Photographer's Note

The Old Quarter which is made up of 36 "Hangs" or "streets" dates back to the 13th century is a charming area of narrow streets, the most crowded and shoppers' heaven which is home to the oldest trades of Hanoi. Each " Hang" specialises in one particular trade such as shoes, steel-ware, prayer items, art etc, etc... Although some of them have taken on new trades different from what the name of the street may suggest. It is easy to explore all the 36 "Hangs" on foot within a day but mind the chaotic swarm of zigzagging 'motorbais'

This was taken on the early morning from one of the "Hangs"in Hang Bac Street away from the usual frenzied pace. On this particular grungy but characterful alley you will find many little shops where artisans carve handmade gravestones with images of the deceased in it. I find it rather peculiar that each individual photograph is a representation of a real person but I wonder those on display are for potential customers or do the locals order it in advance before they meet their Creator?

It's time to rest, business was rather slow perhaps and grim it seemed but I can't help thinking about what I saw....

Just for the record:
The whole Old Quarter is left relatively undamaged surprisingly from the bombing raids during the "American War". Incidentally the current US Senator John McCain, a former Navy Pilot was shotdown in his A-4E Skyhawk jet fighter when he was on his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam in Oct 1967. He fractured both his arms and legs whilst ejecting and almost drowned when parachuted into Tru Bach lake nearby outside the Old Quarter.

He was imprisoned as a POW in the famous 1886 Maison Centrale or Hoa Lo Prison -ironically nick-named the Hanoi Hilton till he was released in March 1974. His flight suits can still be seen on display at this prison, now a museum with a photo of his visit to the ex-prison in 2000.

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Additional Photos by abmdsudi abmdsudi (abmdsudi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6680 W: 150 N: 14602] (64343)
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