Under Great Northern Skies

31 images Created 14 Sep 2011

In my travels at least, I don't think I've ever found a nation that differs so vastly from north to south as does Vietnam. According to my own admittedly made-up lore, I imagine the great hills and sharp peaks of the North as the scaly, rugged head of the dragon, as the body winds its way down the majestic panoramas of coastline, ending in a collection of watery tails in the Mekong Delta.

These images, captured on two visits so far, are a look at the life and land of Vietnam's great North. Busy city streets are nowhere to be found. Instead, bikes only moderately more durable than scooters ply their way up and down the pastoral slopes on imperfect trails, and trucks wind their way though endless curvature as the roads ascend and fall, all at a snails pace compared to the clip of city life. The work to be done comes in a much more manual flavor than it does in the cities as well, even where most earn their living only by long days and the sweat of their brow. Here, a living can only be borrowed from the soil. Nothing precious is given without effort.

And of course the faces are measurably different too. The Kinh features and language that can become so familiar to us who've spent a number of years here, are traded for ethnic features, dress and cultures in numerous varieties, 54 if I'm not mistaken.

These hills hold great intrigue for me, offering sights and scenes not found anywhere else in the country, and I will surely make my way back again soon, when I hear the dragon calling myself and my lens away from the city and toward the great northern skies.
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