Street Scene, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2011
This past weekend, I had originally planned to develop the six rolls of film that I shot during my photo session with Kat a few weeks ago. (See here.) However, I decided instead to begin filing the negatives that I had shot on my trip to Vietnam in March.
As it is, filing negatives is just as important a step as developing film, and for me, a necessary step to do before I can really begin scanning the film to post here. I got a lot done, taking care of 15 of the 23 rolls of 220 size film that I had, or about two-thirds of the total.
Today I began scanning the film, beginning at the beginning, with a couple of frames from the beginning of the first roll of film. I had arrived from the U.S. via Hong Kong in Ho Chi Minh City (fka Saigon) late in the day – without my suitcase, which was still back in Hong Kong – and flew to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, the next morning. It was there in Hanoi that I began my photography.
Here you see a fairly typical street scene (above), with some people on the sidewalk in front of one of Hanoi’s picturesque old buildings. I think the woman may have been selling lottery tickets. In the second photo (below), a man rides by on a cyclo, which is essentially a kind of tricycle taxi popular with tourists, with the driver in the back and the passenger(s) sitting in the front.
I have to say that it was a bit strange being an American tourist walking about in Hanoi. I had spent a couple of nights there on my first trip to Vietnam five years ago, but each time we arrived late and left early the next day, so I really didn’t get to see much. I had spent a bit more time then in Ho Chi Minh City, but that was different. As Saigon during the Vietnam War, it was the capital of the country that was on our side.
Hanoi, on the other hand, was the capital of the enemy, so as someone who grew up in the 1960’s listening to Hanoi being mentioned in negative terms in the news, actually being there seemed a bit bizarre.
As I like to tell people in the U.S. who ask me what the Vietnamese think of Americans now, to the Vietnamese, the war with the U.S. (which they call “the American War”) ended a long time ago. Perhaps it’s Americans who haven’t totally gotten over it yet.