All it took was ….

When Ailsa posted her travel theme clean this week, my first impulse was to focus on the dirt and grime I’ve been surrounded with lately.  Instead I let her post speak to me and inspire me.

I’ve been traveling for five weeks through Vietnam and Thailand and even Nepal.  Directly after returning home I had guests in my home for two weeks.  I’ve been playing a crazy game of catch up at work, hosting guests and being sick.  Yesterday I spent ten hours at work on a Sunday just to catch up and I did indeed do that.  Today I spent the entire day cleaning my home, rearranging it, organizing my mess and disinfecting the place from sickness.

After cleaning my home I began to feel a bit inspired.  I had a fresh look on my house, my work and now a painting project.  There is a quote about a clean house equating to a clean and uncluttered mind.. to me it means freedom and comfort.  So with this new freedom and inspiration I decided to create an interpretation of my time in Vietnam through paint.

I hope you enjoy.

My representation of Vietnam.

My representation of Vietnam.

Ok.. just two more shots from Pokhara, Nepal.  I was there for one week on a work function and talk about clean air compared to Kathmandu.  Hope you enjoy.

Fewa Lake Pokhara

Fewa Lake Pokhara

View of Himalayas from my hotel door.

View of Himalayas from my hotel door.


Taking it to the Streets

I love big cities and I love both small and big city streets.  I love the sounds, the smells, the people, the buildings and the opportunities you can find when you just keep your eyes open.

Just a few glimpses of some of my most recent street scenes from Vietnam.  I decided to focus only on a few of my very favorite black and white shots.  There is something about a black and white picture that makes the scene feel timeless.  I hope you enjoy.

I see people walking through the city and wonder where they’ve been, and what the moments of their lives have done to them.    ― Markus ZusakGetting the Girl

“I think of it as the antidote to fast food; it’s the clear alternative to the king, the clown and the colonel. It’s faster, and chances are it’s healthier than something at a traditional fast food restaurant. I would much rather give my money to a neighbor or an individual than to a gigantic corporation that owns half the world. Maybe it’s naïve of me, but I prefer food made by an identifiable human that’s actually cooking.”  – Chef, author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain talks to the Huffington Post about his love of street food and his new TV show

The following is a short news clip about Venezuela where I was last working.  It’s amazing how quickly street scenes can change.  My heart and prayers go out to my Venezuelan friends and it is my hope that street scenes like this will soon disappear.

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

Caracas Streets

The weekly photo challenge from March 28 was Street Life. If you have read any of my posts about streets you will know how much I love street art and quotes.  Here is a great page that represents a little of both.  Take a look.  I think you will like it.

Street ART (click on the link to look at more of Banksy quotes and street art photos)

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.
And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”
– Banksy (Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall)

A few more Street Life blogs I really liked:

  1. Walkable Streets – Quotes
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life « The Neophyte Photographer
  3. Streets Of San Francisco | this man’s journey
  4. weekly photo challenge: street lifeI used to be indecisive
  5. Prague Street Life
  6. My Hood
  7. Street Life Mosaic
  8. The hole
  9. Call of the street – Royal Enfield

Misty waters of Vietnam

Ailsa’s travel theme this month was Misty.  As mentioned in my lat post the first 6 days of my trip from Hanoi to Vietnam were cold and misty and on other days down-right pouring.  Her theme was great for this weeks posting as I spent many of my days on the water in Vietnam.  Though not all shots portray misty, after the first 6 days it took me nearly a week to dry out.

The following photos were taken on the water and in the water in places all over Vietnam.  The beautiful boat ride part of my tour visited Ha Long Bay in Vietnam which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It was amazing.  There were thousands of little islands that jutted from the water most of which were not inhabited.  At the base of a couple of the bigger islands there were floating villages that housed four fishing villages.

We also visited locations in the Red River Delta, Hoi An, Mai Chau and Bai Tu Long Bay. A very mystical place indeed.  I hope you enjoy.

I enter the world called real as one enters a mist.

Other photos on the water I really loved.  There is probably nothing misty about these.


As well as a couple more:

vietnam person in paddie vietnam rice paddies

vietnam random water favorites vietnam mist on canoe Vietnam crowded waters vietnam boats on water vietnam people on boat vietnam canoe

My favorite final shot of water.


Other misty posts:

Watching the Wheels in Vietnam

There were two Daily Post prompts that got me to thinking about my most recent trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City.  The first prompt, “The Happy Wanderer” was from March 19 and asked about your travel style. The second post was titled, “If you leave” and was about the cross roads one faces when they decide to leave one thing and start another.

