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At 85, a Hanoi law student cycles 3 kilometers to school


He changes his clothes, wears his sandals, picks up his bag and leaves his house in the capital city’s Bac Tu Liem District.

It takes Linh 35 minutes to cover the 3-kilometer distance to get to the university. On rainy days, he has to use all his energy to pedal faster and get to class on time.

“I struggle most in traffic jams. My children offer to help, but I want to go on my own,” Linh said.

Linh walks his bike into the house. Photo by Phan Duong 

Linh walks his bike into the house. Photo by Phan Duong 

To say that the 85-year-old has a passion for learning would be a massive understatement.

Linh lives in a 30 square meter room in which books are scattered all over the place. Some law books lie on a panel, where he studies every night. The books are full of bookmarks and notes of his reflection on reading or some date records.

“Last year I studied four law courses. I found the Law of Marriage and Family very great, I have read it many times. I am also very fond of international law,” said the sophomore law student.

Due to poor eyesight, Linh mainly listens to the lectures during school hours and synthesizes the knowledge in his notebook. He prioritizes self-studies, so he reads book every night.

His old age does pose academic challenges for Linh as he takes two new courses this year: Writing legal documents and English.

At 85, Linh has never touched a keyboard, nor used a smart phone, so it is not easy for him to type.

Linh is behind in English compared to his young classmates, but it does not bother him much.

“I learned English in teenage years. I did not use it for 65 years, so I forgot everything,” he said, smiling. “My peers have the chance to learn it at a very young age; I cannot keep up with them.”

Linh usually gets up at 3 a.m to study. Photo by Truong Hung

Linh usually gets up at 3 a.m to study. Photo by Truong Hung

Linh has nurtured a burning desire to get a bachelors degree since 1934.

When he was young, Linh went to school, learned some English and French. Given the struggles that the country went through for most the 20th century, he got involved in work and got married.

“I always had this learning desire in me. In 1968, I got a high school diploma despite a lot of hardship,” said Linh, showing the diploma he has kept carefully for 50 years. Even as he struggled with poverty, the young man kept up his reading habit. The old house is full of books and poem collections.

The love for poems has also urged Linh to pursue tertiary education. Joining a poem club with many college graduates, he was motivated further.

In 2014, Linh signed up for a journalism course, and received a completion certificate. A year later, he took the entrance examination for the Hanoi University of Law, but failed.

Never giving up, Linh was finally admitted to the Law department of Dong Do University with a 50 percent tuition fee exemption.

In the beginning, Linh kept all his academic attempts a secret from his family, but once they got wind of it, they have supported him.

Since he started school, Linh began getting up at 2 a.m to read, so his wife, Dong, could not sleep.

While people worry about Linh’s health, Dong does not discourage him. “I can only take care of his meals after school, and I have to support him mentally, too,” she said.

Linh’s youngest daughter, Hai Duong, 45, said: “We all know that my father has a strong desire to learn, and we all support him. He sets the example for us.”

Having undergone stomach surgery recently, Linh cannot eat or sleep much. He hopes to remain healthy and receive his university degree in 2021.

Linh hopes to complete his degree in 2021. Photo by Phan Duong 

Linh hopes to complete his degree in 2021. Photo by Phan Duong 

Nguyen Thanh Hai, a lecturer at the Dong Do University, said that Linh was very hardworking, and he always got to school early. For two years, he was only absent for two sessions because of his poetry club schedule.

“We want to call him ‘uncle’, but he insists on calling us ‘teachers’,” Hai said. “He excels mainly in subjects that involve writing.”

Vu An, the monitor of Linh’s class, said: “At first, we were very surprised at his presence, then we got used to it.

“Thanks to him, the musical activities of the class are always exciting.”





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Australian veteran, wife send poor children in Hoi An to school


Once every few days Phan Thu Lan visits Truc Xanh kindergarten in Hoi An city of the central Quang Nam Province.

She plays with the students there, checks with the teachers on the stocks of food and keeps an eye on the facilities to ensure they are in good shape.

This has been part of Lan’s routine for the last few years.

She used to live in HCMC, where she met Roy Erle Hornsby, an Australian soldier in 1969-70 in the Vietnam War.

