Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vietnam: Day 22

Day 22 (Sunday, Jan 25, 09): Cham Island/Hoi An-Class Session in Afternoon (B, G)
Art382: Alternative Photographic Processes, 3 credits.
After breakfast, we return to Hoi An for an afternoon class session. Overnight in Hoi An.

no journal entry for this day

Looking back...
Yea, couldn't even tell you what I did that day. Probably just sat around the hotel, maybe biked into Hoi An for a bit. Or maybe it rained that day and we didn't do anything.

random photo:
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Vietnam: Day 21

Day 21 (Saturday, Jan 24, 09): Hoi An/Cham Island (B, L, D, G)
Art382: Alterantive Photograph Processess, 3 credits.
At 8am our private car will take us to Cua Dai Beach where we'll board a boat to the islands. After about an hour, we'll reach the first dive site where coral reefs are from 2 meters depth up to 23 meters and very suitable for both snorkeling and diving. We can then snorkel near th cliffs under the control of the crew. Life jackets will be provided if needed. Later, we go to a tropical beach of the main island where we have lunch under coconut rees. Lunch will be prepared by the crew based on fresh foods and include cold drinks. Afternoon will be free for lazing on the beach, exposing the cyanotypes with digital negatives and photographing. We camp and spend the night in the tents on the island. This will be a good palce for Star trail shots and night photography.
Cham island (Cu Lao Cham), a group of islands, is 25 Km off the Hoi An shoreline. The islands are home to an abundance of plants and animals. The remains of ancient residencts existing 3000 years ago have been discovered recently as well as the archaeological remains of a hydro-agriculture system and trace of natural trade with foreigners from the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.
A lifeguard will be continuously on duty in case of accidents. We are obliged to follow the lifeguard's instructions. Life jacket are available-we will be advised to wear one on the boat and in the water. If we ignore safety directions, Haivenu Guides cannot be held liable for resulting damage/injury.

24 Jan 2009 11:18pm outside of Hoi An
Alrights, so I've been slacking for a few days. A lot has been going on.
S went to the hostipal...P is with her. We had a group talk with her and we kinda seemed to get through to her, but I don't know.
Since she's been with S, we have bee without her for days, which as lifted to group's tension severly. Today is Saturday, she won't be back with us until Wed. at this point.
Hoi An has been great, although very tourist centered. We all did a lot of shopping and wandering around the small town. It honestly reminds me of every other beach town I've been too which feels a litte silly but is just as comforting and still interesting and enjoyable. We've all been taking it pretty light on the shooting too. We got up yesterday morning for our scheduled dawn shoot, which was a waste of time. Then we got used by Reaching Out by shooting their products because their pro bailed on them. That was long and frustating.
We were suppossed to go spend the night at an island today, but the weather was bad and it wasn't safe to travel by boat, which was fine by me considering boats=death.
So from this point on, we have no P, no guides and nothing scheduled until our flight to Dalat in 4 days. It's pretty sweet. It will be nice to chill and get some work done. Unfortunately, it rained all day and is suppossed to rain basically until we leave for Dalat. We'll see what happens. Either way, we'll have a good time and get wasted for the Lunar New Year.

Looking back...
Yea, that journal entry sums it up.
That afternoon we also went to see some Cham ruins: it rained and I refused to buy a poncho and the tour guide told me I was dumb and stubbon. All true. We were also warned not to wander off the paved road because there are still active mines in the area. There are only a fraction of the ruins that were once there due to the Vietnam war.
And the boat almost made me puke...and it made Natallie pray...again.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

sketchbook pages: zodiac book

assortment of various sketchbook pages...stuff that's been happening between my head and the paper...and some random notes

also, tomato sauce is delicious.

