Sede Vacante

The light is on but no one is home.

Archive for Ho Chi Minh

A few beautiful days


The past few weeks have been utterly miserable for me.  I won’t get into the details of why; suffice to say that I’m definitely not happy with what is going on.  I feel broken and incomplete, and altogether disgusted with everything.

Just as things got almost unbearable, I got a few beautiful days.  Like a lover teasing me mercilessly, she gave me a kiss right before I lost my mind.

Anyway, a few photos of my beautiful days on the next page.

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I was there: helmet day 2007.


Some day, while talking to friends over cà phê sữa đá, a teenager in Viet Nam will look at his shiny motorbike helmet and marvel at the thought that there was a time when no one had to wear them. He’d imagine a long bygone era when beautiful long hair would flutter in the wind, and every now and then you’d see a bright crimson streak with bits of that hair and brain and think to yourself: how poetic it is when placed against the dull gray of the pavement.

Lookit all the helmets!

Today is helmet day. From this day forward all passengers and operators of open-air motor-driven vehicles are required to wear helmets. I may have missed the fall of the berlin wall, and the first (supposedly) democratic elections in Iraq. But I was in Viet Nam on helmet day, 15 December 2007. Let the world know.

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Have camera will take longer walks… preferably in Ha Noi


Ok, the biggest mistake I made for this trip to Vietnam was to not take a camera. It was one of those rush and tumble deals. I got home on a Monday night knowing I had to fly back on Tuesday. I knew it was going to be another long haul so I packed quite a bit of stuff. By the end of it, I just didn’t feel like packing another 12lbs. of camera equipment. Bad move.

I really didn’t think much of it. The truth is Ho Chi Minh City is a lot like Manila. So much so that there’s not really much to photograph which is of interest to me. Of course there’s the occasional traffic jam with about a thousand motorbikes crammed in an intersection. Or the occasional appliance center delivery boy with a two-door freezer ref duplex on his motorbike. And did I mention that Vietnamese women have the most delightfully long and straight hair I’ve ever seen? Just like my wife’s I mean. Hi Hon!

The regret hit me when I went to Hanoi (or Ha Noi, as the locals spell it). Hanoi is an utterly beautiful city. In my first five minutes there, driving around Hoan Kiem Lake, it reminded me of a slightly dirtier and much warmer Lake Como in Italy. I don’t particularly like French people in general (well… Parisians to be exact); but I have to hand it to them, they know how to design a city.

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