In 2003 he had returned to Vietnam as a web design professor, and married Lan seven years later.

Lan and Hornsby gave presents to the students. Photo courtesy of Lan.

Lan and Hornsby gave presents to the students. Photo courtesy of Lan.

The couple travelled to many places before settling down in Hoi An in 2014. In their house in Cam Chau Ward, Lan opened a nail salon while her husband worked as a web designer.

When they started building their house, one of the female workers would often be absent. Lan later found out that the worker had to stay at home to take care of her kid since she did not have enough money to send her to school. 

She also found out that many families in Trung Chau Village, Cam Kim Commune, were too poor to do so.

Lan discovered a school with two abandoned classrooms in the village. After classes in the morning, the pupils had to go to another place about 1 kilometer away to eat or be picked up by their parents at noon.

Lan usually visits the children. Photo by Dac Thanh

Lan usually visits the children. Photo by Dac Thanh

Seeing their hardship, a thought came to her mind: she could help the poor families by renovating the place and converting it into a kindergarten.

The couple got permission for the renovation from local authorities and contacted some university students for help with clearing the weeds in the yard. They also asked someone to repaint the walls and ceiling. They bought equipment and set up facilities including those for dining.

It cost VND215 million ($9,244), and they put up most of it, with some benefactors donating the rest, Lan said.

The class now has 18 children aged one to three and two teachers. Lan also has a person growing vegetables in the campus.

Lan said: “Every month I buy additional food for the kids. I will gradually improve the facilities.”

She promised that one day the children there would have the same facilities to study as their urban counterparts do.

The couple have also built community houses in Cam Kim Commune with their own money and donations.

They gave VND50 million ($2,150) to build the Trung Chau Village Community House and got VND52 million from a Canadian college and a Hanoi university for its construction and installation of entertainment equipment.

When the Cam Kim Elementary School lacked kitchen utensils to serve semi-boarding students, Lan offered them financial support to buy bowls, pots and pans.

“In future I will build a mobile swimming pool for a support center for disabled children in Dien Duong Commune,” she said.

Her family’s expense are taken care of by her husband while all her earnings are devoted to the schools.

The children play at the Phuoc Thang Village Community House. Photo by Dac Thanh

The children play at the Phuoc Thang Village Community House. Photo by Dac Thanh

Huynh Ngoc Dung, head of Trung Chau Village, said Cam Kim Commune is the poorest place in Hoi An. Lan’s help in repairing the school has given poor people a place to send their children, he said.

“The school has reduced the burden on poor families. The school only collects tuition fees to pay teachers while meals and facilities are free.”





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Saigon woman gets back with gender bender husband


Hai, 67, lives in a dingy rented room in Saigon’s Thu Duc District with a woman who used to be her husband.

Trang Kim Sa, born Ngo Van Sang, had been married to her for a few years when he decided he would no longer fear social stigma and become the woman he had always wanted to be.

This was in the early 1980s.

Now 76, come rain or shine, limping, a cap on her head, Sa goes around town to sell lottery tickets, earning around VND100,000 ($4.3) a day, just enough for their day-to-day life.

Without any savings or property, the couple have left things to fate, to an uncertain future.

Hai (left) and Sa (right). Photo by P.T

Hai (left) and Sa (right). Photo by VnExpress 

Sang was the youngest son in his family. By the time he was 14 he realized he wanted to be a woman. He liked to wear pretty dresses, have his hair long and hang out with boys. However, he was afraid of the likely stigma and never revealed his secret to anyone.

He then went to university, did military service and joined the air force in Saigon.

Near his house was a coffee shop, and Le Thi Kim Ngan, nickname Hai, 16, worked as a waitress there. She recalls: “Back then he was tall and fair-skinned, always spoke gently, came by the shop a lot and always talked to me, asked how I was doing.

“If I was sick, he would bring me medicines. His family had a fruit garden, and he would always bring me the best one.”

Love had apparently bloomed but deep down Sang still wanted to be a girl, wear dresses and put on high heels.

He said: “My thought at that time was to get married and have children to conceal my true self. Hai was honest, quick and easy to approach. So I felt comfortable.”

