouds tell of the torrential rain that descends here on summer afternoons The Trấn Quốc Pagoda, six levels of which project above the trees, sits on an islet beside the Thanh Niên esplanade Next to the pagoda is the Lake View Hotel, one of many luxury hotels in the district... ...and on its own little islands (at the top of the luxury range) is the Intercontinental Hotel, more... ...conventional, above the intercontinental's entrance, is the Sheraton. A be-hatted fisherman fishes Moving around the lake to its south side a hunkered fisherman fishes, the centre of the city... ...here forms the horizon, showing how even by 2009 there were hardly any skyscrapers in central Hà Nội That man and his rod; keeping his feet dry But some welcome cool water. Back... ...swing... ...throw And here no excuse needed for these two girls (their long hair tells they are so) to simply enjoy the prospect Another man sweeps his rod round... And while fishing and just sitting account for much of Ho Tay's contemplation, there is an alternative: to do what I had done when this photograph was taken; cruise round the lake on a motor bike, enjoying the fresher cooler air the bike engenders ...and catches something? He thinks so Yes A decent size for a couple of meals Contemplation: friends talk, a man fishes, a man stands Trailers... The next Picture Posting page takes you across the esplanade to the abutting lake -
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