Vietnam: Day 20

Day 20 (Friday, Jan 23, 09): Hoi An (B)
Dawn Shoot 5:30am
Art 487: Vietnam Location Photography, 3 credits;
Today we will photograph the exciting chaos of the morning market. With it's scents and sounds and throngs of buyers this location shooting opportunity will prove both challenging and exciting.
Today, we also visit the handicrafts workshop call Reaching Out located in the ancient town of Hoi An. You can help them with ideas for re-designing their web pages and brochures, develop new products, train their staff in English, compile their CD catalogue and so on.
They're now in need of a couple of posters and I hope you could help them with your expertise.
Reaching Out is a Humanitarian Organisation that employs people with disabilities, and the store offers a place to showcase premium crafts to international customers.

no journal entry on for this day

Looking back...
This day was a pain in the ass. The dawn shoot in the market was a waste of sleeping. It was an overcast morning and everything in the market was under tarps in the shade, so all the shots we were getting could have been achieved at any other point in the day (and the shots would probably be better). The market was so crowded; people kept pushing us and trying to drive through the crowd with motorbikes. All it smelt like was fish and piss. Went back to the hotel, ate breakfast, and then Reaching Out happened.
We thought we only had to shot 50 items...turned out to be a few hundred. We were there for 5 hours and almost no one had eaten lunch that day, so we were all starving and tired since we had also been up since dawn. Their photograph had bailed on them at the last minute, so they managed to get us to do it for free. Great.
The rest of the day ended in alcohol and food.
And Bali Well!!! Okay, best place I have ever eaten food in my life. We sat down and they just dropped food on the table and showed us how to roll it all together into an amazing spring roll thing. It was spring roll, bbq pork, cabbage or kimshi, some leaf items and a egg pancake all in rice paper dipped in peanut and/or chili sauce. And they pretty much fed us. If we weren't already eating or making a spring roll, they came and made them for us. They literally put food in me and Evan's mouths'. It was the most awesome and delicious eating experience of my life!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vietnam: Day 19

Day 19 (Thursday, Jan 22, 09): Hoi An Cooking Class and motorbike tour (B, L, G)
In the morning, we'll be picked up at 8:15 from our hotel to go to the Hoi An local market to purchase ingredients for our cooking class at a local restaurant in Hoi An. We will learn how to cook some of the traditional food in Hoi An.
In the afternoon, you'll be taken on the back of motorbikes to visit some of the rural villages around Hoi An. After stopping en-route to enjoy the rural scenery and be introduced to the villagers' lifestyle, you'll head to a small village in Dien Quange district where you can see a silkworm farm and learn breeding process. In the later afternoon, you'll reture to your hotel for overnight accommodation.

no journal entry on this day

Looking back...
Definitely one of the best days. The motorbike tour lasted for about 6 hours and it was great to just drive around and see the countryside. My driver was really cool; he drove like a madman, and a lot like how I drive. Took a lot of shots for stop motion purposes, which I still haven't used. The cooking class was at night and it was so delicious and not as hands on as we expect. It was also at a really nice resturant that was clearly designed for tourists. Nonetheless, it was still great.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vietnam: Day 18

Day 18 (Wednesday, Jan 21, 09): Hanoi/Danang/Hoi An (B, L, GP)
The morning will be free until our car and driver arrives to take us to the airport for the 10:10 flight to Danang. (VN315)Upon arriving in Danang, our guide will pick us up to have a brief look at the remarkable Hindu statuary in the Cham Museum. You'll have lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you'll drive to Hoi An where your guide will mee you to show you the Ancient Town and explain its considerable significance in the history of Vietnam. You'll spend the night in Hoi An.
Hoi An town is a UNESCO World Heritage area. And ancient trading port, once the largest in Indochina, Hoi An was a meeting point for many culture that left their mark in the different architectural features of its wooden buildings. The original traditional street pattern still exists, as does the quay that once welcomed ships from all over East Asia and beyond. Many remained there for months at a time, waiting for favourable trade winds to carry them home.
There are plenty of good restuarants offering a variety of cuisines and price levels. The town is also a good place for shopping for silk. You can have clothes tailor-made within a day at reasonable cost. This is an excellent place to shop for silk to use as book cover material.

