24 June 2009By Mark Bowyer
Western travellers are drawn to the communal chaos of Vietnam's streets.
On my most recent visit to Vietnam, I wanted to photograph a very simple street restaurant in Hanoi where the plastic stools are tiny and low, the walls look like they haven't had a coat of paint since the French were run out of town and the customers line up by the hundreds knowing that a true gourmet experience awaits them. The owner saw me and asked that I not take any photos. I asked why?. He replied "tai Vietnam ngheo" - "because Vietnam's poor". The scene was rich with life and spirit for me, but for him, my interest was its poverty. He suggested I should photograph a newer restaurant a few shops further on - the likes of which can be found anywhere. I insisted to him that I found his place more appealing - but he wouldn't be swayed.
02 May 2013
This week, 30 April marked the 38th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Back then, thousands of Saigonese and foreigners fled the approaching Communist tanks. These days, a happier evacuation of ...
24 April 2013
A salute to Dong Khoi Street's wonderful Mr Thai. It seems he's finally taken his long overdue retirement.
15 April 2013
We take a look at the restrained commemoration of war in Vietnam, the surprising presence of memorials to the country's erstwhile invaders and ask who was Roy Thompson?
04 March 2013
2013 marks 20 years since I first moved to Ho Chi Minh City. It's a big personal milestone. I'm an appalling nostalgic at the best of times so this year's likely to be especially bad. ..
18 February 2013
Mekong River cruising between Vietnam and Cambodia is booming and I recently took the opportunity to revisit the river aboard a colonial style river boat recreation, the Jahan.