Having held his breath for two weeks, the man at the back, breaths out! And with that the focus changes to the glass of tea held by the player on the left This page takes a diversion from the streets, to the universality of tea as seen in Vietnam. The next page returns to the streets. Tea is found everywhere, being served on every occasion, acting as an essential welcome on each meeting, and accompaniment to all gentle activity; and it is for this last reason that it companions chess. On the other hand while Vietnam is the second biggest exporter of coffee in the world, coffee drinking remains less common. Coffee is served in particular outlets, and drunk more by those espousing a less artisan, often more western, life style. As in all countries tobacco smoking, which in Vietnam is largely a male addiction, follows closely in tandem with coffee drinking. This page offers some photographs of these ubiquitous human indulgences in Vietnam. Back in the chess huddle, a glass of tea is central A shop offering a range of teas and coffees. Trà [pronounced char] as in the English 'a cup of char' - both being from the Chinese word. The prices on the jars at that date, 2008, were from about £1.50 to £3.00 a kilo Wedding parents having a quiet cup of tea. And at another... ...wedding, the bride's family host the groom's with tea Tea takes centre stage whenever people meet, from the informality of the pavements of the city, to the formality of two families meeting as in this photograph The terraced landscape of a tea producing area Tobacco gets a look in, here in the form of a Vietnamese water-pipe accompanied by tea. Another water-pipe is on the Mèo Vạc page Tobacco cultivation in the north of Vietnam. The amounts grown are modest considering the large amounts smoked, they account for under 3% of agricultural land A rather sad looking coffee plant... ...those presumed responsible... ...and the leaves of a healthier specimen Coffee shops, like this one, usually belong to chains. This is the entrance to a 'Café Lâm' coffee house. Commonly customers have their shoes cleaned while imbibing - left corner. Stroke sufferers are often seen encouraged by a companion to exercise A lively conversation at Café Lâm, the trademark original artists' works are a noticeable feature... ...of their establishments. And in this branch a more relaxed conversation Another type of conversation in virtual space - this was in 2007 when texting was still a novelty Coffee by the China Sea Women patrons - western and Vietnamese Tooth picking in another Café Lâm An unadjusted photo gives a better sense that coffee houses are often dark places offering shelter from the sun A grabbed shot of two men at the next table. Motor bike keys are commonly toyed with The debris of three small cups of coffee Steaming white coffee The moniker of the 'Highland' chain of coffee shops, which contrast with 'Café Lâm' being bright, urbane and modern Back by the China Sea for iced coffee, with sweetness if the thick layer of condensed milk in the glass is stirred Coffee simpliciter. Thick, very dark or black
The next Picture Posting page
takes you into the lanes of Hà Nội and lets some of the artisans show their skill.
The next page
of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Familiarity'.
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