Exercise at Hoàn Kiếm Lake

Man walking on railings. A variety of exercise regimens can be seen around Hoàn Kiếm Lake each morning
- some more conventional than others
Hoàn Kiếm, while having no intended assistance for exercise, in fact forms a great 'sports facility'. Much of the activity happens at dawn, when the air is tolerable during many months of the year, although there are also some games played at dusk as people return home from work. While badminton and callisthenics dominate, even these familiar sports are not entirely as we know them in the west. Man hitting lamp-post. No he's not hugging the lamp-post, but beating it with the inside of his outstretched arms Man walking on his hands. Walking to work! Pull-ups on lamp-post. You may not notice this man at first; his jacket is carefully hung near-by as he pulls up on the advertising board Women playing badminton. Badminton, but not quite as we know it - no net While having no net for a game of badminton is common, there are also many games played across a simple cord stretched between trees, this can easily be carried in a pocket if the player is going to work. Such cords are carefully placed above head hight. However, standard Vietnamese head hight is a foot or so lower than it is for the photographer, for whom such ropes are invisible, and at neck hight Badminton without nets. Normal badminton with a net? Well not quite, notice there are no rackets, the shuttle cock is kicked over the net. And below one step further in this search for minimalist sport... Badminton with no nets or rackets. ...here these men are playing with a shuttlecock, but no net, no cord, no racket. See a YouTube clip. Go to another site Women starting fan dance. A group of women appear to be jabbing at their virtual opponents, but see below for the nature of their swords... A fan dance underway. ...in fact a stately fan dance is underway Women's group exercising. More strenuous movements for some groups Group bending in time. Those walking by the Lake after dawn have to thread their way between many groups engaged in their morning drills Groups and individuals exercising with the The Huc Bridge beyond. The Lakeside is peppered with both groups and individuals all absorbed in their chosen workouts. Here for background is the Thê Húc Bridge Women's exercise group. The most common group is one, such as this, of women following a leader with a ghetto-blaster in a series of stretching exercises Figure with Thap Rau as background. While groups are conspicuous for their accompanying music, many individuals... Man stretching with Ngoc Son as background. Man, Jacarandas and Thap Rau. ...without such an aid go each day to stretch in the relative cool morning air Man on lamp. Some exercise involves little movement, here a lakeside lamp offers a perfect perch Peace at the Lakeside at dawn. Contrast this peaceful shot at 6am, with one at the bottom of the last page, which was taken at 8pm Man with rising sun across the water. A slightly demanding pose - to drink in the sunrise The next page takes a last look at Hoàn Kiếm Lake with some shots of the Tháp Rùa monument situated on the smaller of the Lake's two islands. Reading by the Lake and Thap Rau. line
Saturday 19th August 2017 Murphy on duty

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