July 28, 2011

Weathered Walls and Bike Fenders

A blue bike rest against a weathered red wall, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Chipped paint and rusted chains.  Squared blocks and rounded arches.  Family containment and personal itinerant.  These are the weathered walls and used bikes of Hanoi, Vietnam.
The solid red, textured, wall represents a family, a source of shelter, contentment, pay-off, and belonging.  A form of personal boundary and privacy.

The arched bike fragment represents mobility and labor.  Providing a mixture of work and play, motion and stability; a closed circuit of the Vietnamese lifestyle.

It is common to see heavy loads atop bike racks. Dented, scratched, and rusted, these racks do not go unused.  Rice bags, fruit baskets, and canvas sacks filled with clothes make their way to the night market.  Children and friends sit atop the rack, feet dangling, and smiles shining as peddlers make their way through the dancing streets.

I found myself invited into rooms encompassed by several similarly painted walls.  Red, seasick green, light blue, and yellow.  No matter the color, they all housed the same hospitality.  I was welcomed with open arms, lychee, iced jasmine tea, and an eagerness to know where I was from or if I could use chopsticks.  I teased families for several minutes with my nomadic Vietnamese, exchanging greetings, asking about food items, complaining about the heat, and showing them photos from the back of my camera.

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