Trung thu, as how we call the Moon Festival in Vietnamese, happened in September this year. Living in lockdown in Sydney at the moment , I can only celebrate it by eating delicious moon cakes. Among many photos about Hanoi, I managed to have a series taken during Trung thu in 2014. The best part about this is that the pictures were about the Old Quarter, the most bustling and packed area in Hanoi.
It has been seven years, so I felt nostalgic seeing these photos. It was emotional to contemplate how colourful the streets looked and how people stopped by street shops to grab something on the way home quickly. I remembered the smell of food and rain, the sound of people talking and vehicles. The heat from a lingering summer and the sweaty feeling due to the humidity. Narrow street, hot air, bustling noise. Newcomers in Hanoi will feel easily overwhelmed. But standing between all these, I sometimes feel calm.
Growing up in Vietnam, I learnt how to grasp the rhythm in all chaos. It is similar to how you cross the street by understanding the tempo of traffic dance and swiftly reach the other side. It sounds pretty cool describing something I have done since a kid. I have to admit that whenever I went back to Vietnam, the first time crossing the streets or riding a motorbike made my body feel stifled. But after that first time, I felt at home again.
After leaving Hanoi for overseas study, whenever I got a chance to visit home, I usually walked in the Old Quarter to glimpse into my childhood. The memories there are vivid up to now. The usual ice cream shop, bookstore, street food were still there. The whole district is a time capsule that keeps my childhood, which I enjoyed and feel pretty proud of.
Play this beautiful song about Hanoi and enjoy the visual journey!