Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vietnam: Life at Street Level

I don't proclaim to be a photojournalist or street photographer, but while we were in Vietnam, I felt compelled to capture the world in this fashion. Armed with the subtle Sony RX100, I roamed around Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh and fired off 'no look, shot from the hip' candids of people as they went about their daily business. While the country's economy is rapidly developing, much of daily life in Vietnam is still conducted at street level. I hope that when you see these photos, you get a sense of the street life there, and perhaps may cause you to become interested in visiting this fascinating part of the world.

Life at Street Level

Life at Street Level

Life at Street Level

Life at Street Level

Life at Street Level

Hanoi Life in the Streets

Life at Street Level

Life at Street Level

Life at Street Level

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A weekend of Snowshoes and Beer

Every time Kris and Nicole visit, we try to hit the mountains, and then do some drinking. This weekend was no exception as we went snowshoeing in to Chester Lake for the day, and then spent the evening drinking and eating 'Big Ass Burgers' at the brand new pub, Roosevelt on 17th Ave, followed by more bevies at Beer Revolution. Here's a hint - don't order the Mikkeler 1000 IBU Pale Ale unless you want to taste hops for the next week.

Snowshoes and Beer-8

Snowshoes and Beer-9

Snowshoes and Beer-2

Snowshoes and Beer-3

Snowshoes and Beer-4

Snowshoes and Beer-5

Snowshoes and Beer-2-2

Snowshoes and Beer-6

Snowshoes and Beer-10

Snowshoes and Beer-11

Snowshoes and Beer-13

Snowshoes and Beer-14

Snowshoes and Beer-15

Snowshoes and Beer-17

Snowshoes and Beer-16

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mariana, CNY, and a Head On Chicken (?!)

Chinese New Year is a good way to learn about inflation. When we were kids, we would collect between $2 and $5/ red pocket in lucky money from our elders. That seemed like so much money then. Nowadays, even despite being 'all grown up', we're still collecting red pockets from our aunts, uncles, and other relatives, but the pockets are stuffed with $20's and $50s. That's like 1000% inflation over the past couple decades.

Anyways, this is just a quick photo dump from this past weekend, when my niece and bro came down and joined in the lucky money collecting craze.

CNY - Mariana-11

CNY - Mariana-10

CNY - Mariana

CNY - Mariana-4

CNY - Mariana-5

CNY - Mariana-3

CNY - Mariana-2

CNY - Mariana-12

CNY - Mariana-7

CNY - Mariana-6

And then of course, I have to include a random photo of a cooked chicken. It's CNY, and you can't celebrate this holiday without at least one boiled, head on chicken. Hey, I didn't make the rules.

CNY - Mariana-8

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Visit to Ha Long Bay

During our time in Vietnam, we spent 3 days cruising the incredible turquoise waters of Ha Long Bay, and were consistently awed by the thousands of Karst Limestone rock formations majestically jutting from the sea. And while this was mostly relaxing, we also had a chance to visit a floating fishing village hidden in a cluster of these rock formations, which provided shelter from the otherwise harsh elements of the sea (typhoons, etc). We were taken from our Junk to the village by women rowing bamboo boats (they had some pretty badass rowing skills), and met with the chief to learn about day to day life in the village itself. It was a pretty humbling experience to see a small village of 200 people living their lives entirely on the water, fishing as a way of life. They had one school, but did not have any current classes for the children as the teacher was a volunteer from the mainland and had left because she had a baby. At the end of our visit, we were offered some homebrewed herbal rice wine (photo below), which was surprisingly smooth and flavourful. They lived relatively simple lives, and certainly didn't enjoy any of the excesses that we take for granted. While I don't think I could live like they did, I did also recognize that our lives could do with a bit more simplicity, and hopefully I will carry that thought with me the next time I'm tempted to buy more crap to clutter up our lives with.

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chinese New Year - The Year of the Snake

It's Chinese New Year this weekend, so take note - if you didn't know this and were going to attempt to get into a place for dim sum or a proper Chinese dinner (ie: NOT Yang's Chinese Western Kitchen & Pizza, or any of that ilk serving Lemon Chicken and Egg Rolls), be prepared to wait a long time. And when you do finally make it through the gauntlet of a million other Chinese folks also trying to get in for a dinner, be prepared for some of the WORST service of the year, and the GRUMPIEST Grumpy McGrumperson servers you'll encounter in your life due to the high volume and stress from the season. You've been warned.

Okay, now having said that, Chinese New Year is also a time to reflect back on the year that was, and look forward to the opportunities of the coming one. The year of the Dragon was an awesome adventure for Anita and I, in which we somehow managed to visit Montreal, Vancouver, Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Korea in the span of 9 months. But while we seemingly squandered our earnings on travel, we did also manage to put away for a rainy day, and feel very optimistic about what the future holds, despite the uncertainty in the world economy. Anita continued her studies in Japanese, and I took up teaching with a photography school. We also both started running in the summer (to slim down from all the good food we ate on our travels), but also spent many an hour with friends at beer halls sampling the recent explosion in craft beer culture. And then of course, we capped off the year celebrating Christmas and Non-Chinese New Year together with my brother and parents (which is somewhat of a rarity given that my folks live half a world away).

I'm not one to make resolutions, but I will set some goals for this coming year, The Year of the Snake, and see where I land on them when we do this again next year:

-Spend more time with friends, and reconnect with ones I've lost touch with
-Catch more live concerts
-Shoot a ton more film
-Develop B&W film at home (success!)
-Summit at least 5 peaks
-Visit South America for the first time
-Eat healthy, cut out junk food
-Donate more time and money
-Curse less, laugh more, and most importantly:
-Be as good a husband as Anita is a wife (sappy, I know).

I want to wish you all good health, peace and prosperity in the Year of the Snake. Gong Hei Fat Choi, friends!

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year-4

Chinese New Year-3

Chinese New Year-2

CNY - The Dragon