Friday, 31 January 2014

Day 178 - Tết Day

The fireworks during new year, people drinking, going to karaoke places and then heading home quickly after the fireworks at midnight I kind of expected. The day after was what I did not know exactly what to expect.

The first day of the new year starts with everyone going to the pagodas and temples to pray but since I was a bit lazy, I did not go to the pagodas to take photos.

Once people finish at the pagodas, they head home and to family and friends for the kids to receive their Li Xi, red envelopes with money in them. Once enough envelopes have been collected it's time for gambling.

People in the city go to each other's homes and play cards, people in the villages go to the market place to play the local dice games and make or lose money.

It's pretty cool to see and experience, the roads are empty, shops are mostly closed but you can always spot big groups of people and of course balloons in places and know immediately there's some gambling going on.

It's all pretty orderly and it's very interesting to observe and see how many children try to better their Li Xi purses.

The other very popular new year activity is visiting colleagues and friends places to wish happy new year, have some snacks and of course drinks. This is done alone or mostly in groups so if you are home you need to make sure you have some beers and snacks ready and if you are going from place to place, make sure you have some red envelopes with money ready for the people with kids.

It's been a really fun and very interesting day, it also involved quite a bit to drink.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Day 177 - 'Chúc mưng năm mới' or a Hue Happy New Year!

The last day of the old year according to the Chinese calendar and after having quite a long and wet pre-party yesterday, I took it easy during the day and chilled a bit.

It was pretty quiet around Hue for most of the day anyway but once the sun set, people came out and enjoyed some of the entertainment or some last minute sales shopping.

This was also the last chance to pick something up at the flower market and thanks to discounted prices, quite a few people took home some more flowers.

The traffic was pretty much chaos despite the attempts of police to control it but as usual it kind of works and is a controlled chaos. The traffic in Hue is also much easier to manage then in Hanoi and there are also less people on the roads.

To see the fireworks at midnight I chose a place on the other side of the river as so many other people, too. It is the best spot but I did not think to arrange a chair or table to use as a makeshift tripod for my camera.

The fireworks were quite nice and the spot I picked is certainly one of the best places to see them from but you would need a tripod for your camera to take better photos.

The Sony NEX-3N handled it pretty well and the image stabilizer helped but having no way to et the focus to infinity was frustrating and I had to resort to the poor manual focus without distance markings and which focuses past infinity, it was fiddly and not very nice to say the least.

The fireworks tonight also signaled that the end of my Vietnam stay draws near and it will be time to move on soon on the open road and on to new adventures.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Day 176 - More Flowers from Hue

Another hot and sunny day in Hue and at first I thought about heading out to the countryside to take photos. In the end, I decided to chill and stay in Hue but go for a walk around the park near the flower market.

They have done it up quit nice for New Year and the festival here, there re a lot of flowers and a big bonsai exhibition.

At first there were not too many people but as it got later in the afternoon more people came to take photos.

After the park it was time for another stroll round the flower market although I did not take too many photos there.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Day 175 - People around the Flower Market

Another nice day in Hue and after spending the morning with a friend from Hanoi, I went back to the flower market to take some more pictures.

There were still a lot of people out looking and buying flowers although it seems like the masses of flowers are getting smaller  more and more people buy them in time for the new year.

I focused only on the people this time round a  enjoyed the flowers already yesterday.

The tilt screen on the NEX is great to have and makes hip shooing easier and more enjoyable although it is more difficult to see in direct sunshine than the screens on the Ricoh cameras. For street photography it is great though and one of the best ways to frame your shots.