Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vietnam • Beautiful details

Looking back to our Northern Vietnam trip, I can recall seeing images of beauty not just in the landscapes and seascapes of Hanoi, Halong and Sapa. Rather, it's seeing it in the finer details. These ref magnets sold in the old quarters are simply eye-candies I couldn't refuse so I brought home a pair. They now sit (or stick?) to my refrigerator along with magnets from Camiguin, Cebu, and other places I've been to watching over the traffic of junk food that comes in and out of my refrigerator, hahaha.

Venturing to Cat Ba in the Sapa Valley, we can't help but notice the weathered wooden roof of farm structures. The weathering seems induced by a masterful stroke of photoshop but is in fact, an artwork done by nature, the patina deftly painted by the elements. the weeds growing in the cracks add a splash of green that even the overcast conditions cannot diminish.

Landing and flying from Hanoi, dropping by Hoan Kiem Lake is simply too much of a temptation to pass up. it was rainy during our trip but one makes do with what the fickle weather gives.

In this case, what caught my eye was the architecture of the temple within the lake. It is in itself interesting, showing a strong design tradition that is majestic from the time it was constructed up to today. Even set against a less-than blue sky, the detail just jump out, begging to be recorded for posterity.

Visiting the UNESCO Heritage Site of Halong was tops in our itinerary though some places included in the itinerary seem to be tourist traps.  Exploring what our guide calls the Magical Cave along Halong Bay, one can't help but be mesmerized by the otherworldly-effect of the lighting on the cave walls. Some seem simply outlandish, gaudy and overly-done but some details such as the ones in the image are just too eye-catching not to notice. The cave itself seems to be a tourist trap but good thing, details like these make it at least worth our while.
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