Echoes





A series of photographs inspired by the lovely music of France-based band, Fragments side project of Sylvain Texier of The Last Morning SoundtrackEchoes is available to download for free on Bandcamp

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Every day

       

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Every day by David Levithan is so sweet, so heartbreakingly beautiful and just so, so perfect. A's words pierced me like a sharp dagger cutting through my skin. The pain (the bittersweet feeling) lingered far longer than I expected.  It's just like The Fault in Our Stars all over again. 

I want to write a decent review but I fear my words will not good enough to do this book justice so I'll just leave you two of my photographs to make up for the unuttered words/emotions this book gave me.

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Việt Nam


I think may have grown a huge liking for Hà Nội and it's neighboring provinces even though I've only been there for hardly a week.  The Vietnamese countryside was undoubtedly one of my favorites as somehow, it gave me that impression that I am nowhere near stereotype Southeast Asia. 


While on a bus back from a canoe ride after our whole day trip in Chùa Hương, I was struggling to fight my sleepiness, when I saw this scene outside my window: a couple of school girls with their satchels tightly fixed on their skinny backs, race with their vintage bikes. Their hair flying onto different directions and the light seeping from the trees hit on it every chance it gets. It was very picturesque as the backdrop for this setting were the mountain ranges of the neighboring mountains in Chùa Hương lining up alternately. The farthest ones seem to only be like faded traces of irregularly shaped triangles drenched in the afternoon sunlight. The view was lulling me to sleep but I tried to brush the idea of slumbering given this moment may be gone in a heartbeat. I may have to pass up on other views but certainly not this one. 
My friend uttered "this feels like a dream" from the seat beside me.  I had been staring through my window for a time and words were failing me so I just simply nodded in reply.  It didnt take long before I doze off. 



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1st picture: Trees on the roadside on our way to Vịnh Hạ Long
2: Street in Hà Nội where there is a long strip of wall with all sorts of art painted on concrete walls. And that bridge is insanely cool.
3. Locals on a canoe passing by us.
4. Bridge with a tall tower that reminded me of Japan for some reason
5. Cemetery on the countryside
6. While on a cable car, I saw a house built on the side of the mountain.
7. View of Vịnh Hạ Long aboard our cruise that used to be a chinese junk ship
8. View of Vịnh Hạ Long on top of a mountain that we had to painfully climb. Extremely steep way up that got my feet eternally shaking after I reached the top. Our newfound friend from Germany asked if we are smokers because we somehow seem like one while climbing-- panting and catching for breath on every step.
9. Jewish friend we made (im bad at remembering names). She and her boyfriend were backpacking through Indochina. A lot of the people we were with on the ship were backpackers and we were the only ones who happen to stay in Vietnam for such a short time.
10. At the Oyster farm. One place we stopped for a visit while we were on a cruise.
11. Another view of Vịnh Hạ Long
12. Pretty girl I spotted coming down the junk boat and our tour guide behind her
13. Locals' houses. According to our tour guide, there were only about 1,000+ inhabitants there. Lovely.

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These pictures were all taken while we were in transit either on a bus, on a taxi ,on a canoe,on a cable car, or aboard a junk ship. What I recorded in pictures were probably only about 50% of the beautiful sights we witnessed. I, for one were too caught up-- too stunned often-- to click the shutter. I just committed the rest to memory.

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Việt Nam ii


If I ever get back to Hà Nội or any cities in Vietnam again, I must add in my itinerary to spend a whole day sitting in a shaded corner by the road and just take countless pictures of Vietnamese people riding their bicycles and motorbikes on the streets. It's so entertaining to watch them pass by.
 My favorite area to people watch would definitely have to be in the Old Quarter. I don't think I'll ever get bored there. Ever. Like that scene on the 3rd picture, for example. Who else do you know, genius enough to put and arrange tall plants at the back of their motorbikes? Seriously


I wish to be friends with those two ladies walking by Hồ Hoàn Kiếm.


Hand sewn wall arts patterned from a variety of artworks (photographs, paintings etc) done by disabled Vietnamese citizens. The government gives jobs to them and even recognize them by displaying their names and pictures on their finished wall art. 

I bought one artwork with little knowledge that I could have bought it in Old Quarter for less than half the price I paid for.
 FYI: Don't give in to the cuteness of most Vietnamese salesmen. 


Possibly the funniest moment of our entire first day would have to be this scene. We saw this barber shop on the corner outside Temple of Literature while me and my friends were walking and of course, we had to take a few shots. The barber noticed us endlessly pressing the shutter button and he immediately pulled this sheet of white cardboard in the corner of his bag. The sign read "Photo $1". 
You know what happened next. 


While other tourists were busy taking pictures of the insides of the Temple of Literature, I was busy taking pictures of these little figurines atop some potted plant.


While on the canoe on our way back from Chùa Hương, I overheard these people exchanging words I cannot comprehend. The one rowing must have been their mom and she must have been angry to these three boys, that or she just talks in full volume. I could care less about what they were talking/arguing about though. What struck me was, why did they let that poor woman row a canoe that is an hour and a half ride long?! And then I looked back and I remembered that the rower of ours was also a woman and there were about 6 of us. 3 asians and 3 europeans twice the 3 boys' weight. LOL


When I'm able to snap moments like these, I could no longer care if the photo is poorly exposed. 


Cable car ride on our way to Chùa Hương.
 We were with a Singaporean couple and a lovely lady from Argentina, probably in her 50s, who possibly has collected a million stamps on her passport. She constantly travels and has been to countless places we can only dream of. While inside the cable car, my friends were discussing about this certain place that I didn't even know about. She overheard the conversation and uttered "Oh yes, that's in Petra, Jordan. I've been there and it's so beautiful". When we asked if she's married she said with a smile "Yes, but my husband is in Argentina, taking care of our children. He is set to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro after I get back to have my turn in babysitting." 

Boy, I wish to be like her when I'm in my 50s.


Fancy little cave that triggered my claustrophobia in some areas.


Lovely Vietnamese girl, age 12 who approached me and asked how old I am without even asking what my name is. Such a cute way to start a conversation that ended only after an exchange of two rather short questions because she can no longer understand anything longer than one sentence in English. 


Ha Long Bay goodness. 
I am quite disappointed with the rest of my photos of this place. I might have passed some of my films of them again under airport x-rays before that I haven't noted about. Le sigh.


Me trying to finish a roll whilst inside the cabin. 
Taken by fellow film photographer friend, Stann

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I'm ever so happy to have met so many wonderful people along the way.  Though, there were times were I felt lethargic and I opted to sleep rather than to mingle. 
 I'd have to say that It was an overall lovely 4 days but it would have been way lovelier if we stayed longer. I enjoyed it nevertheless :)

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