17 July 2010

Catching a Buzz

My good friend and seasoned traveler Leah Olson discovered weasel coffee during the several months that she lived and backpacked in Vietnam. She regurgitates what she found in an article about the country for Ethos Magazine, which I was proud to provide the photos for.

I often write in coffee shops - I settle into a freshly brewed cup of java and flow to the caffeine buzz that follows, attempting to sync head and hands completely as I convert rambling thoughts into text-heavy journal pages. Here's a direct excerpt from one of the best coffee producers in the world.

I'm in tune with the rhythm of the world today. I'm marching to the beat of whatever grand drum is pounding out there and somehow finding contentment in the midst of the insane chaos that is Ho Chi Minh. Maybe it's timing, maybe I'm becoming a skilled traveler, or maybe I lucked out. I'm sipping caramel coffee at Trung Nguyen. Body and mind are at peace while buzzing motos speed past, flashing lights in the coffee shop window. We're in writing moods, occasionally stopping to share excerpts, jotting and sipping. We are right in line with today's cadence. While in Vietnam I'm finding the universe. 

12 July 2010

A Place to be Savored

The Mekong Delta dominates Southern Vietnam. It's a 15,000-square mile network of channels and streams that empty into the Mekong River. Known as Vietnam's "rice basket," the region feeds the rest of the country, in essence. And it's the lush home for countless species, more than one thousand of them which were discovered within the last decade. Recent news articles spout conflicting opinions about the future of the delta, some in favor of mass preservation of the area, and others hoping to develop it with more extensive infrastructure. With 10 million tourists who have already visited this year, I'm not surprised the Mekong Delta is high on media radar.

I'm also not surprised at that striking number of tourists -it's a beautiful place. It makes for relaxing days of floating down canals on sam pam rowing boats while munching on sweet lychee fruit, swaying side to side in hammocks above the water to the sounds of banjo bands behind, and strolling through the waterside marketplaces. There is locally farmed honey and coconut candy called Que Dua to taste.

Life moves a little slower on the delta. It's simplistic. Neighborly. Archaic even. These photos remind me of the authenticity of that place, and the fact that it should be savored.