21 Jan 2009 Hoi An 9:07pm
So yea...woke up early. P was acutally awake to see us off. I read a bit in the news paper about Barak's inaugaration. Lots of happy thoughts, nothing too new in that front though. However, such a universial positive mindset incline me to want to follow news more.
Got on the 1 hour long flight to Danang, all good.
I've been having some issues getting my ears to pop lately, but I think it's just part of being sick. My left ear was like a seashell all afternoon: I could hear the ocean in my head. I did equal out eventually though. I think I'm a day or so away from being well though.
We got a tour of Hoi An after lunch and a visit to the Cham Museum in Danang. Our new guide gave us a tour of Hoi An. Honestly, it feels like every beach/resort town I've ever been to. We visited a silk shop; I might get a custom, tailored skirt made. I think I'm going to knock out a lot of shopping today.
A bunch of us ate dinner in a resturant in the market, but it was actually someone's living room. It look us forever to get our food, so I worked on a hugh Tiger beet over the course of the hours while in conversation about the art department and roommates with Emily while slowly getting tipsy. Honestly, still a bit fuzzy, not sure what to do with myself for the rest of the night. Umm. yea....
The general drama and talk with P was discussed at dinner, no need to go into it. Will awkwardly end entry here. Okay, bye.

Looking back...
That really was pretty much the day. Hoi An was great. That day was half traveling, half wondering around the town, and half worring about S but trying not to because there was nothing we could do other than take in the new sites around us. Very little shooting probably happened on this day. And we experienced our first domestic Vietnamese flying experience, which was totally fine outside of Natalie being ruthlessly searched at security.
And I never did start following the news more often.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Vietnam: Day 17

Day 17 (Tuesday, Jan 20, 09): Hanoi (B)
In the early morning, we arrive at Hanoi railway station, and are greeted by one of the guiding staff members and driven to the hotel to freshen up before breakfast. The rest of the day will be self guided in Hanoi.
Art 382: Alternative Photographic Process, 3 credits
Making Digital Negatives for Day 21

20 Jan 2009 10:32am Hanoi
We got into Hanoi via sleeper train at 5am. Things are not looking good. Last night on the train, S, who has been having stomach problems since we've entered the country, was profoundly ill last night. She was experiencing pains in her side to the point that she could barely move. P told us she had a panic attack. I didn't believe her, even then. She also.....S had lost all feeling in half her body and had to be carried off the train. She and P went the the hospital. As of 6am, we heard it was "anxiety and dehydration" and that they are running blood tests. I still didn't believe that. Evan just called saying to not leave the hotel until noon and that she wanted to have a meeting. No word otherwise. I'm scared. And I do not trust her.
10:53pm Hanoi
Well 12 hours later..
S had a stomach ulcer and is very lucky...considering the amount of warning and harm such a condition comes with. She's in the hospital...P said she would be fine, they can't move her for 5 days and that she's happy to no longer be in pain.
P also admitted to lying to us about S's condition on the train and apologized, although it still didn't feel right. I was so angry. As she asked us each how we were doing, I felt someone has to start it off and I couldn't just go by not saying anything.
I told her that I was upset and confuse about her not telling us the truth, and that we should have known. We need to know that she trusts us in order for us to trust her. It seemed as if I was getting through to her on some level, but only time will tell what really sticks. I was very relieved to have at least 3 people ready to back up what I had to say seconds after I spoke. However, .... [as a few people tried to] call P out on....her questioning of people and the various rumors that had been flying around. That was certainly not a road I was trying to go down, especially considering it was a very poorly explained road at that.
So tomorrow we still get on the plane to Danang, P will be joining us...sometime. Evan is still the responsible one and we will all have a stress-free P-free week or so or something in Hoi An.

Looking back...
It took me a few days to get up the energy to write this entry, as I knew exactly what it contained. I have not pre-read any of these entries as I type them and I always feel like I am reliving the experience as I read; this was the toughest and realist so far. I'm still not sure how to properly reflect on it. There are some really important things in this entry, in terms of both events and things I was thinking or saying. How there are some many things that foreshadow later events, later tones.
As to not worry anyone, S is currently happy and healthly.
We are still only just over halfway through this journey, so don't think it's anywhere near over.
And in terms of the day we all had while we were waiting for P and news: No one ever slept after the train because breakfast was opening by the time we all showered Sapa off. Then we waited. Then P called at noon, as I was skyping Ben, and said she wouldn't be back until 6pm. Then we all ate an Americanized meal at Koyto and walked around Hanoi. James, Griffin and I got lost as hell and ended up on the other side of the city and had to take a taxi back. Then we chilled in the hotel until P came. You know the rest.

