On to Hanoi

I arrived in Hanoi by train from the Chinese border on Friday the 4th, very early in the morning, to a scene that reminded me more than anything else of my days in West Africa. Monrovia and Freetown, in particular came to mind.
The pre-dawn train station was like a movie set of another era: what appeared to be two old Chinese trains, parked parallel on the platform, jostling crowds of people making their way with heavy bags, all the heavier because of the approach of next week’s Chinese, or Tet New Year. At the exit stood gathered an impossible knot of motorcycle and car taxis and drivers and touts and perhaps thieves, too, pushing, shouting, contending for business.
I hope to get pictures up from Hanoi early next week. My Casio Exilim Z55 digital camera, a real wonder (and I’m a major camera buff) gave up on me — the battery, anyway. I forgot, stupidly, to bring the charger, overconfident, perhaps, because the thing shoots hundreds of shots between charges. The result is that I’ve relied almost entirely on my Olympus OM4, another marvel, to shoot street scenes in Hanoi, and will have to await development and scanning once back in Shanghai, before I can post anything here.
I’ll get some of my Yunnan materials from the border region with Vietnam onto the site on Sunday night. I was being parsimonious with the digital shots, aware of the lack of battery power, but there should be some good stuff.
By the way, that was my second extensive Yunnan trip. The first, whose pictures are already posted, are of China’s border region with Burma and Laos.

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