Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hanoi Vietnam

When i returned from India and Nepal I had two days to unpack and recover from jet lag before launching into three full days of activity at the Thompkins County Quilt Guild Show in Ithaca. I unpacked my car from vending there on Sunday night and early Monday morning headed off to Vietnam. Hanoi is probably my favorite city in the whole beautiful country. This is Hoan Kiem Lake at the lower end of the Old Quarter where I like to stay.
There are two pagodas in the middle of the lake, unfortunately now surrounded by trees which spoil the view a bit. There are several nice restaurants circling the lake. I was sitting in a cycle rickshaw in this picture. The streets of the Old Quarter are very narrow and don't lend themselves to taxis. The choice for getting around if you aren't walking is a motorcycle taxi...a bit too scary...or a cycle rickshaw. The operators of both are quite persistant. To cross the street you walk right out in a steady pace...and hope the riders coming at you have enough skill to get around you. Nerves of steel are required here.

One of my favorite dishes...Fried Spring Rolls...beautifully served and tasting as good as they looked. At the Tamarind Cafe...a vegetarian restaurant a couple of blocks from my hotel. A few blocks from my hotel is the "sewing-notions" district. While this section would send my heart all a flutter in most countries I have never been able to find one single thing on multiple trips to buy here. Very boring to say the least.

The beautiful ao dai which is being worn less and less by the local women. Usually now by someone in the tourist business.

There are shops selling exquisite fashions here.

The Old Quarter was the tradesmans area and some vestiges still remain. Here are some of the tombstone cutters who combine photos with elaborate carvings.

A street food stall just down the street from my hotel.

No trip is complete without a visit to the Dong Xuan Market on the northern edge of the Old Quarter. On the second floor there are a number of fabric shops selling Vietnamese Silk and iridescent silk which is a favorite of mine.
The stalls are about the size of a small closet and they have to haul everything down to extract one piece of silk. Looking down from the second floor where the silk is located. This is a market for locals although there are a few stalls with tourist items. There used to be a lot of vendors where I could purchase small purses but there is only one left now.

It is a huge market in several buildings selling everything from chickens to televisions.

Quang Chong Gate near my hotel. Built in 1749 it is the only surviving gate after the French tore them all down during the 19th Century. Another food stall near my hotel.
Walking toward the French section below the Lake. The sidewalks are wider here and you can actually walk on them. In the Old Quarter motorbikes park on them or they are full of people eating in front of their houses or organizing small street restaurants.

A typical fruit vendor with her two baskets balanced by a pole on her sholders.

A French bread seller near some construction in the French quarter. You can set up shop with just a few loaves apparently.

St, Joseph's Cathedral in the French quarter built in 1882. Its very famous but I have never been terribly impressed with it. The blocks around it are very trendy full of expensive little hotels, shops and restaurants.
A temple near the cathedra.
A basket seller. Lots of vendors sell from their bikes.
Another interesting shop. More and more of the tube houses (narrow long houses built in the Old Quarter to avoid taxes) are being converted to upscale boutiques.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh..Mangoes, sticky rice and cocoanut the Tamarind Cafe again. Its better than a deluxe banana split.

This is a new shop selling hand made quilts ...sewn and pieced by hand. I found another one a few years ago which was selling machine quilted pieces...pillows and lap sized quilts based on nursery rhimes. It was gone a year later when I returned.

No one in the shop spoke English...which was a surprise since they seemed to be focusing on the tourist market. The quilts I priced were close to $200.

My hotel. Most hotels in the Old Quarter feature Chinese style furniture.
Cable TV, minibar, teamaker, and safe. The rate included a lovely breakfast and access to highspeed internet for free. It was $25 a night. There are many much more expensive hotels...way up to several hundred dollars a night.

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