Photos, finally...

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

BioHazard BlackLight JamSess

featured characters: james denver and mike beerley

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sad Nikon

So lately I know I've only be posting about Vietnam and not really including newer stuff. As later 'Nam entries will reveal, my Nikon and I took a little swim during the last few days of the trip. I sent it to Nikon for the second time yesterday, hoping that there is a slim chance it can be fixed (or that they refund what they charged me for not fixing it).
Bottom line, I have not documented anything (save those same paintings, which I scanned) because I no longer have a camera fit for the job. So if it looks like I'm slacking on this blog, that's why.

...I also just posting to kill time before I have to leave for work, which is about nowish. see ya.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vietnam: Day 16

Day 16 (Monday, Jan 19, 09): Sapa/Lao Cai/Hanoi (B, L, GP)
After breakfast, we'll plant some trees to contribute to the re-forestation of the area, help with painting the local school, or whatever else needs to be done. After lunch, you'll return to Sapa then to Lai Cai Station for boarding the overnight sleeper train leaving at 20:15-04f:30 to Hanoi.

19 Jan 2009 10:33am Sapa-homestay
After our 3 night stay here, we are heading back to the city of Sapa for a few hours before boarding another sleeper train to head back to Hanoi. I work up with a voice this morning, which is a good sing. Although my throat is still sore and startchy.
Last night, a group of locals preformed some New Year's dances and songs by bonfire side. It was a pretty great thing to see, I got some soil pictures out of it. After that, Priscilla took a group to the wedding celebration next door to get drunk with the locals while the rest of us watched the embers die out and discussed the recent dramatic events regarding various members of the group. At this point, I feel I'v discussed ir and heard it discussed to the point of exhaustion, so I feel no need to waste my time talking about it here.
Sapa so far has been my favorite fo all the locations. The people and things have been so interesting. I've never going to want to leave this country.
It's also interesting to see how our concept of money and spending has changed since we've been here. It is expected that you bargin with people. Everything is so cheap, when it comes down to American dollar, but anything for 50, 000 dong (less than $3) seems expensive. It is wild how a new culture will change your perspective on things.

Looking back....
Those few days in Sapa are kind of a run together into a huge mass of Sapa-ness. This day marks the halfway point of the trip, and boy, does it get exciting from here. (oh god) In considering this day, I can only think of the events that follow in the hours after that entry and its overwhelming my mind.
mmm...sorry these reflection portions are starting to lack things. The further away from January I get, the harder it becomes to reflect.
Then again, this was also a pretty easy day compared to the rollarcoaster ride the trip is about the go on.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Vietnam: Day 15

Day 15 (Sunday, Jan 18, 09): Sapa (B, L, D, G)
After breakfast, we'll help the local to build a water tank and teach English for the children in the village. We spend the night in a local stilt-house in Sapa.

18 Jan 2009 12:07pm
It's been another relaxing, yet still eventful morning so far. I woke up without a voice, well, barely. I had to speak in a whisper for a few hours. It's getting better now so hopefully its nothing serious. Those of us who were awake ate a breakfast of banana fritters and hiked with the guide out to a house to help build a watertank., Most of us just ended up shooting and at this point, only Evan is helping with the building process. There are too many of us to realistically help out, especially at the slow rate we'd be moving at. Most of us hung out around the fire in the home, wrote, drew and gave the kids some crayons. A few of us also walked up the hill with the guide to collect some roots of some tree to eat. And, hopefully, we'll get a change to smoke with the locals. My fingers are crossed.

Looking back...
Probably one of my favorites days, at least the first half. Being kinda sick sucked, but it was great to hike around and then relax. It was great to be away from P during the morning. It was a very reflective day, very open. Arriving at the homestay in the afternoon was an event, as P was starting secret conflicts between herself and students, etc. It only gets crazier from here.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Vietnam: Day 14

Day 14 (Saturday, Jan 17, 09): Sapa (B, L, D, G)
A 6km walk along a route developed by local residents takes us through bamboo thickets along the mountainside to Jumping Fish waterfall. After lunch, we can join in some traditional sports such as archery, one-legged racing and tug-of-war, visit another H'mong ethnic minority village and plant a tree as a contribution to the re-forestation of the area. In the evening, you'll probably find the householder will be eager to learn some simple English sentences from you!

