Camellia Hotel and the Hood

I moved into the Camellia Hotel about a week ago and have been very happy here. The hotel is on an alley, so there’s less traffic; the owners are super nice people and my deluxe room is only $20 per night. I’ve got wifi and ethernet (although sometimes intermittent), a small fridge, tv, a huge wardrobe and a decent sized bathroom. Here’s what it looks like from the alley:

Camellia Hotel, Hanoi

Camellia Hotel, Hanoi

Well, I guess you can’t see a lot of it from this angle but you can see the lane and how it twists and turns off towards the ‘wet’ market. Everyday the owners and their boy are here taking care of business and then they’re off for home on Dad’s bike. Note that the boy’s only protection is the face mask, protecting him from exhaust fumes. Generally parents wear helmets and the kids don’t. Apparently the reasoning is that helmets are too heavy for their little heads. There is an NGO in Hanoi that supplies kids helmets but it seems not many parents are convinced helmets might save their little ones’ lives.

Father and Son

Father and Son

Here’s a view from my balcony during the tropical depression yesterday. Vendors set up early in the day selling their produce, catching people on their way to and from the market.

Trung Yen Lane, Hanoi

Trung Yen Lane, Hanoi

Once again the humidity fogged my lens but that’s what we call ‘atmosphere’!

There are a couple of bends in the alley and then we enter the ‘wet’ market. ‘Wet’ means there’s lots of meat and produce as opposed to dry goods. It’s a fascinating market to wander through. One just has to be careful not to be bumped by a scooter. Indeed people do drive their scooters right into the market, honking away. Sometimes the traffic jams and everybody has to wait while someone on a scooter purchases and eel or fish or some other tasty something. This photo shows the intersection in the market: go right and there’s a few more stalls and then you’re out of the market; go straight and it runs for almost a block; turn left and it goes on for almost another block; and behind me is the lane towards the hotel.

Wet Market

Wet Market

I enjoy walking back to the Camellia and seeing life in the lane. There are many little shops, homes and cafes. Plus people sitting out – eating, selling, making things or relaxing.

Board Game in the Lane

Board Game in the Lane

I’ve been watching a young man making these figures for days now. I’m sure if they’re for an upcoming holiday or if he’s producing a stockpile.

Craft Production

Craft Production

A couple of my favorite eating and drinking spots are just outside the alley. I’ve gone to LePub a few times now. They’ve a good selection of beers and daily drink specials plus great pub food. The music’s modern and the staff is friendly if a little crazy sometimes. One of the craziest called out to me the other day and I thought he had another joke for me but he was calling me back as I’d left my camera on the table! Yikes… not a smart move. Thank goodness for honest staff. I’d been so busy chatting to a couple from Spain I just plain forgot it on my table.

LePub, Hang Be Street

LePub, Hang Be Street

And no, I haven’t tried the $2 ‘Jagerbomb’. And I don’t think I will. But the $2 martini was decent. No olives though Sue ;o)

My other favorite spot on Hang Be St. is the Number Five restaurant. They serve egg bennies which I treat myself to once in a while. I was there this morning for my Sunday brunch and sat watching the street scene. A woman was selling large fruit from from her bicycle. One of the waitresses ran out and got one, so I asked what they were. Grapefruit. The woman peeled them on the spot with a few dextrous knife moves.

Grapefruit Seller

Grapefruit Seller

As you can see it was sunny again today. Yesterday, however, was wet and it got dark early. On my way for Mexican food I spotted an orange glow crossing the gloomy street. That’s life in Hanoi: just when you think things are at their darkest something bright and crazy passes by bringing a smile to your face.

Orange Glow Shoes

Orange Glow Shoes

That’s wrap for today folks. Thanks for visiting the ‘hood with me. Drop on by anytime ….

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Camellia Hotel and the Hood

  1. Barb & Rog

    Hi Kelly,
    I know I am probably way out there but that alley looks very familiar, perhaps they all look the same in the old quarter, but just in case is the Thu Giang Guesthouse near there? What a coincidence if it was, we spent alot of time there and they were so helpful in our tours of Sapa and Halong Bay. Reading your experiences in Hanoi takes me right back there, I can hear the buzz, buzz, beep, beep of the cycles, and those crowded streets, people cooking in the alleys , the tall, narrow buildings, the abundance of cheap beer… it goes on. Any luck on the job market lately? Are you going to go to SaPa anytime soon? It really is quite spectacular, if you go be sure to arrange a home stay in one of the villages, it is way better than the hotels you stay at in the SaPa village. The night train up there and back was a real hoot too! Can’t wait to read your further adventures.
    Love,
    Barb

  2. kellyeye

    Hi Barb and Roger,

    Good to hear from you! And you know of which I speak ;o)
    I’m not sure if it’s the same alley but I’ll see if I can spot your guesthouse. It’s true…. there are so many alleys in the Old Quarter and at first everything looks the same. I’m getting a feel for the main streets now and know that at 5pm traffic’s at its worst (got bumped by a scooter the other day).
    The jump search has paid off: got two jobs now. One at an international school as a sub (teaching French on Thurs. & Friday!) and one teaching ESL to uni students several evenings a week. That should cover all my expenses. The international school would be great as a full time job but I’m not sure I’ve got all the qualifications.
    Hoping to get out of Hanoi one of these days but so far the job hunt has been the priority. Looks like I may have some free days though and certainly Ha Long Bay and SaPa are on the list. Might wait for Sue to arrive though. Gotta find a home and transport next.
    Drop by for a visit anytime!
    Cheers (and cheap beers:-),
    Kelly

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