Southeast Asia: Hanoi, Vietnam

I'll be traveling with my husband, Dylan, through Southeast Asia for the next 5 weeks, and will be attempting to capture each place with a few photos. First up - Hanoi, the vibrant, frenetic capital city of Vietnam.

Birds in wooden cages hang everywhere in the city, adding a nice chirping respite to the constant hum of motorbikes.

Enjoying extremely satisfying hot bowls of xoi (sticky glutinous rice, mine topped with a fried egg, Dylan's with pork) and orange drink for breakfast.

Ho Chi Minh's little pagoda.

Hanoi is all about the motorbikes. In busier areas, crossing the street can be hair-raising. But somehow it all seems to work, even the folks carrying entire orange trees on their moto manage to weave elegantly around other motorbikes, cars, bicycles, tuk-tuks and pedestrians.

Water puppets - a 1,000 year old art form, water puppetry was invented as entertainment in the flooded rice paddies of rural Vietnam.

Dragon heads at the Temple of Literature, home of Vietnam's first university, from the 11th century.

The Temple of Literature features tons of stone turtles carrying tablets on their backs - each one has a face more delightful than the last. This curly-haired one is my favorite.

Dylan and I managed to get a tour of the little known Zoological Museum (it's by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead), an incredible three rooms of taxidermy and specimens from the French colonial era. This elephant skeleton greeted us as we headed in.

The mammal room of the Zoological Museum - a menagerie of taxidermy crammed into a tiny room due to space issues, resulting in wonderfully whimsical arrangement. Every animal in the room seems to be charging toward you as you walk in.

Most of the taxidermy has seen better days, but to me the imperfections only add to their charm.