17 Jan 2009 12pm Sapa-homestay
The past two days here have been beautiful. This is such a wonderful and interesting country. Yesterday as we hiked down to the village, we encountered the Red Dzao and a few other minority groups, all of which were tying to sell us their handmade crafts. Bags, blanket, belts, jewerly, and various other beautifully made things. However, their lever of persistance was downright irritating after 5 minutes. There were about three times as many of them as there were of us and they simply would not take no for an answer. All women, from the eldery to the very small children. They all had the same lines down and asked "Buy from me, buy from me" without taking a single breath. And when we sked to photograph them, it was only possible on the condition that we buy something. Even the little kida had it down. It was pretty disturbing to be honest.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing (finally!) at the our homestay and visiting the school. At the school, we played a number of games with the kids, all of which were the Vietnames versions of most American kids gas: tag, duck duck goose, etc. Everyone was so friendly and playful. In the evening, we ate and partied with the family and several of the school teachers and officals. As usual, the food was amazing and the rice wine was abundant. The shots never stopped...It was a great night. I love that I m getting to know everyone on the trip, espeically those I have had very few classes and such with in the past.
Today so far as been a free day. Some of the group when to paint at the school, while the rest of use had a chance to explore.
As we walked Griffin and I ran into Sophie, who was standing outside of the with a bunch of small children. They had been following her/she had been following them to that point. The woman who lived there invited us into met her and see her home. We learned that all 8 of the children were her'e and saw (and bought) some of her handmade things. I got a pretty sweet hat for Ben. While we were there, she went upstairs and her foot hell through the floor and Griffin and I has a hefty pile of clothing topple down on us. It was a pretty awesome and warm experience overall and I got some good shot while we were there.
As much as the trip has been disorganized at time and as crazy and downright...P has been, the experience as a whole is outstanding. The peopel are so friendly and welcoming and the country is so beautiful. I almost never want to leave. We are doing so many amazing things we could never do on our own, such as stay in these beautiful homes and meet the people we are meeting. It's hard to believe that we are about halfway through. We have done so miuch and have have so much to see ahead of us!

Looking back...
Oh yea, we have a hell of a lot of shit ahead of us....

random photo:

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"no photo! you buy from meee!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vietnam: Day 13

Day 13 (Friday, Jan 16, 09): Try the H'mong lifestyle in Sapa (B, L, D, G)
We arrive in the early morning, where we'll be met and taken up to Sapa, a small town perched on the mountainside opposite Mt. Fan Si Pan, Vietnam's highest peak. After breakfast at the hotel, we'll be driven along a scenic valley. We'll then drive to Ban Ho, a Tay ethnic minority village where we meet some of the members of the trekking management board and 'check-in' to the stilt-house to spend the night. For the rest of the morning, we can help with the owner's domestic tasks and find out about the Tay lifestyle. In the evening, you'll probably find the household with be eager to learn some simple English sentences from you!
We can join some of the locals in the village's communal house to listen to folk songs and watch the traditional dancing of Tay and Red Dzao people to music played on the community's vernacular musical instruments.

16 Jan 2009 2:15pm Sapa
So, everything went fine, we made the train. The sleeper train was pretty cool on experience basis alone. I bunked with James, Amiee, and Emily, which was a very good crew to chill with in such close quarters. We just hung out in the cabin, went to bed around midnight-1am. I go very little, shitty sleep on the train and was pretty cranky when we arrived at the station at 5:30am. From there we met our guide and drove an hour to Sapa, "freshened up" and napped at a hotel before breakfast. In the morning, and probably at night, it is much colder here than it's been anywhere else.
Wow...more later.

