I posted a photo of this girl, selling lanterns during Hoi An’s Full Moon Festival, before on this website. This is another photo, including her father who is mostly obscured by darkness.
Before I was able to take this photo, my friend Shannon and I, following a decision to rent a kayak, had navigated through rough waters and squeezed ourselves through a narrow gap in the rocks to find safe harbor. Following that drama, we got to glide past the floating villages that surround Cat Ba Island.
We came across this fisherman towards the end of our trip and I asked if I could take a photo. He was kind enough to slow down as he pulled his nets to pose!
When we arrived in the Mekong Delta it was late evening. There was an old lady sat in our lobby who offered to arrange a guide for us in the morning. I was a little suspicious of this seemingly too convenient option, particularly as a guy who had been on our bus repeatedly tried to direct us to the wrong hotel just before our arrival.
But, it was late and we knew we needed an early start to get to the markets so we decided to go for it. She didn’t let us down as she escorted us to meet our guide who would take us out for the day. She picked up a load of reeds on the way and spent most of the day making little handicrafts for us as she meandered through the markets and streams that make up the Mekong.
While on a boat tour of the Mekong delta, we stopped for a coffee in a small waterside guesthouse before visiting a rice paper factory. Upon returning to our boat, we came across another boat guide deftly dissecting a pineapple with a big knife. After exchanging what seemed like some cheeky comments with our guide, he finished removing every ounce of skin from the pineapple, while seeming to preserve 99% of the fruit. Then he handed us half, which we gladly accepted.
Wandering through the market in Marrakesh we came across two guys in a shop taking turns working on a bow lathe. It is operated by using one hand to draw the bow back and forth, spinning the wood. And then a hand and a foot were used to carefully move the gouge to carve out intricate little designs. It was mesmerizing and I stood and watched for a while. I’ve taken two photos so you can see a close up of how it works.
My Vietnam trip was capped off by two nights in Sa Pa. We took an overnight bus to get here, which provided me with a “bed” about 1 foot too short for me to be comfortable. The first day we spent there it was so foggy you couldn’t see more than five feet in front of you. As a result we found a small bar that was occupied by other travelers in a similar predicament. We spent the whole day there.
The next day we decided to go for a hike regardless and, thankfully, the fog lifted a bit. We were accompanied on our walk by two red Tsao women and one black Hmong lady. They were members of the ethnic tribal minorities that live in the area.
At the end of our walk we bought a few trinkets from the ladies and I asked to take a picture. One of the red Tsao ladies was happy to pose. Here she is below:
I had a great time in Marrakesh last weekend, including a camel ride in the foothills of the Atlas mountains and a return to the food tour I went on two years ago. The picture below is actually from that tour two years ago. Unfortunately, the bakery was closed this time.
What you see below is the local oven where bread is baked. The locals don’t have ovens in their own homes. Instead, they prepare their meals for the oven and drop them at the bakery. While we were there we saw all sorts going in, most of all rows of sardines. The oven is effectively a huge clay room where wood is burned on one side. The operator spends the whole time in that small space in front of the oven entrance, being handed items to place in the oven.
Hoi An, in Vietnam, is known for its tailors. Everywhere you look there are shops offering custom made suits. I decided I wanted to get a couple and proceeded to struggle to pick a place. Eventually I gave up and walked into the one I was closest to. Before I knew it I was measured up and had picked out a blue pinstripe material and a light grey. I was only in town for two more days so they’d have to work fast.
I went back for a fitting the next morning and once I was marked up for further adjustments I went to the beach. I returned the next night for the final fitting. There were still a couple of issues so the girl in the store grabbed me by the hand and guided me to a shop full of sewing machines.
There, I met the tailor who quickly marked the suit up in chalk and set to work. While I waited for him to finish I asked one of his assistants if I could take a picture of him working. He agreed and here’s the result.
The morning after the full moon festival things had quietened down quite a lot in Hoi An. We wandered from the Japanese bridge to the market where we had a coffee while a shop owner showed us absolutely everything she had for sale. She must have gone through 20 items ranging from t-shirts to spices before she pulled out a small jar of tiger balm and had hit the nail o the head. I’d pulled a muscle in my back the day before so was quick to make a purchase.
On our wander back I saw this woman leaving the market, with boats moored behind her at the end of the street, and snapped a quick picture with a long lens. The women in Vietnam keep themselves out of the sun as much as possible to avoid a tan. That’s why you’ll often see them covered up with long sleeves and gloves, despite the heat.