Apr 252017
 

Getting to this rather creepy door was an adventure in itself. I’ve told you about the 8 hour boat ride, with no food, we were tricked into to reach the island.  To get to this spot, we needed to rent a motorbike. It wasn’t long before we realized that our singular mode of transport was running on fumes, but we’d been assured that there was a gas station on the way out of town. We set off, focused on the right side of the road where the gas station was promised. This resulted in a traumatic moment for my pillion passenger who suddenly gasped. She’d had just laid eyes on a dog being butchered, at the market, by the side of the road. Taken aback by this discovery, our concentration on fuel diminished and soon signs of civilization were beginning to die out.

At this point, we decided we’d be better off running out of gas in the town than in the jungle so we turned back. At this point, we found the gas station quickly, on the opposite side of the street from where we were told it would be. Once we were fueled up, we set off into the wilderness and before we knew it, we had spotted the entrance to the cave that housed the Vietnam War era military hospital used by the Viet Cong.

Across the street was an attentive attendant prepared to charge us for using their parking lot. He was a short stout older man, wearing an old military style jacket.  After experience visiting the Mausoleums outside Hue, we were expecting an aggressive pushy greeting. Instead, we were greeted with a smile and a laugh as he asked if we were going to visit the cave. We said yes and he told us we could either pay for parking or come in for a coffee and park for free. This was perfect as I had already spotted the opportunity for delicious Vietnamese Coffee and was going to sit down anyway. We drank our coffee and the same man came over to say we should go up to the cave as a tour-guide was going up and they would turn on the lights. He wanted us to get the chance to see it in the dark, and then get to see it with the lights on.

So, there we were, standing at this creepy metal door, peering into the darkness. We stepped in and waited for a moment for our eyes to adjust. They didn’t, but we pressed on anyway. Soon enough the lights came on, but it was still a pretty creepy place. If you come back tomorrow you can see what it looks like on the inside.

creepy rusty door to concrete bunker in a cave viet cong military hospital on cat ba island

 

Apr 022017
 

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is near the Brandenburg Gate, in the center of Berlin. It’s made up of rectangular concrete columns of varying height set on undulating ground. I tried to take a photo to show what’s it like walking through them.

hallocaust memorial to the murdered jews of europe

Mar 302012
 

Before going to Toronto I wondered how my experience at Niagara Falls would compare to visiting the Victoria Falls in Zambia. It’s definitely different. The falls are equally impressive, but there’s much more concrete around them… and safety rails. There were a few that I desperately wanted to climb over but decided I didn’t feel like getting arrested. The whole place is very cheesy with its tourist attractions, replica CN tower and casino. But I kind of liked it. It was so over the top it was interesting, and I probably would have liked to spend more time there.

There was a lot of luck involved in this shot. The limitations on access to the falls (that safety stuff) was frustrating me as I was searching out an angle on the falls that would allow for a shot a bit out of the ordinary. As part of this attempt I was taking a photo of a section of the falls through a vine-covered doorway. I’m not sure that photo will ever see the light of day as the concept may have been a bit better than the reality. But, as I fiddled with my tripod trying to find the right angle a man I later found out was named Jay started chatting with me. Then, he told me about a somewhat secret viewpoint on the balcony of the hotel restaurant behind me. At this point I realized Jay was wearing chef whites and asked if he worked there. Sure enough he did. 5 minutes later I was stood on a tiny balcony outside the restaurant with this view in front of me. Then, I saw these five puffy white clouds drifting across the sky into a perfect position.

View of Niagara Falls with the buildings of Niagara including the replica CN Tower under a blue sky with five fluffy clouds.