Synaesthesia Magazine Cities - Page 63

On the other hand is Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, a city a world away from the Western ideology of London. This is an ancient city of far eastern culture and tradition which is still regimented by a very socialist, leftward looking outlook. There is a strong military presence on the streets with immaculate armed soldiers strategically placed on street corners, whilst at hourly intervals loud speakers throughout the city’s streets interrupt your conversations and personal thoughts, only to spread further socialist messages of national unity, collectivism and the common cause. It is as if that today’s Vietnam is the Democratic People’s Republic of Vietnam of Ho Chi Minh; very little has changed in the North of this socialist state.

I suddenly found myself lost in one of Hanoi’s identical streets, each with its own individual name denoting what it sells – in this case, shoes. Like every other, it was filled with people on motorbikes all sporting big, cosy puffy jackets, whilst women amongst the shop keepers carried out traditional tea ceremonies where Chai is kept warm in a silk lined box. Simultaneously, surrounding entrepreneurs served Pho Bo to hungry, busy passersby.

Amidst this moment of misdirection and being lost in the city, its culture, its customs and its energetic coffee fuelled vibe together provided me with a solace and warmth – for the first time in a long time I was anonymous, free to think, I was off gird… I HAD ESCAPED! Unexpectedly the confusing, closed nature of Hanoi had provided me with everything I had been longing for: inner peace, self-reliance, and a time to reflect. This is what made me capture this amazing city of narrow streets, unparalleled smells and street food as well as the aerial jungle of vine-like electric and telecommunication cables in this photograph of Hanoi, Vietnam.