In 1978, when he was 36 and she 28, the two got married with the support of both families though they did not have a wedding or register their marriage.

A year later they welcomed their daughter.

Trang Kim Sa (right) with a friend from the Lo To band. Photo by Kim Sa

Trang Kim Sa (right) with a friend from the Lo To band. Photo by Kim Sa

“With a child, my desire to be a woman became even stronger. During the day I would help my wife take care of the kid, washing her or doing house chores. But at night, I would go to meet up with my friends who were in the same situation, and stay out until morning.”

When Hai saw her husband go out every night she thought at first he was going to work to earn some extra money for the family or just keeping away from her since she had just delivered.

When their daughter reached five, he dropped a bombshell: he wanted to become a woman, he told her.

Hai refused to believe him at first. But after seeing him hold hands with other men several times and his rejection of her – he refused to sleep with her and had turned cold — she began to realize the truth.

She took her daughter and returned to her parents’ home in the countryside.

Sang, now Trang Kim Sa, quit her job, sold their house and began to pursue a singing career.

At the age of 44 she started to keep her hair long, buy women’s clothes and tour around the country with the Lo To band. Sa spent all of her money on clothes, cosmetics and other beauty products.

“Me and some others bought some silicone ourselves and injected it into our chest, butts, lips, and cheeks. I was lucky: I only did it once and stayed alive. Some of the others had complications, some died from the injections.”

For more than 30 years after her husband left her Hai did not marry again and took care of her daughter with dedication. She earned a living by working as a chef.

“It hurt me every time my daughter asked about her father. ‘Why is he always away, when is he coming back?’

“I had to lie, saying he’s working far away.

“There was one time when she saw him while playing at Dam Sen Amusement Park. He was singing on the stage there. She screamed with excitement but could only meet him for a little bit.”

Sa said: “When I got to live true to my real gender, I was so overwhelmed by happiness that I’d forgotten the family I left behind.”

In 2010, while living near Nha Trang, she suffered a stroke and became hemiplegic. The band informed Hai about Sa’s condition. Despite opposition from her family, Hai brought Sa to her home.

“He didn’t have anyone else. And I was old. Besides, we also had a child together.”

Two years later Sa recovered and could walk again. Seeing Hai’s income from being a house help was not enough for their living expenses, Sa started selling lottery tickets.

“It’s tiring staying at home all the time. Wandering around, selling lottery tickets to earn some money so that I can help her with the rent and the grocery makes me happy.”

Photo by P.T

Photo by VnExpress 

Life together again

It is 5:00 p.m and it has been pouring outside. Hai has finished cooking dinner, but Sa is not back. Hai keeps going to the door to look and seems worried: “I wonder if he got caught in the rain.”

Life has almost returned to normal for them.

During the lunch break Hai enjoys watching reality TV shows. Under the blazing sun, their tiny room, crammed with two beds, two TVs, clothes, pots and pans hanging, becomes even stuffier.

Sa said since she likes watching news and football while Hai likes films they got two TVs.

“But apart from that, we share everything else such as meals, washing clothes, cleaning the house.”

Every day they get up together at 5:00 am. Hai cooks and they have breakfast together before heading to work. For lunch, one is responsible for buying the groceries while the other cooks, and again they eat together.

Their daughter, Ngo Thi Thuy Lan Son, 39, works as a manager at a restaurant in District 1. Despite living far away from her father for decades, she has never condemned him.

She said she heard about him from her mother since the age of 14. As she grew older she started to learn about the lives of transgender people, and realized her father was an truly unfortunate person.

“I used to be mad at my father for leaving us. After I had my own family and two children, I understood that if a parent decides to leave their children behind, they must have their own suffering.

“Now I just hope my parents can live a happy and healthy life together. I still call him ‘dad’. And my children still call him ‘grandpa’.”

Ba Kieu, owner of Hai and Sa’s place in quarter 4, Linh Xuan Ward, and Tran Phan Thuong, the police officer in charge of the quarter, said the two have been living together for more than five years now.

