Tra Vinh


Fortune favours the prepared mind – The race for a sunset location in Tra Vinh

Sunset in Tra Vinh.

We roamed around the country side all day, passing fields being harvested and stopped wherever we felt would be a good location. As the daylight started to decrease its strength, we started contemplating a suitable location for a sunset shot. Something visually interesting that could serve as a silhouetted foreground. After a wild goose chase along narrow countryside lanes a fraction of the standardised size of an European pavement, we reached the conclusion that we would not find what we were looking for along these paths. Racking our brains for an answer as dusk was setting in, we decided to head back to one of our first places of the day, a field with a small river running next too and with a wooden footbridge.

This was the very moment the effort of carrying a tripod all day paid off. These images could not have been captured unless at an increased ISO setting, a trade off I did not like. Without a tripod, we probably would have headed off to the local restaurant earlier as driving after dark on countryside roads are not something you really want to do. Not on a weekend anyway, when the rate of drunk drivers increase as the evening sets in and more alcohol has been consumed. Enjoy the sunset, we sure did!

Sunset in Tra Vinh.

Sunset in Tra Vinh and capturing the right moment.

Sunset in Tra Vinh.

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The Mouse, The Snake & Facing your Fears in Tra Vinh

The Mouse

Saigon 5am a Friday morning. We are setting off on our road trip to our destination, Tra Vinh. 10.30am we check in to our hotel with sore buttocks. A few pitstops on the way, each one proved more and more difficult to dismount the bike as the soreness increased. It was worth it. We will be back. I ended up with 3400 raw captures over those three days we stayed. It will take me much longer to process and edit those images than the trip itself, however, the first story is the one about the mouse and the snake.

The hotel restaurant, like many other restaurants, kept a few containers with live stock. You could order fresh seafood and, more unusual, at least to the restaurants I frequent,  you could also order live snakes.

I didn’t spot it until the following day, arriving for breakfast I saw the mouse. Standing in the only free corner with three sleeping snakes in the others. The poor mouse was terrified. It was trembling and had no escape route. It was scared. It did not want to look back at the snakes. Only stared into the corner. We felt sorry for the mouse but also did not know what to do about it. Snakes will only eat live bait. That I learned on my trip back to Norway. At Akvariet i Bergen, they use long tongs to hold dead mice and bounce them around so the snakes believe they are alive. It is illegal to feed live mice to snakes in Norway. In Tra Vinh it was clearly different.

The Snake

In the wild, snakes will hunt mice. That is a normal action for a snake and a normal fate for a mouse. Taking the mouse out of the cage would only expose the mouse to another option of death. Finishing our breakfast with our minds still thinking about the mouse, we went out and saw the mouse was no longer trembling in the corner. It had accepted its fate and faced its fear. The mouse had walked straight up to the snake. At a point it even touched the snake. The snake wasn’t interested in waking up, leaving the courageous mouse standing there, ready to face death.

This triggers other thoughts. About mortality. About ourselves and our time in this world. Will we be scared and afraid or will we be able to face and embrace death as this mouse did? It is also a reminder to not get stuck in the rut of the routine and let life pass without doing what we want to do. In my Facebook stream I recently read “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” For me, that was a few weeks back and hopefully sometime real soon. I wish the same to you, do something new soon.

Facing your fear


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The Crossing – A ferry ride to Tra Vinh

The Crossing.

The ferry ride deserves a blog post on its own. Beautiful day. Perfect weather. A smooth sailing. While most of the men whipped out their cigarette packs and lit up in the shade, I walked around in the sunshine and used my camera, much to their surprise. A non-smoker, a sunshine loving stranger snapping away, why on earth would he do that. That was their reaction, judging from my mind reading skills. The ferry was completely filled with cars, trucks and motorbikes, but looking at the images below, you get the impression I travelled by myself. Enjoy the view!

The Ferry I

The Ferry II

The Ferry III

The Ferry IV

The Ferry V

Self portrait. (On the left hand side in case you wonder.)

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Site inspection and the accidental tourist in Tra Vinh City

Driving around Tra Vinh City centre.

It started with a phone call. Followed up with a meeting and some coffee. An invite was given and I gladly accepted. Soon I found myself on the way to Tra Vinh, to visit the production facilities of my new client. An impressive site. An equally impressive production line and working environment. I stayed for the night at their guest room that puts plenty of hotel rooms to shame. Woke up to a beautiful sunrise and continued the tour from the day before.

All went well and it was time to head back to Saigon. The car arrived and the driver asked if I would like a small tour around town and off we went. Remarkable contrast. Leaving a site that works with nano technology to enter ancient temple grounds and statues. All within an hour. Enjoy!

Walking through small woods before reaching the temple area.

Smaller temple area.

Statues at your service.



The statue, the tree and the sky.

Spotted inside a truck on the ferry when making the crossing back to Saigon.

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