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In 1992 Vietnam, the Streets Were Brimming With Love and Life

How has your life been transformed in the past 30 years? Changes might materialize overnight, but some tend to creep up on you at a glacial pace. Through this collection of images from 1992, mull over how Vietnam as a country has grown with every 12-month cycle.

These photographs were taken by travel writer Mark Hodson, who had a rare opportunity to tour Vietnam in the early 1990s when international tourism was virtually unheard of here. Without the presence of themed resorts, travel agents, cable cars and cruise boats, scenes in the country were captured as closely as possible to the quotidian life of locals.

A busy phở joint in Hanoi.

“I was using a Canon AE1 SLR, shooting on Fujichrome Velvia 50, mostly with a 50mm lens,” Hodson writes on his website about the trip. “I had prints made from the original transparencies, and what you see below are scans of those prints. I haven’t adjusted any of the coloring.”

Here are some glimpse of Hanoi, Hội An, and Nha Trang in the 1990s:

Fruit vendors set up shop in front of rows of old buildings in Hanoi.

The vast emptiness of Hanoi's airport, where Hodson was heading to “Vientiane aboard an ancient Russian-built Tupolev jet.”

A casual food street in Hanoi where one can slurp on porridge and instant noodles, or chew on a plate of hot xôi.

Sampans were often homes of families in Hạ Long. There wasn't any hotels in the area, so Hodson reported sleeping in a Russian workers' hostel.

Living on the water was much more common in 1992 than today.

Wood-fired inter-province coaches were quite unreliable and often broke down mid-trip.

The colonial design of Huế's train station.

An ice cream cart in Hội An.

The boats of Hội An.

In Đà Nẵng's Chợ Hàn, a grain merchant took a nap during slow periods of the day.

Fishmongers in Hội An with their catch of the day.

Boats in Hội An.

A dapper Hội An man posed for a photo.

It's corn!
A big lump with knobs
It has the juice (it has the juice).

Cross-country trips were often truncated by rest stops and engine failures.

Xích lô drivers in Hội An.

A fiery cockfight in Nha Trang.

A Nha Trang resident and her morning fish haul.

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