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A couple days ago, a reader wondered about the absence of turtles at Hoàn Kiếm lake. Here’s a shot of baby turtles at the bigger West Lake only a few kilometers away. The turtles were being sold so that they could be released and set free, a common practice called “life release” in Buddhism.

Baby turtles to be bought and released in West Lake. There were also a few larger turtles for sale.

Baby turtles to be bought and released in West Lake. There were also a few larger turtles for sale.

Meanwhile, Hoàn Kiếm lake had many spots where people from all over the world came to take or have their pictures taken. In the following shot, the two young ladies were wearing the traditional long tunic (áo dài). The tunic is not often seen these days, except at weddings and other formal occasions. They are pretty, flattering, but not too convenient for riding motorbikes.

Posing for pictures at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Posing for pictures at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

As we were sitting on a bench admiring the lake, a bridal party made its way to a photo shoot.

Bridesmaids at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Bridesmaids at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

I think the bride was wearing a white áo dài, but I wasn’t fast enough to get a good shot of her.

Bridal party at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Bridal party at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

After a few minutes, the following couple also showed up. The young soldier was apparently overdressed for the heat.

Young couple at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Young couple at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

A curious balloon vendor watched them for a short while.

Balloon vendor.

Balloon vendor.

On a side street, a flower vendor nodded as she took a brief afternoon nap, but other vendors did not.

Flower vendor napping on street.

Flower vendor napping on street.

Fruit vendor in Old Quarter.

Fruit and vegetables vendor in Old Quarter. Perhaps she was thinking whether she would make enough money that day as she had hoped.

Fruit vendor at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Fruit vendor at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

The sky, which had been cloudy for several days, cleared up a little allowing me to take a good shot of the red bridge leading to Jade Mountain (Ngọc Sơn) Temple.

Bridge to Ngọc Sơn temple on Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Bridge to Ngọc Sơn temple on Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Mountain Jade (Ngọc Sơn) temple, to the right of the picture, at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Mountain Jade (Ngọc Sơn) temple, to the right of the picture, at Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Finally I tried to take the following night shot of traffic around Hoàn Kiếm lake. I don’t know what happened, but it turned out much different from what I expected. Maybe it is an apt illustration of the chaotic traffic in Hà Nội, and in the larger cities of Việt Nam.

Traffic at night around Hoàn Kiếm lake.

Traffic at night around Hoàn Kiếm lake.

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