Hieu said: “I registered Sang as a man under the name Ngo Van Sang. I and other neighbors call him Mr Sang ban ve so (Mr Sang who sells lottery tickets). He has the features of a woman, but I don’t ask about his past. He is gentle and usually keeps to himself, and doesn’t have much contact with others around him.”

Sa has thrown away all her women’s clothes and switched to wearing men’s clothes. Her thick long black hair is gone too and has been replaced by a wispy strands of grey. She no longer cares about how she looks. People have to look closely to realize she’s a transgender from her tattooed eyebrows and eyeliner, heart-shaped lips and pale skin.

She said: “I had always wanted to be a woman. But now I’m old, I only hope for health and a happy life. People can call me whatever, ‘he’ or ‘she’.”





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A Saigon cafe greets guests with bouquets


By Vi Yen  &nbspOctober 11, 2018 | 10:55 am GMT+7

A colorful, fragrant café says Bonjour with flowers in Saigon’s District 2

A Saigon cafe greets guests with bouquets

The Bonjour Café on 40 Thao Dien Street, District 2, is modeled after small cafés of Paris.

A Saigon cafe greets guests with bouquets - 1

Red and grey are its main color theme. The beautiful bouquets that welcome customers can also be bought by them.

A Saigon cafe greets guests with bouquets - 2

The bright red and abundance of flowers is not gaudy or tacky, and the fragrance in an air-conditioned room  is a form of relaxing aromatherapy.

A Saigon cafe greets guests with bouquets - 3

This red swing, surrounded with flower baskets is a popular selfie prop for girls and women. The stairs lead to the open rooftop of the café.

A Saigon cafe greets guests with bouquets - 4

The café has handwritten menus and decorations like the small mailbox.

A Saigon cafe greets guests with bouquets - 5

The café seems to use its space well, and every corner is pleasing to the eye.

A Saigon cafe greets guests with bouquets - 6

Drinks here priced from VND35,000 – VND65,000 ($1.5 – $2.8). The signature drink here is the Bonjour Café’s Coffee, which is only available on weekends.





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A romantic Paris style café in Saigon


By Vi Yen  &nbspOctober 11, 2018 | 10:55 am GMT+7

It’s the place where you can emerge yourself with colourful flowers and beautiful scents.

A romantic Paris style café in Saigon

Modeled after the small cafés of Paris, Bonjour Café The Art in 40 Thao Dien Street, District 2, is a romantic flower garden.

A romantic Paris style café in Saigon - 1

With red as the main colour, the little café in the corner of the intersection catches passerby eyes. At the front of the café, there are also some beautiful flower bouquets which visitors can purchase.

A romantic Paris style café in Saigon - 2

The moment you step inside the café, its beautiful, gentle floral scent and cool air-conditioned room will shield you from the heat of Saigon and help you relax.

A romantic Paris style café in Saigon - 3

This red swing, surrounded with flower baskets is girls’ favourite area for taking photos. The stair leads to the open rooftop of the café, which can become quite hot during summer days.

A romantic Paris style café in Saigon - 4

This café wins over the heart of its female customers by filling the place with pretty and cute decorations like small red mailbox, simple signs, hand written menu at the front of the café.

A romantic Paris style café in Saigon - 5

Despite being small, the interiors are arranged carefully and very well-decorated. Any spot in the café can be a beautiful background for the customer’s photos.

A romantic Paris style café in Saigon - 6

Drinks here priced from VND35,000 – VND65,000 ($1.5 – $2.8). The signature drink here is the Bonjour Café’s Coffee, which only available on weekends.





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Rapper Nicky Minaj wows millions with outfit made by Vietnamese designers


By Y Ly  &nbspOctober 11, 2018 | 09:48 am GMT+7

American rapper Nicky Minaj has wowed millions wearing a dress designed by Cory Tran and Phan Nguyen Minh Quan.

Minaj wore the outfit for a photo shoot for the front cover of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam.

She posted different pictures of the photo shoot on her Instagram account. After four days, one picture from the collection received over two million likes on the social media site.

The dress is made of strong mesh fabric and embroidered with white stylized patterns.

It took Cory Tran, whose real name is Tran Quoc Dung, and Quan a week to design the dress after they were commissioned to do it.

