Jan 142015
 

I took this photo looking down at Botafogo’s busy streets from my hotel balcony one night. I had to wait a while for Christ the Redeemer to show himself from behind the clouds.

I won’t be posting for just over a week as I’m going to London for meetings. First though, I’ve tacked on a long weekend to Marrakesh and will be making a return to Amsterdam once the meetings are finished. It’ll be my first time wandering around Amsterdam’s canals in winter.

view of christ the redeemer lit up at night from an elevated viewpoint in botafogo, Brazil

Jan 112015
 

A wander through the market always yields interesting sights, such as this lady selling a huge pile of yellow flowers.

On this day we went in search of what our guide book described as a local delicacy, tiny preserved tangerines. We were supposed to find them in amongst all the woven baskets inside the market building. We wandered through without having much luck. We were being mobbed by locals asking what we were looking for, making it difficult to scan the stalls for the little delights. Eventually, Shannon decided to try to explain what we were after. She was less than successful in this endeavor, but it took the attention off me and I was able to scan a stall carefully. Then, I saw a plastic jar, tucked in amongst everything else, full of gooey little orange spheres. I knew I had the right thing when I noticed the picture of tangerines on the label.

The lady gestured that I should open the jar. Upon doing that, I was hit by a strong citrus smell. They smelled delicious and I was instructed to taste one. At this point, things took a turn for the worse. They were horrible, bitter, chewy things smothered in a sickeningly sweet gloop. After the ladies hospitality we wanted to buy something, but we did not want a jar of those tangerines! Eventually, we remembered some delicious coconut cracker things we’d wanted to buy. The lady didn’t have any but quickly ran off somewhere, returning with a whole case. They became our long distance bus journey snack of choice.

flower lady in conical hat in hoi an vietnam

 

Jan 102015
 

This is a giant replica of one of the emperor’s seals. It’s on display in the Forbidden Purple City in Hue. They had a number of regular sized replicas on display in a side room. I didn’t feel as compelled to photograph them.

giant replica of the emperors golden seal on display in the forbidden purple city

 

Jan 092015
 

It was a treacherous walk on a rainy afternoon to Nuoc Moc’s swimming hole, but our stomachs were full. We’d arrived at the nature walk of Nuoc Moc, between the Dark Cave and Paradise Cave, in the stunning Karst mountains of Phong Nha Ke Bang, to discover a typically gracious Vietnamese woman who offered us lunch. We agreed and were treated to a plate of steamed broken rice topped with fried chicken, tofu, delicious string beans, and a fried egg. It’s a simple meal, but after liberal application of soy sauce and chili, it was delicious.

With full stomach’s, we accepted that the light drizzle was not going to let up. We donned our rain gear, waterproofed our bags and set off to visit the Nuoc Moc swimming hole. To get there, you have to cross a number of fast flowing rivers via rickety bamboo bridges like the one you can see below. The rain made them slippery, but they seemed sturdy enough that if you wound up in the water it would be entirely due to operator error.

On the way back I asked my travel buddy to take a picture as I carried my gear across. She walked up to where I stood on the bridge to take my Iphone, photo mode ready. However, you’ll notice there’s no picture of me tentatively carrying my gear across a slippery, bamboo bridge. That’s because, when she reached me, the bridge decided to drop what felt like meters, but was probably more like inches. This warning was well heeded and, after freezing in shock briefly,  we removed ourselves from the structure at great haste.

bamboo bridge over rushing blue river at nuoc moc in phong nha vietnam

 

Jan 072015
 

I didn’t manage to take a lot of pictures while I was in Brazil as there was a pretty sizable distraction on the go… the World Cup.

My Dad and I did make the trip up Sugarloaf Mountain though and I managed to take the following picture, which I’m very happy with. I’ll probably be getting it printed. If you look closely at Copacabana beach, the furthest left, you can see the FIFA Fanzone set up on the sand. Admittedly, you’d probably have to know what you’re looking for to find it.

view from rio's sugarloaf mountain including botafogo and copacabana beaches, christ the redeemer, and a cable car

Jan 042015
 

I’ve never been good at photographing people in my travels so made a conscious effort to do this more in Vietnam. When I saw this girl in Hoi An I had to push the limits of my camera to get this picture.

She’s selling lanterns for people to float down the river during Hoi An’s full moon festival. We didn’t have a set plan for most of our journey around Vietnam, but made sure we were going to be in Hoi An for the festival. Funnily, I think I preferred the place when the festival wasn’t on but it’s definitely something worth seeing. They turn off all of the electric lights in the city so the only light available is from lanterns strung up around the streets. There are loads of people around, tourists mixing in with the various local vendors. There’s so much going on that as you approach the water it’s a bit disorienting at first. Lanterns are thrust in front of you in the hope you’ll buy and your eyes struggle to switch between the intensely bright flames and the dark city streets. Eventually though, you make your way to the river where everything calms down and you can watch the lanterns, released from the bridge, slowly drift away.

girl selling lanterns at Hoi An, Vietnam full moon festival with lanterns and water in background

Jan 032015
 

So I mentioned that I’d been to Vietnam last year but didn’t say much more about it. It was an amazing trip and I already want to go back. We started our trip down South in Ho Chi Minh City (formally, and still to some extent, Saigon). From there we spent a couple of nights in the Mekong Delta, before heading North towards Hanoi. On the way there we stopped off in Hoi An for the full moon festival, Hue for the imperial city, and Phong Nha for the caves and national park. Up in the North we split our time between Hanoi, Cat Ba Island and Sa Pa. As a result, I have a lot of photos to get through and share with you.

Today’s photo is from the Purple Forbidden City, which is located inside the imperial city in Hue. It’s a huge complex modeled on the Chinese Forbidden City.

panorama view of the gardens and dragon statues of the forbidden purple city in Hue, Vietnam.

Jan 012015
 

Happy New Year everyone. So, last year’s attempt to post a photo every day fell flat about half way through. I didn’t do a lot of traveling in early 2014, and when I did it was because I got to go to the World Cup in Brazil. There was too much distraction at that time for me to take a lot of pictures!

In November I finally got to set foot in Asia with a three week holiday in Vietnam. I now have a fairly sizable stock of photos to show you!

This first one is of Hoi An, an ancient trading port on Vietnam’s coast, known for the abundance of tailors and original French colonial architecture.

Night time photo of Hoi An, Vietnam with lights reflecting in the water and women on boats.

 

May 152014
 

It was a cloudy day, but I thought I could still manage an interesting shot of the equestrian statue of Cosimo de Medici. It’s in the Piazza della Signora in Florence, Italy. I liked the idea of making the horse the focus of the image.

equestrian statue in florence italy

May 122014
 

This is the first Mayan ruin I ever encountered. It came after a heat stroke inducing trek up a slippery hill wearing flip-flops. When I got there, I wasn’t particularly impressed. Fortunately, the next day, Tikal exceeded all expectations.

I didn’t have much intention of sharing this photo, but as I’m really far behind on my daily posts and struggling with a laptop that likes to crash just as I finish processing a new photo I thought I’d quickly upload this one.