Sunday, December 26, 2010

Vietnam and Laos pics

With some relatively high-speed Internet access at the Excelso Coffee cafe inside Jogja's Mal Marlioboro, it's time to get some pics posted. Forthwith ...

On our first day in Luang Prabang, Jenn and I met the 12-year-old girl on the right selling trinkets on the street. We didn't buy anything but did take her up on an offer to play tour guide to a nearby Buddhist temple for the afternoon. I shot this image on the boat ride to the temple landing. The girl's father piloted the boat.

Here's the temple, or rather the backside of it. The kid is a friend of our tour guide's and he came along for the ride.

This is the main temple inside the national museum campus in Luang Prabang. Significantly more gilded than the one we visited with the grade-school guides.

While in Hanoi, Jenn and I stayed in the Old Quarter, a place of narrow lanes and great human density. I snapped this shot outside our hotel two days before my passport was stolen.

This one really belongs in the nautical album but here Jenn gets a lesson on net-casting from the Hoi An fisherman. Our tour boat driver pulled right up to the guy's little wooden fishing boat and, on cue, the fisherman hopped aboard and began teaching us how to toss the monofilament net. The net is closed on one end and closes in the water around a series of lead weights attached to the open end. I never saw the guy pull up any fish and am unsure how successfully the net works, although he showed us a small bucket of fish about the size of chubs that was stashed on his little skiff.

In Hanoi, you can buy doughnut balls from female street vendors. Here, Jenn captures the scene when one such vendor sells me a couple doughnuts but then screws up the change. She is convinced I have shorted her some money and is crying and grabbing at me. She's the one with the ponytail with her back to the camera. The crowd is alternately shouting at me and then her: At me, to give her the money; at her, for being a fool. One woman on the scene slapped my vendor on the forehead and then turned to bark at me, motioning for me to remove my wallet. This loud and lengthy exchange drew a crowd of onlookers down the block and even stopped a couple cars passing by. The vendor grew increasingly panicked and yanked at my sleeve and tried to grab my wallet from my pants pocket. I finally walked away and, in the quiet of a nearby store, figured out that she'd given me too much change for the order--which I'd handed back before walking away. I found her in the street, talking calmly on a cell phone, and returned her money. She didn't look up from under her cone hat but took the cash and tucked it into her shirt.

A more successful doughnut purchase. After all that, they weren't very good. Jenn spit hers out.

Two very popular Luang Prabang sights: Monks and dogs.

Visitors to Luang Prabang will inevitably find themselves shopping for textiles. Silk, cotton, even wool, Laotian weavers churn out table covering, wall hangings, shawls, scarves, throws and yards upon yards of unfinished cloth. Here a woman works her loom in a textile village near Luang Prabang.

The woman with her arm around me told me to sit for this picture and then to buy some bananas. I did both. This in Hoi An.

A nighttime view of the pedestrian bridge in Hoi An.

Wise turtles at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.

Wise teacher at the Temple of Literature.

Water puppets in Hanoi. More fun than leather puppets in Jogja.