Cory Tran has previously collaborated with several global stars including Toni Braxton and Kelly Rowland. Quan, 35, was a Top 3 finisher in Project Runway 2014.

Cory Tran (left) và Phan Nguyen Minh Quan

Cory Tran (left) và Phan Nguyen Minh Quan

Vietnamese designers have been making a mark on the international fashion scene of late. Last year, a photo of pop star Rihanna wearing a white shirt by designer Nguyen Cong Tri went viral on the Internet.





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Rapper Nicky Minaj wears a couture dress of two Vietnamese designers


By Y Ly  &nbspOctober 11, 2018 | 09:48 am GMT+7

American rapper Nicky Minaj wore a couture dress from Vietnamese designers Cory Tran (Tran Quoc Dung) and Phan Nguyen Minh Quan.

The global star wore the outfit for a photo shoot which appeared on the front cover of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam magazine.

She also posted different pictures of the photo shoot on her Instagram account. After four days, one picture of that photo shoot received over two million likes on the social media site.

The dress is made of strong mesh fabric and embroidered with white stylized patterns.

The shoulder and chest was designed to enhance the star’s sex appeal, providing a strong and bold aesthetic that matched with the music icon.

After Cory was informed a few months ahead of the photo shoot, he and Quan quickly designed to complete the dress in one week.

Cory Tran, real name is Tran Quoc Dung, has collaborated with many global stars such as Toni Braxton and Kelly Rowland.

Phan Nguyen Minh Quan, 35, was in Top 3 of Project Runway 2014.

Cory Tran (left) và Phan Nguyen Minh Quan

Cory Tran (left) và Phan Nguyen Minh Quan

This is not the first time famous celebrities wear outfits from Vietnamese designers.

Last year, a photo of pop star Rihanna wearing white shirt from designer Nguyen Cong Tri went viral on the Internet.





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Saigon’s new mantra: eco-friendly living


Saigonese are increasingly opting for a sustainable lifestyle and happy to give environment-friendly things like reusable straws and
natural shampoos a try.

The problem of trash, especially plastic, and chemical wastes and their harmful effects on the environment are getting starker by the day as
waste dumps grow larger and more and more chemicals contaminate water bodies like rivers and oceans.

Most of these chemicals then find their way back into our food chain through seafood and into our drinking water sources.

Fortunately, the information age has flung back on our face what we are doing to our planet, and globally people are starting to live in a
more environment-friendly manner by replacing plastic and other non-biodegradable products with recyclable, reusable, organic, and natural
products.

“I switch to reusuable straws to minimise my plastic waste. I always put the set in my handbag. A lot of my friends do this as well,” said Thanh Than, a supporter of eco-friendly products in Saigon.

In Vietnam, especially in its southern metro, there are many new enlightened businesses that promote an environmentally-conscious lifestyle.
And, they are becoming more and more popular with individual customers as well as other businesses, especially in the hospitality
industry. 

Recyclable, Reusable, the new paradigm

“Our most popular products are the straws and veggie bags,” Michael Burdge, co-founder of Zero Waste Saigon, said.

Though only founded last January Zero Waste Saigon’s Facebook page already has more than 6,500 followers. Its online store offers many
recyclable and reusable products such as straws made from steel, bamboo, glass, and grass, grocery bags and canvas tote bags.

Bamboo straw – one of the most popular products at Zero Waste Saigon

When asked who his main customers are, Burdge says individuals and businesses make up half each. If eco-friendly products are made available,
many people, as is already evident in Saigon, are willing to use them, he added.

Businesses, especially restaurants and small businesses, realize that customers are paying attention to not just the quality of the food but
also the packaging, and are taking efforts to switch from single-use plastic products to recyclable and reusable products.

At least 50 businesses have bought Zero Waste Saigon’s products.

Plates, containers, cups ad bowls made from bamboo fiber and cassavan powder. Photo courtesy of The Organik House

The Organik House supplies biodegradable products to the hospitality industry including single-use containers, bowls, plates, and cups
made from bagasse or a mixture of bamboo fiber and cassava powder. It came into the market only at the beginning of this year, but already counts
among its customers many restaurants, hotels and resorts, not only in Saigon but also elsewhere, such as Fusion Saigon, Pullman Danang and some
others in Hue and Phan Thiet.

