Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Faces of Vietnam

Welcome to Vietnam!  We spent almost four weeks traveling from Hanoi in the north to Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City, as it's now officially called) in the South.  Over the next week or two, I'll publish some posts describing a few of our experiences and impressions of the country.  Click the link to see a collection of some of my favorite portraits taken by Nick or myself during our visit to Vietnam.
As has been our experience in the other Southeast Asian countries, people in Vietnam seemed happy to have us take their picture.  Indeed, sometimes people grabbed us and asked us to pose for photos with their cameras.
Above is a photo of one such instance.
Beth bought a banana from this sweet woman, and she then pointed to my camera and asked me to take a photo.
Some Vietnamese just snapped photos without posing with us.  Notice the woman is controlling the oars with her feet, while holding the camera with her hands.
In many Asian countries, some people (especially young people) hold their fingers in a "V" sign while having their photo taken.  There are a variety of reasons given for this, but in Vietnam, the reason I heard most often is that the informal Vietnamese word for "Hi" sounds like how a Westerner would say "V". 

In many Asian countries, a number of woman (and far fewer men) wear face masks in an effort to protect their faces from being tanned by the sun.  The pharmacies are filled with sunscreen and lotions that promise to lighten the skin.  When this photo of people rehearsing a dance routine was taken in Hue, it was a humid 95 degrees.  The way some of the dancers are dressed, you would think it was either cold, or they were rehearsing a dancing bank robbery.

Above is a video of the "dancing robbers."

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