Hanoi - The Old Quarters, a place choked of old-world charms and the kind of chaotic  vibrancy that buzzes with blinding energy at every turn and corner.

You don't need a map to  explore this maze, just go where your eyes and heart fancy. Be merry, and be  lost.

And look out for the bikes, of course.

    The legendary (but over-rated) fried fish of Cha Ca La Vong. This establishment is so famous that they have the street name after it. The damage - RM20+ per person.    
    Street-side food vendors are the default dining options for most locals. Al-fresco dining takes on a new life in this city as you slurp up your pho while seating on the smallest stool on the walkways, with bikes zipping past you just inches away.    
    "See no gossips, hear no gossips, say no gossips"    
    Hanoi folks are by far the most camera-shy people that I have snapped. At the realisation of the presence of a camera lens, they will make every effort to shy away. Thank goodness my travel lens goes all the way till 200mm.    
    A boy squatting in front of the local market. Pondering upon his future, or perhaps on whether he has finished his homework or not?    
    How long ago was it that the idea of a date includes a no-frills, yet refreshingly sweet walk in the park, or in this case, hanging around the bridge that crosses over to Ngoc Son temple in Hoan Kiem lake?    
    "Have you seen my daughter-in-law? I need diapers."    
    A photo frame bearing the Chinese character "Fu", meaning prosperity, hung for sale by the street. The presence of Chinese culture in the Vietnamese way of life is an easy thing to spot, more so during the Tet lunar new year celebrations.    
    Vietnamese women are one super laborious group of people, working tirelessly vending snacks, fruits, wares, toys and everything else under the sun.    
    The one-pillar pagoda, a tourist spot. *yawn*    
    A good, natural shot of locals dining by the street, that was before one of them spotted me, and got everyone else to show me their backs of course.    
    The Temple of Literature, yet another tourist spot.    
    The streets in Old Quarters are themed - i.e. most of the shops along the same streets sell the same thing. This one, for example, specialises in bamboos.    
    While in many modern countries, safety concerns keep all activities away from the railway lines, life in Hanoi prospers around it, virtually accident-free.    
    A kitten entertaining itself while being tied to a post on the walkway. No excuses for wandering too far indeed when water and some food are readily accessible. "It's for their own good," Mum said, "too many bikes around the city."    
    This one seems to have got used to its restrictive lifestyle.    
    Goldfishes hung for sale in sealed plastic bags with hopefully enough oxygen in the water to keep them alive until the buyer comes along.    
    I dream of pho, and coffee.    
    "Ah jie, what does scandalous sex videos mean??"    
    A man ferrying a load of chopped cherry blossom branches on the street, an extremely common sight close to the Tet festival, where it's standard thing to have offices and houses decorated with this auspicious plant.    
    What a great backdrop for a portrait shoot. :)    
    A man enjoying small talk while getting his hair trimmed for the lunar new year.    
    Contrary to what this photo is trying to say, mobile toilet like this one is not a common sight in Hanoi.    
    Through years of practice, Hanoi folks have developed the art of balancing acts on bikes to perfection.    
    Behold the Pho, a dish of rice noodle soup, served with strips of beef and sometimes chicken too. Available at the nearest walkway to you.    
    Behold Nguyen Chi, the only winking chi hua hua in Hanoi.    
    Yes, you got it right, finally, right in the middle of an open air market, I found the roasted dog, sitting peacefully, hairless and all, on display, to disgust dog-lovers worldwide. Very precious shot indeed, worth a curse or two from the hawker.