THE PROMPTS FOR THE MONTH
1. SOMETHING COLOURFUL: the muli-coloured cloth bunting seen all over Bhutan in temples, schools, stores and Dzongs.
2. LIGHT: all across Bhutan and many other Buddhist cultures people light butter lamps as a part of religious ritual. The flickering light of the lamps is beautiful and it is such a privilege to be asked to light them at auspicious events. This is a photo from archives, taken in my school last year but it is a lamp I lit. Today we climbed Tiger’s Nest (Taksang) so there was no opportunity to light a butter lamp
3. YOU TODAY: spinning the prayer wheels inside Paro Dzong
4. IN MOTION: The propellers on the small domestic Druk Air plane at Paro Airport
5. AFTERNOON: after working all day on a construction site on Sukhumvit Road this group of workers has to do battle to get a place on the limited transport available to take them home in the late afternoon because there are literally hundreds of them heading in the same direction
6. 8 O’CLOCK: picnic dinner in our hotel room in Bangkok
7. WHAT YOU SAW TODAY: the Thai people in the sky train station all stopped and respectfully stood to attention when the national anthem was played at 6pm. Twice a day at 8am and 6pm in public places all over Thailand this happens and I love that everyone automatically does the right thing
8. CORNER: the corner we needed to memorize to get back to the hotel today in Hanoi.
9. PINK: saw this pale pink lotus in full bloom as we walked around Hoan Kiem lake today in Hanoi
10. HANDS: the hands of Guan Yin/ Kanon –the Buddhist goddess of Mercy from a 16th century sculpture in the Hanoi Museum of Fine Arts
11. M IS FOR….. motorcycle mayhem Vietnam style
12. BELOW: standing below the lanterns in the ceiling of the altar room in the communal house in silversmiths’ street Hanoi
13. WATCHING: hills tribe woman watching the cane basket vendor as I am watching her in the Sunday market at Sapa
14. FAVOURITE SPACE: look carefully and you can see that 7 little Hmong children have chosen this special space in Sapa for their playground (they even have a soccer ball with them)
15. SECRET: this sign in the main street of Sapa seemed perfect for today’s prompt
16. LEAFY: a Black M’hong woman wove this leafy memento from a local plant and handed to me as we were hiking along the narrow bank between the rice paddies near Sapa
17. FIRST WORLD PROBLEM: this had me stumped for a very long time as I didn’t want to trivialize the issue and the photo was finally taken more than a week late, when I found this quote that succinctly stated what I feel. This is the quote and the book from which it was taken.
18. STILL: in the still waters of Ha Long Bay the limestone karst formations reflect in the water
19. A GOOD DAY: second good day on Ha Long Bay even the weather played nicely for swimming and kayaking
20. OPEN: third stay in Hanoi and first time with a window that we can open and this is the red glowing sun at sunset that greeted us on our return from Ha Long Bay this afternoon
21. THEN + NOW: at the elegant Hotel Metropole Hanoi the well to do were once the only people able to afford the luxury cyclos (pedicabs) and now they use luxury vehicles. Both are available today so one can still choose to travel in the mode of then or now. The façade of the hotel is reflected in the gleaming duco of the Mercedes Benz!
22. CHANGE: the change of the location of the capital from Hue has meant this arched gateway to the imperial palace has been allowed to deteriorate from its once grand state as an entrance for the maids and concubines. Perhaps when the funds are available it will be returned to its former grandeur as many of the gates at The Citadel have been
23. YOUR MOOD TODAY: twice as happy as I thought I would be- this image is double happiness and it is the Chinese character for happy ( 喜 ) written twice and joined and usually used for Chinese weddings when it is believed that the couple double their happiness but seemed to fit me today. This one is actually printed on a T-shirt available here in Vietnam
24. DARK: soya sauce in Vietnam is darker and stronger than I am used to and this image shows my own fingers and camera reflected in the dark surface of the sauce provided with our hotpot dinner in the best vegetarian restaurant we have found in the whole country-Lien Hao in Hue
25. WELCOME: even though we are staying in budget hotels it is de rigeur to be met with a welcome sign by hotels here in Vietnam even when we have only taken a $5 bus ride. This was our welcome in Hoi An today
26. DEPTH OF FIELD: water lily in the ancient town of Hoi An
27. PEACEFUL: even as a non-believer it is hard to deny the calming and peaceful effect of serene Buddha statues
28. JUST FOR YOU: Tuberose, one of my favourite flowers bought in the market in Hoi An just for me
29. HAIR: hair today gone tomorrow – who needs it anyway?
30. WET: although we have been pretty lucky with the weather considering this is the wet season, we have had a few very heavy downpours here in Hoi An. Mostly we have managed to stay dry in the wet!
31. TREAT: today was mostly spent on the train from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City so there weren’t any real treats but not being much of a sweet tooth, this is the only sweet treat I have indulged in in the last few weeks in Vietnam