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Old-school Hanoi opens foreign eyes

By Pham Van   June 28, 2016 | 01:45 am PT
It’s usually a city’s urbanization that keeps its citizens happy, but most travelers aren't here for urban life, which is reflected by the souvenirs they take home that are more often than not from a bygone era.

Bicycle mechanic

In a period that predates internet and technology, simple door-to-door services used to be the preferred way of doing small business, with street vendors roaming the streets catering for all your every need. The prevailing image of the old days are now present ony in the minds of the nostalgic or caught by foreigners who find these alien image suddenly worth capturing. The image of an old bicycle mechanic by his "food fueled" vehicle managed to draw the eyes of Marco Sarli.


“What’s more intriguing than a closed door? It’s a mystery behind two wooden panels. It’s everything you want it to be. Just turn the key, push and step inside.

"Maybe it’s the geometry that inspires me, maybe the similarities and all the differences, the colors, the traces of time, the rust, the mold eating the wood, the paint peeling on the sidewalks.
I can spend hours hunting down these doors, looking for the forgotten ones, hiding in the shade of an old colonial buidling.

"I never touch the handle, I don’t knock or turn the key. I always keep them closed.

"The best stories are left untold…”

That’s what Gaspard Walter’s reasons are for the moments he has managed to capture with the help of his camera.

Old metal doors seemingly dating from subsidy period, wooden doors painted in turquoise, an exotic color and a reminder of colonial times. Hopefully there is more to come during his days in Hanoi.

For more mysteries at the doorstep, go to and his

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