Second Chance for an Old House

On Tet or New Year’s morning I got up early and walked the residential neighborhoods near my hotel in old Hanoi. The city was eerily quiet due to the holiday with most businesses closed.  I spotted this amazing but dilapidated old “Hanoi-style” home that appeared to be readied for  renovation.

It reminded me of Charleston twenty years ago when it was still not too difficult to find a huge old house downtown in similar condition and waiting to be brought back to life.  It is nearly impossible to find those gems anymore as the city has been nearly completely gentrified. In this house the many layers of paint, brick, and masonry shown through in various places revealing its history and the changes over the year and how it must have looked at various times.

I wondered the house’s age and who had lived there during the American War as it is known here or if the family fled during the years when the B-52’s would drop their bombs on neighborhoods like this one.  In any case, it was amazing it was still here at all and may even have a new family again by the time I return one day.

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