Looking back...
Yea, that morning was rough. Almost no sleep, freezing cold, it was colder in the hotel than it was outside (just like home), ate breakfast (which was so good!), and drove to the village. Lots of bumpy roads and praying that i wouldn't vomit, but it was a really good day. This place turned out to be one of my favorites.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Mandelbrot Set

In preparation for a painting assignment about numbers, i have been reading about fractals, most notably the Mandelbrot Set, as they have held some interests to me lately.
The most i've gotten from my research so far is that fractals are geometric, self-similar shapes. Their have an infinity complex boundary that repeats upon itself. The Mandelbrot Set seems most interesting, partially because of it intricacy and partially because its one of the more popular examples.

However, no matter what, i can't get past the overwhelming amount of math involved in these things. So i have to go about thinking about this another way.
i'm thinking of creating a fractal, or at least a fractal-like for, on partical board using the patterns in the board as the basis for, i guess, "discovering" pattern.
Then, of course, there are fractals from the Lindenmayer systems that allow for more basic, geometric forms. Menger sponge and Hilbert curver, for instance.

And then all this Jackson Pollack and Chaos theory stuff is pretty interesting, although i'm not sure how i feel about it.
To say that everything is derived from chaos does not seem possible, as so many things in nature follow an ordered pattern based in mathematics and logic. and that is all just appears to be chaos until a system can become more clearly defined.

....i also might be thinking to much and trying to define terms too much. not really sure. also just wanted to try working some ideas out in here and see how that goes. i'm kind of alright with it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Vietnam: Day 12

Day 12 (Thursday, Jan 15, 09): Hanoi/Lao Cai (B, G)
After breakfast, we drive to visit the International Friendship Village for Vietnamese veterans and Orange Agent victims. We'll return to Hanoi around lunch time. There will be an afternoon Class Session to review topics and work on Alternative Processes. The remainder of the day will be your own until our driver arrives to take us to board the 21:15-05:30 overnight sleeper train to Lao Cai. You will share Four-berth cabins on the train.
The Friendship Village, a US/Vietnam joint venture, is a remarkable place. At any one time, around 40 veterans and 100 children are provided with health care, treatment, training and other assistance over periods ranging from a few months to several years. Visitor are welcome-it's a truly uplifting experience! You'll find the Village provides not only a wealth of insights into the war, but also plenty of tangible evidence of the staff members' dedication to making life better for the inmate while rebuilding their dignity and self confidence.

15 Jan 2009 1:54pm Hanoi
Well, all that worrying for nothing. This trip gets a bit more laughable every moment of everday. I'm done listening to P, I am just going to allow her to art us around and I'll just shoot whatever I damn well please.
The Friendship Village today was not worth all the concern I put towards it. We didn't meet any of the people living there, save a boy who wouldn't talk to us and a girl who tried to beat us all up. Instead of shooting people, we (and by we, I mean Griffin and Evan) shot the flowers and embroidered stuff for the village website. So these kids make handicrafts that the village then sells. Something about that whole visit doesn't sit right with me, or most people for that matter.
We are just leaving a very yummy lunch. I ate falafel and drank a beer. Both were wonderful. All I need is a little alcohol to get me through a day with P. And we are apparently going to both the market and the womens' museum. And having class/studio time and pack for the train at 8pm. hahaha.

Looking back...
I kind of remember those past 2 days as one big day of frustration with and embarssament due to P. Class didn't ever happen, what a suprise. I still don't feel quite right about the Friendship Village, it was so strange feeling. That night I went to P and printed my digital negatives because I didn't have anything else better to do. She packed and acted crazy, as usual. We also had a conversation about the possibility of eating dog, which was pretty unnerving. And we left for the train station about 15 minutes late. Who are we waiting for?
The sleeper train was pretty sweet though. I shared a space with Emily, James and Amiee so that was chill.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vietnam: Day 11

Day 11 (Wednesday, Jan 14, 09): Hanoi orientation (B, L, G)
A full day tour of Hanoi will take in Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, the National Army Museum and the smaller Women's Museum with its fascinating documentation and depiction of the role of the 'long haired army-the female combatants and sympathizers during the wars.
After a fleeting visit to Hoa Lo Prison (the famous 'Hanoi Hilton', now a small museum), we'll drop in to one of Hanoi's large indoor market, cruise around Hoan Kiem lake and the leafy boulevards of the colonial Quarters with its eclectic architectural mixture of French colonial style, social realism (mostly public building-designed or influencted by the USSR) and the recent Vietnamese styles.
In the evening, a cyclo ride through Hanoi's vibrant Old Quarter, a bewildering jumble of pagodas and communal houses with many Chinese features, merchants' residences, 'tube' dwellings, modern buildings and vernacular houses. We spend the night in Hanoi.

