Sunday, January 29, 2017

Year of the Rooster

In light of the recent xenophobic measures passed down in the US to bar refugees, I just wanted to remind everyone of what being a refugee actually means. It's making the tough decision to flee your homeland, to an uncertain future in a country that you may not know much about, where you will have to work twice as hard to learn a foreign language, struggling to find a decent paying job to support your family, while facing stigma and systemic racism towards your culture in a world that is increasingly distrustful of you simply because you are different than them. You will work desperately to integrate into your new culture while trying to silently maintain a sense of your own. And in spite of this adversity, you will do it whole heartedly because it is your only escape from the persecution and/or war torn ravages of your birthplace, so that your children may have the opportunity to flourish as you did not. It isn't easy being a refugee. Let's not make it any harder for them than it already is.

If you count me among your friends, then you don't need me to remind you that I am only here because of the way the world welcomed refugees when my parents fled their home in the 70's. Let's do our part and ensure future stories like mine continue to be written.

I hate to leave you on such a lecturey note, so instead will wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year! Peace, prosperity, and good health to you all! Below are some photos of random Buddhist and Taoist temples I've visited over the years.

Lunar New Year-1
Vendors hawk Lunar New Year decorations in Ho Chi Minh city.

Lunar New Year-4
The Summer Palace in Beijing.

Lunar New Year-3

Lunar New Year-2
The Taoist Dongyue Temple in Beijing.

Lunar New Year-5
A pagoda seen along a hike in Taroko Gorge, Taiwan.

Lunar New Year-6
A beautiful pagoda/ temple complex in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Lunar New Year-7
A taoist temple on Mt. Hua Shan, north of Xi'an.

Lunar New Year-8
Xi'an at night.

Lunar New Year-9

Lunar New Year-11
Rain or shine, worshippers arrive at this temple in Hue.

Lunar New Year-10
Slow burner coils of incense hang in this buddhist temple in Cholon.

Lunar New Year-12

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Assorted Scenes From 'Nam

Welcome to season 9 of my very own little corner of the inter webs! I returned from a short trip to Vietnam recently, but haven't had the energy or time to sort through most of the photos, so this set will seem incredibly random, which I will agree is an accurate descriptor.

My trip was awesome despite 1) stepping in a pile of dogshit with my white as snow Adidas sneakers the day after I arrived, and 2) people assuming Anita and I were having some kind of marital problems (because apparently there is no possible alternate explanation for why we wouldn't have gone together).

The trip's main purpose was to attend my uncle's wedding (pictured below), but also encompassed eating too much food and drinking too much beer (I gained 8lbs in my first 8 days there), taking tons of street photos, watching beautiful sunsets, impromptu bottle flip contests, exploring many local markets, and otherwise just hanging out with my relatives. Good times.

Vietnam - Dec 2016-13

Vietnam - Dec 2016-12
Sunset on the beaches of Phu Quoc Island.

Vietnam - Dec 2016-10

Vietnam - Dec 2016-7

Vietnam - Dec 2016-6
Drinking beer the Vietnamese way: warm, with a chunk of ice in it.

Vietnam - Dec 2016-15
Drinking beer the proper way: draft, craft, and cold on tap.

Vietnam - Dec 2016-14
Who knew there was such a selection of interesting craft bia (beer) in Ho Chi Minh?

Vietnam - Dec 2016-16
Because OF COURSE seahorses are for making liquor... right?

Vietnam - Dec 2016-9
Street shooting - a mobile vendor hawks Baos (steamed buns) off the back of his moped.

Vietnam - Dec 2016-8
I can never get enough of the sights and sensory overload of local fish markets.

Vietnam - Dec 2016-3

Vietnam - Dec 2016-4
Thai Ice Cream rolls.

Vietnam - Dec 2016-1
This has to be one of my favourite photos, EVER. My mom (far left) looks like she's having so much fun!