And thus we have reached Vietnam, dear travellers. Having already been to righteous ‘Nam before, I was excited to return: to see new cities, to explore new sites, and to eat so much soup that my belly grows distended, pops, and floods a low-rent hostel room with local beef and vermicelli. We hoofed around the north, the south, and that middle part, and all of it was very pretty. When I returned to Canada, I learned how to use my copy of photoshop starting with these very pictures! (Interesting sidenote: the main photo my friend used to teach me photoshop is not included here. We chose this photo because it included a pony, and also an enormous pony boner which she spent careful time removing and replacing with with sky or grass or whatever was behind the horse. Scrubbing the photo of that equine erection helped to illustrate the majority of the tools I wanted to learn how to use anyway. This file is still saved on my computer, under the filename “horsedong.jpg”. Don’t ever use my computer.)
What was I talking about? Oh. Vietnam sure is great!
We fly in from Vientiane on the murky promise of a pre-arranged visa, and we stumble through the airport hoping we will not be deported. We are not deported! In fact we are set loose in glorious Hanoi, a city where people sure do like to get married. Also sometimes dogs ride on bikes. These two things are likely unrelated.
Within a few days, our sights were set on Halong Bay. This was on each of our travel bucket lists, a sort of white whale of travel musts, something we had each come close to seeing previously on other trips but hadn’t yet gotten to with our own eyeballs. Every hotel and travel agent in Hanoi had numerous glossy, immaculate pictures assuring us how beautiful and wonderful and astounding Halong Bay was. They were correct.
After gorging on beauty and also heinous cheap Vietnamese vodka, we headed to central Vietnam for quality beach and thing doin’. Faith and Ty would leave me to head off to Cambodia (my passport was completely full, more on that in another post), and I would be left to walk through all of Hue and Hoi An alone, with nothing to console myself but all the pretty stuff and some local cuisine I liked to think of as an open-face wonton tacos.
Halt! We must now investigate the ruined citadel of Hue in all it’s crazy Narnianess. Tours of the city allotted approximately 1 hour for quality citadel wanderin’, to which I bit my thumb. I took a day and walked the citadel myself and spent a good 4 hours breaking in to every various bizarre nook, cranny, and overgrown hidden pathway through a wardrobe. (For the record, the pony of horsedong fame was found here, grazing in an enormous open field between ruined pagodas.)
I did eventually cave and enjoy an arranged trip around Hue, but mostly because it was the only way I could feasibly arrange transport to all the cool sounding tombs outside of town without paying a billion đồng.
Hoi An was pretty cool, but I mostly got distracted from quality picture takin’ because I was too busy getting harassed to buy custom-made shoes. Also, because of wonton tacos. The city was quaint and gorgeous and really pleasant to just wander around like a dummy, and thus the only worthwhile shot to survive my vicious memory card culling was yet another wedding shot in front of the Japanese covered bridge.
Also, around this time my lens began to take on some nasty humidity and condensation, and thus many of my photos became a hazy mess! I was crushed to discover this one morning as I rode into the Vietnamese countryside to explore an ancient Hindu ruin (if you knew me in the real life, friends, you would know that “ancient Hindu ruin in Vietnamese countryside” is basically everything I have ever wanted). Here’s one shot that was moderately improved by the weird gauzy destruction wrought upon my fancy camera.
And thus we have Vietnam. My time in the south was short, as I have already taken pictures there before, and also most of my time in HCMC was absorbed in trying to find worthwhile English language books. If you still hunger for yet more photographic gems of Vietnam and beyond, maybe think about checking out my Flickr, which you were going to do anyways, don’t worry, I know.