14 Jan 2009 12:49am Hanoi
Back in Hanoi. Showered. Washed underpants and socks in the sink. Ate pizza. Uploaded over 1000 photos. Have not had the brain power to review them. Had Babeo Skype cuddles for an hour, so happy to see Ben! So happy. Going to try again tomorrow before we have to leave the computers and internet for another 3-4 days. Blogged. Emailed the 'rents. Had a few one on one chats with James about a few things. Amiee is still sick....We're all tired and burnt out. Museums tomorrow, nice light day. Okay, bed. G.night.
Honestly, P can barely handle running this trip and it will be a miracle if nothing goes wrong.
Today we toured around Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, which was kinda of strange. An over-priced lunch. And then we rushed our way through two museums. We were done by five. I finally got to go through my images, which was good. I'm still not really done organizing but that's okay.
I honestly think P's completely cracked out. We started today over an hour late. She held up the group by trying to bring her camera into the mausoleum, which was strictly prohibited. Our guide had to talk her out of trouble with the freaking government officials. Then she wanted to fit in 3 muesums in 3 hours, and seemed to be under the impression that we were being held up because of us, not her poor planning. I really need towork on forgetting that she is even here so I can just enjoy to culture and focus on shooting.
Tomorrow she wanted to do about 5 different things, plus have class, plus we have to pack and be on a train at 8pm. I would put mad dong on us missing this train. From the last I heard, we are probably doing way less than she originally wanted to, so I hope that holds true.
We are also going to the Internation Friendship Village to visit Agent Orange victims. Basically people that our people are responible for seriously fucking up. And now we are going to walk in there with huge cameras. I don't feel comfortable with this at all and I really hope that my fears for that (and for all of this) are proven wrong.
I did get to skype with Ben tonight, which put me in a better mood. He's so wonderful, I don't know where I'd be without him. I am really starting to miss him more and more every day.

Looking back...
yeah, not the best day. The Friendship Village was not as bad as I thought it would be but you can here all about that in the next entry, I'm sure.

random photo:

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Friday, March 6, 2009

_11:34 Sparce Traceless Matrix

album cover for Abe's third album for his solo project, _11:34

Vietnam: Day 10

Day 10 (Tuesday, Jan 13, 09): Hien Hao (Cat Ba Island)/Hai Phong/Hanoi (B,G)
Art 487: Vietnam Location Photograph, 3 credits;
We will be rising early to take a walk on the beach where the locals catch fish. Here is a fascinating insight into the local lifestyle. After breakfast, our guide will take us to photograph at the Cat Ba town and its market. After lunch, we'll board the 14:45 hydrofoil trip to Hai Phong where a car and driver will be waiting to return us to Hanoi for an overnight stay.

13 Jan 2009 5:05pm en route to Hanoi
Finally on our way back to home base: our big duffels and computers. It's about time we got to upload our images, take a shower, and hopefully get some rest. I spent the one hour hydrofoil ride asleep, which was a signficant help. We are all zombies, just looking at things and taking it in, with very little thought. Tomorrow we have a day of touring in Hanoi and visiting museums.
Last night, the homestay situation got much easier. It's amazing how food and drink will lift a mood. It was also nice having Sara Beth to take over communicating to the family. Once we had some rice wine in us, everyone was pressy lossy goosy. About an hour before we went to bed, Rachel, Evan, Ange, Shannon, a few other and their families came in as a drunken whirlwind, yelling and taking shots.
I didn't get any shots of the family or the house; when James asked to photograph the man of t house, he shyly refused, so I figued it was best to leave the camera in the bag.
I'm hoping for an acutal crite sometime soon. I still wish we had more time to develop some ideas. We are just moving around too much for that to be possible. Although this trip has been amazing thus far, I still think that we are trying to cram in way too much.
PS- wow, the sun is very red-orange right now.