These prompts were an excellent segue into the very first portion of my trip.  I do love to have a plan but usually I am perfectly ok with letting it flow once I’m on a trip.  Having said that the first portion of my trip was with a tour company that placed me on a completely different trip than the one I had paid for and I was not a happy wanderer.  I think if the food had been good and it had not been pouring down rain and the pace had been a little slower so I could enjoy the culture and the people more I would have been ok.  However, it was a soup sandwich for the first six days.  I did decide to leave the tour after 6 days and go off on my own but it was a difficult choice.  In the end it ended up being the best decision.  Having said that, as I look back through the photos, I did have some moments of beauty and fun.  I hope you enjoy the biking portion of my trip.

Videos of bikes in Vietnam (not my own)

Driving in Southeast Asian Countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam can be challenging and very dangerous.  When you first go there you can’t imagine that rules even exist.  I have traveled in all 3 countries and I am always blown away by the traffic, the bicycles, the motorcycles and what each of them carry.

The difference between driving in Vietnam and Nepal is that Vietnam has at least evolved to the point they have traffic lights and seem to have more clearly defined rules and when I was there they seemed to mostly follow them.  They also drive on the “right” (correct) side of the road.

Despite the dangers I did decide to take a vespa tour as well as ride a bike during a couple different portions of my tour.  I was obsessed with taking photos of the variety of motor bikes, bicycles and the loads they carry.  Part of the obsession was due to the fact that for the first 6 days I as mostly stuck in the back of a crowded van and could only shoot pictures out the window.  The other part of the obsession is that it is truly amazing what a person can load onto a bike/cycle and stay upright.

vietnam tours

Vespa tour in Ho Chi Min City

My first bicycle trips were outside of Hanoi and I was with a French family and one random French guy.  They were all super nice and though I did not speak French they did their best to help make me a part of their journey.  I sort of miss them.  I also feel very bad about being so stinking cranky during those six days.  As you might remember from many of my last posts, I love to eat and I was NOT being fed enough on this trip.

Another reason I was a bit cranky and eventually did make the decision to leave was because it did happen to be either misty or pouring rain for the first 6 days of the trip.  My bike chain broke off about 3 times and the mud and speed with which we were traveling often made it hard to get some good photos. However, I’m mostly pleased with the results.

vietnam cycling

When I finally made it back to Ho Chi Min City, I took a Vespa tour and so the following are from both the bicycle rides near Hanoi and the Vespa tour in Ho Chi Min City.

Your classic 2 (or more) on a bike seemed to be the most common form of transportation.  The first two are really my favorites.

Man's best friend.

Man’s best friend.

Traffic Police

Traffic Police

vietnam 2 on cycle

Whether it was going to school or just driving around bike soloists seemed to be less common than two or more on a bike.

Don’t get me wrong, I was able to find many great solo rider shots.  Some of these were taking while I was madly hiking at breakneck speeds through rice paddies or on roads and others were taken from the back of the Vespa or the back of the van.

vietnam Solo riders

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There were crowded roads, peaceful roads and both light and heavy loads.  I was fascinated with the variety of wheels and carts and bikes and cycles.

Vietnam crowded with bikes Vietnam big loads


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Vietnam Various loads

Some of my favorites were the bikes with no apparent owners.

Vietnam no owners

Random final shots of watching the wheels in Vietnam.

The bottom line is if time permits, I want to go back and visit Vietnam again.  I would do it outside of a tour group though so I could really get to know some of the amazing people of Vietnam and their culture a little better.

Other posts I liked this month

  1. Bikes in Vietnam
  2. Better photos than my own.
  3. Biking Through Vietnam
  4. Bicycles in Vietnam
  5. Welcome to Vietnam
  6. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
  7. Vietnam
  8. Vietnam the land of suntanned smiles
  9. Day 440: Dalat and Nha Trang
  10. Living Simple Life and the Obstacle | Journeyman
  11. Debt and Mattresses (Daily Prompt) | Thinking Diagonally
  12. Reflections: At A Crossroads… | Mirth and Motivation
  13. Leaving on a Jet Plane . . . | meanderedwanderings
  14. Crossroads | The Land Slide Photography
  15. Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | SIM | ANTICS
  16. Can I like to have an itinerary and still fly by the seat of my pants? | Thus Sings My Soul
  17. A Life Worth Living (Daily Prompt) | Riding Bitch
  18. A Peace Walk | U Be Cute – Follow the child inside of you…