“Biodegradable products such as those made from bagasse are popular with businesses while reusable products such as metal and glass straws are
more popular with individual customers,” an Organik House employee said.

Reusable bamboo tablewares and wooden cutleries. Photo courtesy of The Organik House

Beyond food, into the bathroom

It is not just plastic that harms the environment; chemicals contained in things we use every day such as soap, dishwash liquids and
detergents enter and pollute our drinking water sources.

Su Meletzki, the owner of Green Around the Corner, a restaurant and store selling natural and eco-friendly and safe products, said she
started it to pay homage to Vietnam.

Coconut husk bags. Photo courtesy of Green Around the Corner

Here you can find a range of natural products such as herbal shampoos, detergents and dishwash liquids, coconut husk bags, hand-knotted
pouches made from jungle vine and more. Besides its own products, the store also sells natural, eco-friendly products made by others. 

“One of my achievements is to connect with local families and craftsmen I work with and help them spread their products and give them a way to
grow,” Meletzki said.

Among the things she sells are vegan and palm oil-free bar soaps from Saigon Suds, toy cars from Reborn.design which are upcycled from old
architectural objects found in Saigon and linen clothes from Linda Mai Phung.

Now, linen is one of the most sustainable fabrics since it is made from flax, which is hardy and can grow in poor soil with far less water
than cotton.

An upcycled toy car from Reborn.design. Photo by Su Meletzki

Story by Linh Nguyen





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Hanoi’s old quarter, now and then



Has it always been buzzing with frenetic activity? See for yourself.

4-hang-khayxdinh-tien-hoang-6339-1539146

The intersection of Hang Khay and Dinh Tien Hoang streets next to Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake). The old photo was taken around the 1920s.

5-3550-1539146718.jpg

The Hanoi international post office located at the intersection of Dinh Tien Hoang and Dinh Le streets.

7-cau-go-4369-1539146718.jpg

Cau Go Alley off the street of the same name. Cau Go Street is a small one-way street in the old quarter. In the past this used to be a place for students to grab a meal. When the French were here, they changed its name to Rue du Pont en bois (Cau Go in French).

6-rap-cong-nhan-1259-1539148648.jpg

Trang Tien Street, where a movie theater called Cinéma Palace was built by the French in 1920. With classic French architecture, it was meant to be the most luxurious cinema in Indochina at that time. When the French took over Hanoi again in 1947 they changed the cinema’s name to Eden. In 1954 the name was changed again to Cong Nhan. Cong Nhan cinema remains in operation to this date.

9-hang-bacxhang-dao-1619-1539148649.jpg

The intersection of Hang Bac and Hang Dao streets. Hang Dao used to be called Rue de la Soie (Silk Street). Back then there was a tram line here. Hang Bac Street still sells silver and Hang Dao now sells clothes and fabric.

11-ma-may-4795-1539148649.jpg

The intersection of Ma May and Hang Bac streets. Ma May used to make and sell rattan goods, but now the street is filled with motels, home stays and diners. The old picture was taken in the 1910s.

14-bao-tang-lsvn-20-29s-8112-1539148650.

The Vietnam History Museum on Trang Tien Street. Built by the French in 1926 and opened in 1932, the museum displays antiques collected from other Southeast Asian countries.

1-hang-tre-1940-4918-1539148651.jpg

Hang Tre and Hang Thung streets, 1940 and 2018.

2-bach-hoa-tt-1972-4748-1539148652.jpg

Dinh Tien Hoang Street always seems to be crowded no matter what time it is. In the late 19th century the street was called Rue Du Lac, but after the capital was liberated in 1954 the name was changed to Dinh Tien Hoang. The photo on the left was taken in 1972.

3-1980-6649-1539148653.jpg

The tram station in Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square in 1980, which is now a bus stop. Its old name was Place Négrier.

8-8688-1539148654.jpg

Hang Bo Street in 1950, formerly named Rue des Paniers. This street used to sell bamboo goods, but not anymore.