Looking back...
hahaha...class, crit? how funny.

random photo:

good photo:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vietnam: Day 9

so, i took a little break. anyway, back on track now...

Day 6 (Monday, Jan 12, 09): Ha Long Bay/Hien Hao Village (Brunch, D, G)
We will spend the morning cruising the Ha Long Bay, followed by a brunch just before docking at Gia Luan Jetty (on Cat Ba Island) around noon where a local driver will be waiting to take up to Hein Hao village to 'check-in' at a local family's house.
In the afternoon our guide will show us around the village to meet a local family that makes handicrafts. We'll meet the chairman of the 'Bee Club'. After a chat over a cup of green tea, the remainder of the day will be your own. The dinner will be prepared by the head of the local family where we'll overnight.
Hien Hao is a small community with a total population of 400 people located about 20km away from Cat Ba Town, 4km away from Cat Ba National Park's Head Quarter. The village has been funded by British based Fauna and Flora International (FFI) to establish community based tourism. Local families were selected to join the protect. The heads of chosen families were sent to Sapa, a popular destination of community based tourism, to be trained to receive and serve customers. Furthermore, the villagers were trained by a chef from a restaurant in Hanoi to prepare appropriate food.

12 Jan 2009 9:14pm Ha Long Bay
So we've been cruising about Ha Long Bay for the past two days. This portion of our programming has taken a dive into straight-up tourism. For the first time since we've been here, we've seen a huge amount of white people and forks. Honestly, I cannot say I'm a fan. The boat is nice and I like being able to relax a bit but the tourism makes me want to be sick and give up on shooting. Yesterday we went into a cave and a shrine that were packed with tourist. It made shooting frustrating, pointless and nearly impossible. I'm also just so burnt out. I feel like I just need a day to go through my shots, get some rest and figure out some sort of direction. I am just looking at things and creating compositions without any idea or motivation behind that hows, whens and whys. I just feel starved for creative energy. I would love to be shooting footage for a stop motion film but I just feel so stuck and bored with my shooting possibilites that this idea is starting to feel useless. I need some action. I need some motivation. I need some direction and I need some fucking sleep. And, from talking to everyone else, it seems I am not alone in these setiments.
We all might as well burn our itineraries considering that it changes without warning or reason every few hours. For example, today we were supposed to have brunch around 11am on the boat, move to Cat Ba island, etc. Then our guide informed us at last night's dinner that breakfast would be at 7:30am, we'd be taking a small boat through a cave (which turned out to barely be cave), moved to a second boat of the same type and size as the previous one. (I still don't understand that) and then move onto the island. Or something, I still don't know. I also still don't know where lunch is coming from and whether or not its included.
I'm very glad James is here, otherwise I'm not sure how I'd deal with the frustration. Plus missing Ben on top of it. I need some sort of communication with him when we get to Hanoi. It's just been getting a little hard, especially considering we spend almost zero time apart at home. And with us being so not busy, bored and whatever, I just have more time to catch u pon missing him.
I'm ready to get back to Hanoi, have som clothes that don't stink, my computer, hopefully some Babeo time and get P to organize a real crit so we all have some form of direction.
Blarg, glarg, arg....zorch.
4:08pm Cat Ba Island
We are on the beach of Cat Ba Island, and although I am still low on ideas, it is nice to have a change of scenery. I feel a bit more refreshed and I'm still getting some decent shots.
We are staying in a home stay in small groups: me, James, Amiee and Sara Beth. I am probably going to put my head through a wall, but that's what I get for being a nice guy. I just wish it wasn't constant word vomit.
My feet are soaked now that I let them melt into the sand. Great. I need sleep and babeo.

Looking back...
"Oh, by the way, I flail in my sleep"
Yea, hella day. The evening got much better once food and rice wine happened. Most of the group got mad drunk and went homestay hopping. We stayed in.
Oh, that whole getting P to have a really crit thing....yes, that was a real cute delusion.

random photo:

good photo: