Photo Essay: West Lake, Hanoi

I lived in Minneapolis for six years. Minnesota enjoys the state slogan “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Cedar Lake were all within walking or cycling distance from my apartment. Lakes speak to me. In Minneapolis, runners, walkers, cyclists occupied the paths from the time the snow melted from them to when they were again rendered impassable by weather. People picnicked, rented paddle boats, swam, canoed and kayaked from March to November. Once the lakes froze again, skiers, snowshoers, ice skaters, hockey players and dog walkers occupied them until the ice became too thin to support their weight. West Lake, or Hồ Tây, in Hanoi doesn’t deal with such a sharp seasonal difference so the types of activity around the lakes is more or less the same all year, though it increases when the weather is nice. It’s a gathering place for young couples seeking privacy, a fishing spot for urban fishermen, groups of friends passing the time, ice cream eaters, joggers and aerobics groups.

This man fished in this spot next to Dieu’s Cuisine (125 Xuan Dieu) throughout the year.

The dragons were erected for lunar new year which marked the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.

Hanoi has a waterpark, on the far west corner of West Lake.  I’ve never been but have driven past plenty of times.  I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun so I plan to play there next time I’m in Hanoi.

Some of the fishermen sail out farther and use nets to catch their fish. Some also catch the prawns that end up in the delicious West Lake Prawn Cakes.

It’s not a bad place to raise ducks, if you happen to live right by the quiet, still water of the lotus pond either. (Yes, that’s in miniature because sometimes it’s fun to play with funky camera settings).

And then there’s the view from the rooftop.

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