hanoi

30 December, 2013 § Leave a comment

hanoi by night

spent about a week wandering the streets of hanoi. never knew it was over a millennium old.  coming from a place with less than 50 years of independence, it was a sobering experience to arrive in a city like this.

promenade by Hoàn Kiếm lake

the scale of the city, the hanoi way, is just right. it is not a city laid out in grids; with every other turn, it draws you inwards only to guide you outwards to the other places where life happens.  there is a sense of connectedness; time past, time present.

street crossing

it is a city that is testament to the rich and vast culture of the vietnamese people and the sophisticated urban planning introduced by the french.

once the eye grew accustomed to the riot of colours that mark most of the buildings, the colonial villas were eye-openers.

villa near ho chih minh mausoleum

art deco

each day, i would look forward to the surprises which the city held.

quaint cafes which present, to those who successfully navigate through the dingy alleyways that hide their secret, a breathtaking view of the city.

cafe pho co

view of Hoàn Kiếm lake from cafe pho co

a taste of modern french.

La Badiane 10 Nam Ngu street, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam

and a taste of the old world at an eatery patronised by Catherine Deneuve.  the local flour had a particularly coarse and dry texture.  the meringue of a sticky gooey variety.  still, it was nice to savour the treats in a quiet of a idle morning, with just the right amount of sunlight from the street, and in an unadorned space from a different time.

Kinh Do Cafe 252 Hang Bong, Hoàn Kiếm

croissant; tarte au citron

there was the hanoi of old.

temple of literature

one pillar pagoda

the quiet spaces to escape the city.

hanoi botanic gardens

but what i particularly enjoyed was the opportunity to make pictures of what one experiences walking through the city. i hope you’ve enjoyed them too.

here’s to more adventures in the new year.

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in search of stillness

1 September, 2013 § Leave a comment

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I was feeling apprehensive about the company getaway at a foreign island that required me to spend 3 days with more than 100 humans. Not so much because I could not handle them, but because they might feel uncomfortable by my ability to tune the world (and them) out. In other words, I was concerned that they might not be able to handle silence.

I too find silence a challenge. The world in my head is never silent; awash with colour and rhythm and sounds, and if I am less fortunate, noise. It is a bit of a double-edged situation – I am at once porous and permeable to everything around me (for that is the aspect of me that perceives everything indiscriminately); at once needing to exert a countervailing force to keep noise on the outside. The stronger the perceptive force, the stronger the resistance required.

Being around people is tiring. I cannot stop taking in information. Too much stimulus. I end up feeling desperate for stillness.

There was a time I thought that if I could find silence I would find stillness, but it all actually works the other way. When a moment of stillness finds me, the world and all its noise falls away (of its own accord requiring no effort whatsoever). There is in that space only me and that which has captured my gaze completely.

Stillness happens sometimes when we are face-to-face with beauty. Beauty that is at once humanly indescribable and devastatingly temporal; and this confluence silences the noise inside in an instance, slows all bodily and cognitive processes to its minimum; places you inside this infinite space of connectedness. Takes your breath away.

Ever so fortunate that I have nature for company no matter where I am, I have two special souvenirs from the trip – a glorious sunset and my very first upside down rainbow.

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Away

14 July, 2013 § Leave a comment

image

And so the new journey has begun.

After 2 weeks, it remains unclear whether the journey is trying to keep up with me or if I am in a whirl trying to make sense of it.

Increasingly I clamour to be alone, to have only my thoughts for company. This neurosis has returned stronger than before. It uses the force of will, made stronger with time, to reconfigure the external environment and establish that one-way mirror through which I gaze upon the world.

I am changed. I have to figure out what this means.

Perhaps that is why Fromm has found his way to me.

Finding The Line of Beauty

3 February, 2013 § Leave a comment

On the bus ride to work one morning, I watched Benjamin Zander speak of music and its power to move the things within us.

He spoke of the impulse; how we start out feeling those impulses in stops and starts, gradually linking them together and finally feeling it as one grand impulse.

This is easier to understand as a wind player. The impulse can only last as long as the breath is sustained. The longer we can sustain, the broader the phase we can give to the music. The broader the phrase, the greater the interpretative possibilities and subtleties.

We search always for that line of beauty. I used to think beauty is much like happiness, existing in a moment. The thing is, beauty really is context and what meaning that context and confluence brings to you at a personal level. It also explains why there are people who are not moved by the majesty of mountains or the mystery of an orchid.

Sometimes, the beauty that comes to us expresses itself, as it would, as a long line – makes us hold our breath, captures our vision entirely.

Ko Samui was, as a tourist destination, not my kind of place. A huge beach party venue for Caucasians. The Asian tourist being a minority. Sadly, most of the beaches were polluted with human waste. The cleaner beaches were at Mae Nam.

Still, going away for awhile was good for me. It helped me to start writing again.

Thai food was fabulous as always. The spices made everything pop and tingle on your tongue.

My greatest delight was one shot that I think is a keeper.

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A Seoul Summer

8 July, 2012 § Leave a comment

Just spent a week traveling around South Korea.  An amazing and vibrant country.

Gyeongbokgung

It was wonderful to leave the mundanity of routine behind for awhile and to soak in the riot of colours, textures, flavours, sounds and sights of an unfamiliar place.

The historical architecture was spectacular – the design all at once familiar yet new.  Blends that I was unaccustomed to.

We took a short trip to the island of Jeju, which some may know of as the place which hosted the World Cup or others may remember for its breathtaking landscape.

Lighthouse at Seopjikoji

But what left me spellbound were the various rock and lava formations.  They were splendid.

Manjang-gul Lava Tube

 

Daepo Coast

 

sun and shadows

9 April, 2011 § Leave a comment

sun and shadows by sputnik00
sun and shadows, a photo by sputnik00 on Flickr.

westminster abbey

9 April, 2011 § Leave a comment

westminster abbey by sputnik00
westminster abbey, a photo by sputnik00 on Flickr.

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