Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Tran Hung Dao 8:20 pm

In Writing, South East Asia Photo Album on 2017/12/09 at 17:09

I’m no more than 50 meters from the backpacker ghetto where the restaurants never seem to get enough customers, staff standing on the street trying to entice foreign tourists with their happy hour offers. Here however, not a single person has asked me to go in, yet the restaurants are full, groups of locals having dinner and drinking beer, no booming music just friendly banter. The two scenes so close by, yet the contrast between them is so big.


Just outside Can Tho, 12 noon

In Writing, Place description, Feeling of the moment, South East Asia Photo Album on 2017/12/09 at 17:04

An arrow straight strip of asphalt stretches through the lush landscape out towards the tree line at the horizon. The sun shines brightly from an azure sky filled with dramatic clouds. The speedometer shows a clean 80 kph, ah,I feel so alive.

Buddha hand cave 4:40 pm

In Place description, Writing on 2017/11/11 at 14:14

The place looks like a normal temple from the outside, the facade covered in typical temple temple decorations with the name above the door. Once you get inside you realize it’s actually a cave, a wide tunnel burrowing some 10 or 20 meters into the rock, divided into two sections by a concrete wall. Each section has an altar against the back wall, as well as all the other paraphernalia that belong to a temple. The walls are bare rock, with carvings and niches for statues here and there, and then, in the corner next to one of the altars is a small opening. Walking inside you realize it’s an extension of the cave, a narrow crevice shooting off from the main cave like a tendril, digging itself deeper into the mountain. The walls are so close together that there’s only room for one person, barely even that at times, and it winds its way forward widening and narrowing at intervals. The walls are smooth reddish brown rock, covered with inscriptions, some that look official and some that are more akin to graffiti. People who dare enter this narrow passage are guided along their way by fluorescent lights placed at intervals and each of these lights have their own little micro climate as moss has started to grow on the walls, drawing energy from the light and heat they provide.

Further in the passage starts to smell strongly of incense and the air is filled with smoke making it hard to see. Finally the passage widens into a small chamber, big enough for maybe two or three people. At the back wall is a small shrine, a square box covered in white tiles with a Buddha figurine in the center, and a stick of incense burning in a pot. Beside it, the passage continues for a few meters but is blocked off by a big block of stone.

Campbell Lane, 1:39 pm

In Feeling of the moment, Place description, Writing on 2017/10/06 at 16:22

I’m in the most amazing market I have ever seen. The entire street is full of stalls, crammed so tightly together it’s impossible to know where one ends and the next one begins. In the the middle of the stalls is a narrow passage that is so full of people, both locals and tourists, that you can hardly turn around without bumping in to anyone. Nearly every vendor in the market is selling things for the upcoming Deepavali festival. There are entire walls covered in garlands of artifical flowers; there are tables laden with boxes of fireworks; and from the canvas roof hang thousands upon thousands of strings of jewelry: long rows of pearls interspersed with gilded pieces of metal, rings bells, leaves and all manner of other shapes; glass beads in bright colors, ruby red and emerald green, framed in gold; brightly colored hemispheres like little umbrellas inlaid with pieces of mirror glass that sparkle in the light. These decorative, bejewled strings hang so low they almost touch the top of your head and if you stop to look up for a moment they are right in front of your nose; there’s so much that it’s almost overwhelming, I find it hard to describe it in a way that does it justice. This kind of extravagance, all gold and pearls, is not my style at all, but I can’t help but be amazed at the sheer amount.

Fort Canning Hill, 4:16 pm

In Place description, Writing on 2017/10/05 at 10:31

Even with the lens of my camera set to the widest setting, a photograph cannot do justice to the tree in front of me. I’ve seen big trees before, ones that are much taller than average and ones whose trunk is so thick it would take ten people, their arms wide open touching finger tip to finger tip, to reach around it, but nothing like this. This is gigantic in every way. The trunk is thick and tall with knots and bulges here and there, forming a stout base that stands halfway down a slope and extends upwards, towering above the plateau I’m standing on. The branches, each as long and as thick as your average tree, fan out from the trunk, splitting and branching off at intervals to form a huge network of wooden limbs. On top of the branches rests a massive canopy of green leaves that throws its shade over a large portion of the hill side. I stand in awe, trying to think of the proper way to describe something as simple as a tree yet made complex by sheer size.

