Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Old Man by the Sea

I came off a small boat and onto the shores at a small fishing village. I was at a small island south of Phu Quoc, Island. Around a cove were straw huts and shacks that were the homes of a fishermen. One such man sat outside his home and called out to me;"Zero calorie, zero calorie..." this man spoke out as he sipped his zero calorie beverage which accompanied his lunch of fish, rice, and a cigarette. He kept laughing and smiling as he pointed at his drink. Then he waved a fish and offered it to me. Here I am on a remote island fishing hamlet and this happens. It's what one would call an unforgettable and somewhat surreal moment. He was funny, he was jubilant, and he kept insisting I sit and eat with him.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breaking a Horse In Mongolia

Kharakhorim, Mongolia; This was taken in a valley about 2 hours off road from the main hamlet of Kharakhorim. Here a friend of mine is showing how they break horses. The young pony bucks and fights so wildly that the rider falls off. Although their size and height is considerably less than that of horses elsewhere. Mongolian horses are very strong, study footed, and suited for arid summers and severely harsh winters.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shadow of the Mountain

Of all the years I've lived in Japan and saw Mount Fuji; this day's sunset was by far one of the most amazing. I took this around 5:00 PM from my terrace in Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo. Were were driving home and as we neared my apartment I noticed a brilliance in the horizon. I ran upstairs to my apartment and grabbed my Nikon from my desk. Then proceeded to my terrace. What I witnessed was magical. The cold sky was lit with golden casts of light. Shades of blues with grays and the silver lining of clouds captured Fuji-San's shadow. I don't know if there's a special Japanese expression to depict the occurrence when their most sacred mountain casts a shadow if itself in the sky. Regardless, named or unnamed it was powerful.

" Cyclo." One of my favorite films is named after one and was about a driver whoworked this type of push bike. Tricycle Rickshaws with human beasts of burden. This is a shot of of one of the last few working one's in Vietnam. Years ago there were more of these on the roads than scooters. Now, not many are left that are used for local transport and the laborers who drive them are restricted to certain roads. The more decorative ones are primarily tourist attractions and take only the scenic routes. Cyclos are beautiful and iconic to Vietnam. I'll miss them when they are gone completely. Some of my best memories with my grandmother were of long rides in one of these through the dusty streets and countryside.

Master of Chickens

It was sort of like watching an old scruffy has been Kung Fu Master training a revenge seeking delinquent in a badly dubbed Saturday Afternoon TV special. Or Yoda showing moves to his hopeless prodigy. That was my thought when my motorbike passed this bungalow nestled way off the main roads within some very dense foliage. Looks like this guy trains and fights chickens. Not something I advocate, but I have to say his training and set up was amusing. Witness the the ring made of fishing nets. The special area set aside for training. The carefully swept ground. Sort of a dojo that's run a fowl. The master sits as his caged fury waits to inherit some more killer moves. I climbed off my bike struck some senseless conversation with master. Heard a lot of ranting about what he and his chickens do. But as I'm not a betting man, I found it wiser to shoot and then just ride away and leave before some rebel clan of chickens sack and burn the place down. If that were to happen; do I hear a sequel?