Today we begin the long journey home. Because it's also #caturday, here is one of my photos that still makes me smile when I look at it. It was taken in a pottery factory and while it does have a cat, what I really wanted was to get the fat little Gollum, holding his belly.
The subject of cats here in Vietnam is painful and very ambivalent. While some versions of the Vietnamese zodiac actually substitute the cat for the rabbit, one sees very few cats here. Those I've seen often have their tails cut, either partly or completely - is that to identify them as pets and not a source of food? I suppose we've all heard about the three tons of cats from China.
Like any country and culture that is different from one's own, there are many things here that seem mystifying and even cruel. But there are even more things lovely, kind and friendly to be found. It all just depends on what one chooses to 'see'.
Be aware of your own choices and tread lightly
Although that was a major element of her life, as even this article shows, (despite the title). But we also see that she showed signs of humor and a dry wit, something not often found in the traditional views on her life.
This one is for
Admittedly, I am. Let's be honest, this picture sucks. It was taken with my tablet on a very touristy river dinner cruise in Saigon last night. The ship was full of about 100 tourists from all over the world, most of whom were busy taking pictures of each other, and with themselves and the traditionally dressed musicians. The Russians brought their own vodka.
My snobbish self was unhappy with the whole performance. And then I just watched the people. Regardless of the whole theatricality, they were having fun. So I let go of my conceptions, and just enjoyed the ride. Even talked (kind of) with the Russians who had so irritated me in the beginning, and they were just people like me.
Just another lesson in treading lightly
Ps: photo taken with tablet, it's bad, but the moon above the lit building was too great a temptation.
If you counted 3 people on this motorbike (one of the millions of 125ccm machines on the roads here), then you would be wrong. Can you find Waldo? He's the little one in the very front. Finding whole families on bikes is nothing unusual here. In fact, it's probably the form of travel for the majority of families. Cars are unaffordable for most people and at least in the cities, the bikes are both more flexible and faster than cars.
It only gets tedious when they seem to be driving through your hotel room through most of the night, because, like most parts of Asia, the horn is an absolutely essential instrument when driving.
More on that later.
Anyway, it does simplify the choice of which to post. Rooftops in Hanoi this morning, clouds create a flat light, which does nothing to diminish the fascination.
Because property costs are so high, many, if not most private houses are only one room wide. But, as can be seen, they make do creatively.
Create your own comfortable space and tread lightly
Thilo Bode, dessen Buch "Die Freihandelslüge" ich soeben lese, begründet hier in 7 Minuten, warum dieses Abkommen eine ganz, ganz schlechte Idee ist. Freier Handel ist gut, Normierung von Scharubenlängen etc. ebenso, aber das ist alles schon heute möglich.
Die Gefahr bei TTIP ist, dass es nicht nur um technische Aspekte geht, sondern um Gesellschaftspolitische Normen, im Umwelt-, Verbraucher-, und Tierschutz, im Sozialen Bereich usw. Da TTIP, wenn abgeschlossen, zum Völkerrecht wird, können auch nationale Normen und Gesetze nichts mehr ausrichten.
Wer das Buch nicht lesen kann/will, sollte sich aber die 7 Minuten Zeit nehmen, um dieses Interview zu sehen.
#TTIP #Freihandelsabkommen #europe #europeanunion #CETA
Here in US, one has to spend a great deal of time in the grocery store to analyze the ingredients of nearly every product in order to minimize harm. Does this food have chemicals that are banned in other countries? Was this other one sprayed with insecticides? Did this company recently lobby against a bill that would have helped the environment? It can be exhausting and Europe deserves better than that!!
From my treasures found on the beach. The choice is between (clockwise from the top):
1) piece of broken shell
2) piece of ancient Chinese pottery, and
3) ancient Roman fragment (I know this because it has "Septimus 76BC" inscribed on the back)
Which would you keep?
This is one of many ceramic (porcelain ) reliefs decorating the Ba Thien Hau (Pagoda of the Lady Thien Hau) in Saigon. The Lady Thien Hau is the protectress of the sea, ensuring both safety and good catches for fishermen.
The temple was built by Chinese immigrants to Saigon in 1760 and continually improved and expanded until the early 20th century. In fact, these reliefs are believed to be from Chinese ceramic manufacturers. Like most temples in Asia, this one is actively used by the population and you will find more faithful than tourists at any particular time of day.
Though I have no idea what story is being depicted here in th is relief with demons, I thought it was cute, which is probably not the intended reaction ;-)
May your demons be as harmless as these, and tread lightly
#art #vietnam #treadlightly
In Chinese legends, the souls of the dead become either shen, good spirits who join the gods, or gui, malevolent ghosts or demons who wander the earth, usually because their descendants do not offer them the proper funeral ceremonies.
(I've always wanted a reason to say that)
On our 7th morning here, we finally got to see the sun. This lovely small traditional boat is 'parked' in the river in front of our hotel, to be enjoyed from the balconies in our rooms, or on the restaurant terrace. .....
And enjoy we did, as I hope your day is also a good one.
Where tonight we celebrate 'Tet', then Vietnamese New Year. Though most stores are closed for the holiday, the streets are still busy as they can be.
More on the wonders of Vietnamese traffic another time.
Happy New Year and tread lightly
- open to learning, new ideas and thinking
- compassionate towards others, especially those who are weaker, or have difficulty fending for themselves
- engaged for a society whose main definition of freedom is not necessarily the freedom to make money, but rather freedom of ideas, speech, development and privacy
- and above all, the ability to be amazed and laugh about absurdity, irony, myself, others - to take myself lightly
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
- Change Coachpresent
- BAWAG P.S.K.2008 - 2013
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