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Photographer's Note

Hanoi - Life next to the railway


Before I went to Vietnam in 2017, I had seen a photo on the internet of this working-class neighbourhood in Hanoi where a railway line ran between the closely built houses.
But I couldn't figure out where in the immense Hanoi this street or district was located.
I had completely checked my guidebook, but it didn't say a word about it.
Still, I was sure I wanted to go there.

So I printed the photo and took it with me (I didn't have a smartphone at the time).
In my hotel they recognised the location immediately but advised me not to go there.
Why wasnt clear. Because I insisted, I was told to come back for sure before darkness.

I still don't know why I was advised against going to that area. All residents there were very friendly.
Actually nobody there spoke English but everyone could tell me in English at what hour the next train came through.
There are daily trains on that line but not that many and all residents know they have to clear the railway by then.

Since the next crossing was quite a few hours later, I didnt wait. So I don't have any pictures of a train in that narrow passage.
But I found life next to and sometimes on the railway interesting to see. I wonder if accidents really never happen. For the residents of that neighbourhood, it seemed the most natural thing to live there.

I can't say exactly where I took these pictures but it wasn't really that far from the main Hanoi station.
However, the train I later took to L跢 Cai (the north of the country) did not pass there.
You can find similar situations in different places in Hanoi. Later when strolling around in Hanoi I happened to come in a second place with a very similar living and traffic situation.

Again, I don't know why my hotel advised me not to go there. Were they afraid that a traffic accident would happen to me?
The neighbourhood was certainly not unsafe. Every resident was very friendly.
Besides, I wasn't the only tourist there. There were about 10 other westerners hanging around taking pictures.
A situation that in 2017 I would experience just about everywhere I went in Vietnam. Western tourists really everywhere! Totally unlike what I would experience in Laos two years later.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7115 W: 24 N: 16599] (65018)
  • Genre: 地方
  • Medium: 彩色
  • Date Taken: 2017-03-28
  • Exposure:f/0.1, 30 seconds
  • Photo Version:Original Version, Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2022-10-03 16:04
Viewed: 0
Points: 42
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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7115 W: 24 N: 16599] (65018)
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