Meihouman waterfall 2:36 pm

In Place description, Poetic prose, Writing on 2017/10/01 at 15:47

It’s the type of waterfall you might read about in an adventure novel or see in an Indiana Jones movie; the stream goes tumbling over the edge some twenty or thirty meters above the valley, twisting and turning in the air then hitting a large rock at the bottom, sending plumes of spray high into the air. The sound is like that of torrential rain or a faucet opened at maximum, the rush as the water falls through the air and the deep booming when it hits the bottom. The day is still yet here at the fall the rush of the water causes a cool breeze to blow.  The spray is caught by the breeze and spreads out like a thin mist, creating a kind of natural air condition for us as we sit here on a large boulder looking up at the fall. The sun catches in the mist, forming a rainbow that hangs in the air above the pool of clear blue water and dark boulders. I let my gaze wander upwards along the smooth wet cliff face, only a few cracks running across its surface, to green canopy above and the blue sky in the gap over the river. The water that comes tumbling over the edge flows and billows in the breeze, like a cloud of smoke on a windy day, the movement is almost mesmerizing. I remain seated on my boulder for a few minutes, a feeling of contentment inside me.

Long Dong beach, 1:15 pm

In Reflections, Writing on 2017/09/23 at 15:11

The cliffs look kind of precarious and I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible to continue; there is a ledge but it looks dangerously thin, there are some step like formations that I could reach if I go down closer to the water but I’m not sure they are climbable. I sit down to contemplate my options for a minute then decide to go for the steps…

Mountain road outside Hsinchu, 4:41 pm

In Place description, Writing on 2017/09/11 at 15:13

The rain is truly torrential now, large drops falling at a  rapid pace. The road we’re on has turned into a veritable river; dead leaves and other debris from the surrounding jungle have been washed out onto the road and gotten caught on the edges of the many cracks in the asphalt, forming little islands here and there. The road is steep enough for a current to form, it keeps splitting and reconnecting as it flows around the little islands, even building up swells as it passes around some of the bigger ones. Separate streams flow down the ditches on the side of the road, white, foaming torrents that plunge down the mountain. I keep riding upwards, the gear low and the engine gunned, there is nowhere else to go and no cover to hide under. What rain clothes we have are insufficient for the onslaught of heavy rain, this is absolute misery, but there is nothing for it, forward is the only direction that will bring us closer to a hot shower.

NTU hospital, 1:04 pm

In Feeling of the moment, Place description, Writing on 2017/08/17 at 08:40

I’m half sitting in my hospital bed, not much to do except letting my eyes wander about the room. To the right, the peach colored curtain separating me from the next bed, to the left leather clad visitor chair and the light switches on the wall marked A and B. The ceiling above with the four fluorescent tubes casting their sterile light over the room, next to it the grating covering the ventination, the smoke detector off to the side, and the rail for the curtain running like railroad tracks through the landscape. My main companion, the cream colored wall in front of me, the big clock with the red hand shaving off the seconds, four little information posters, the one in the middle featuring a cartoon nurse and the one below it, an old man falling over, and below them, the alcohol dispenser and hand washing instructions.

I have an IV but it’s not the kind of nutrient solution you’d expect, but rather antibiotics, penicillin straight into my bloodstream. I have a strange kind of pain from the IV, a feeling like ice is being pumped through my veins, from the needle in my hand up along my arm. Looking at the clock ticking away the seconds much too slowly and spelling out this text in my head is all I can do to distract myself from the pain.

Sankta Maria Magdalena Katolska Församling, 2:30 pm

In Place description, Writing on 2017/05/06 at 14:50

A woman stands to the right of the altar, her voice fills the church with clear, warm tones and the people in the pews listen to her song with rapt attention. In the front of the altar, right at the center of attention stands my friend,  turned to the side to face the singer, his arm around the woman at his side. He is dressed in a tuxedo with a white jacket, she in a light, pure white dress, her hair done up in a kind of bun, lots of little white flowers dotted throughout. The bride and groom look at each other smiling, their eyes sparkling with love. The light falls down on them from above, making it look like they are shining, their for each other almost tangible.