Hoa Binh Hydroelectric Time Capsule

Last weekend was a national holiday in Vietnam. My wife and I went with some friends to Hoa Binh to spend the night at a man made freshwater lake.  It’s glassy water was dotted with small islands similar to Ha Long Bay. This lake was a little eerie to me as it seemed to be very still with very little life in it or around it. Maybe, this is due to not seeing much wildlife or this could be very normal for this kind of body of water. You see, this lake was made to be a reservoir for the Hoa Binh Hydroelectric plant. Underneath it’s still waters lies 3 villages and the now islands, used to be hills or mountains. Even though it was quite quiet and a little eerie it was still nice to see and even more interesting to explore.

The next day we all went to see the Hoa Binh powerplant, which in in it’s heyday was a symbol of great national pride. This place was like taking a step back into time. A time where the computers were the size of the room, you had big colorful lights blinking on and off and that, 1970’s Industrial Communist design is everywhere. Amazing place.

I have driven through Hoa Binh a handful of times and I can’t believe i have been missing out on this gem.

This dam was made in partnership with the USSR. That is right, USSR. Most of the writing on instruments is in Russian and you can see “Made in the USSR” marked on all of them. This was very much a highlight for me to see.

As i was about to enter this catacomb of Industrial Communism, I was stopped and was told i wasn’t allowed to bring my camera. Such a shame, as it would have been nice to have better high resolution photos of this place. Oh well.

As i entered the tour, i whipped out my iPhone and started to shoot away. No one seemed to care about my iPhone so i shot as much as i could. Our tour guide, a government employee that does the day to day work at the plant, was drunk off of rice wine and was very proud of where he worked. On a few occasions, he forgot about me in is his self-involved explanation of his fine facility and left me to wonder around by myself. So here is a short photo essay about the great Hoa Binh hydroelectric plant.

Enjoy!