As we arrive at Dong Ho Village on the southern bank of Duong River, the gentle rain is cooling the heat of a late summer’s day. The streets are quiet, few people are out walking and only the occasional motorbike, loaded with plastic bags of colourful paper products, passes us by.
Walk around Hanoi’s Old Quarter, especially Hang Gai, and it won’t be long before you’re enticed to enter a shop to peruse the cheap silk products on offer. From table runners to elegant dressing gowns and ao dai, as well as a multitude of scarves of varying quality, there’s something to suit every taste and price point.
I was sitting on my motorbike outside of a normal-looking house in the Thao Dien area of District 2.
Alain Carpentier is France's best known heart surgeon. He also has a special relationship with Vietnam. Word speaks to the man whose work in this country has helped saved the lives of thousands of children from impoverished families.
It was a time when conflicting ideologies came face to face. East versus West. At the height of the Cold War, British diplomat John Ramsden, who had earlier worked in Senegal and at the East-West disarmament talks in Vienna, was posted to Hanoi. It was 1980.