10-dong-xuan-7565-1539148655.jpg

The intersection of Dong Xuan and Hang Ma streets in 1980. The name Dong Xuan only appeared after the August Revolution in 1945. Before that it was called Rueduriz by the French.

13-4477-1539148656.jpg

A bomb shelter (Tranchée in French) outside the Hanoi Sofitel Metropole Hotel on Le Phung Hieu Street. Between 1965 and 1972 almost all Hanoi streets had bomb shelters to enable people to get out of danger as quickly as possible. The photo on the left was taken in 1967.

12-ga-longbien-8783-1539148656.jpg

The way down from Long Bien bridge in 1940, now called Tran Nhat Duat Street. The photo on the left taken by Harrison Forman.

15-bo-ho-9286-1539148657.jpg

Sword Lake seen from Hang Khay Street. The old photo was taken in 1967.

Story by Kieu Duong






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Hanoi’s old quarter, now and then



Has it always been buzzing with frenetic activity? See for yourself.

4-hang-khayxdinh-tien-hoang-6339-1539146

The intersection of Hang Khay and Dinh Tien Hoang streets next to Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake). The old photo was taken around the 1920s.

5-3550-1539146718.jpg

The Hanoi international post office located at the intersection of Dinh Tien Hoang and Dinh Le streets.

7-cau-go-4369-1539146718.jpg

Cau Go Alley off the street of the same name. Cau Go Street is a small one-way street in the old quarter. In the past this used to be a place for students to grab a meal. When the French were here, they changed its name to Rue du Pont en bois (Cau Go in French).

6-rap-cong-nhan-1259-1539148648.jpg

Trang Tien Street, where a movie theater called Cinéma Palace was built by the French in 1920. With classic French architecture, it was meant to be the most luxurious cinema in Indochina at that time. When the French took over Hanoi again in 1947 they changed the cinema’s name to Eden. In 1954 the name was changed again to Cong Nhan. Cong Nhan cinema remains in operation to this date.

9-hang-bacxhang-dao-1619-1539148649.jpg

The intersection of Hang Bac and Hang Dao streets. Hang Dao used to be called Rue de la Soie (Silk Street). Back then there was a tram line here. Hang Bac Street still sells silver and Hang Dao now sells clothes and fabric.

11-ma-may-4795-1539148649.jpg

The intersection of Ma May and Hang Bac streets. Ma May used to make and sell rattan goods, but now the street is filled with motels, home stays and diners. The old picture was taken in the 1910s.

14-bao-tang-lsvn-20-29s-8112-1539148650.

The Vietnam History Museum on Trang Tien Street. Built by the French in 1926 and opened in 1932, the museum displays antiques collected from other Southeast Asian countries.

1-hang-tre-1940-4918-1539148651.jpg

Hang Tre and Hang Thung streets, 1940 and 2018.

2-bach-hoa-tt-1972-4748-1539148652.jpg

Dinh Tien Hoang Street always seems to be crowded no matter what time it is. In the late 19th century the street was called Rue Du Lac, but after the capital was liberated in 1954 the name was changed to Dinh Tien Hoang. The photo on the left was taken in 1972.

3-1980-6649-1539148653.jpg

The tram station in Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square in 1980, which is now a bus stop. Its old name was Place Négrier.

8-8688-1539148654.jpg

Hang Bo Street in 1950, formerly named Rue des Paniers. This street used to sell bamboo goods, but not anymore.

10-dong-xuan-7565-1539148655.jpg

The intersection of Dong Xuan and Hang Ma streets in 1980. The name Dong Xuan only appeared after the August Revolution in 1945. Before that it was called Rueduriz by the French.

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A bomb shelter (Tranchée in French) outside the Hanoi Sofitel Metropole Hotel on Le Phung Hieu Street. Between 1965 and 1972 almost all Hanoi streets had bomb shelters to enable people to get out of danger as quickly as possible. The photo on the left was taken in 1967.

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The way down from Long Bien bridge in 1940, now called Tran Nhat Duat Street. The photo on the left taken by Harrison Forman.

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Sword Lake seen from Hang Khay Street. The old photo was taken in 1967.

Story by Kieu Duong






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