A fingertip brush with Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Halong Bay & Hanoi

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos of there (and also here, here and here).

Straddling time in a city of two names, swarms of motorbikes and leaps of faith, a tingling discovery of the joy of anytime Phô, miniature universes contained in alleyways, tangles of wires and reactions, lonesome brooms, contorted napping, attempted scams and highway men in tuk-tuks, billboards, propaganda and a museum proclaiming “historical truths”, a glimpse of the penmanship of victors, the warm smiles of strangers, imaginings of the East that brought us here, fingerings of bolts of blues, of greys, the smoothness of cotton and bliss of cashmire, envelopment in swathes of raw white silk, a necessary twist of imagination, giants among tiny smiling ladies, the balance between anticipation and trepidation, the thinking of thoughts and a grapple, blues and greens so stark, eyes half open, the clatter of our ancient bikes past the paddy fields to the beach, tubby boats marooned on pale shores, holidays within holidays, the singular bliss that is a fresh cold coconut, night-time wanderings past painted silken lanterns and floating glimmers, an emotional farewell to Damien’s faithful backpack, the river and the joy of lemon meringue teatimes, the warm sharp fussing of our Hoi An hostess, a magical kitchen and questionable ingredients, the simple and exquisite pleasure of longans, humped karst islands and a slow drifting, an initiation into late-night karaoke duets, the itch to escape the sweaty herds of tourists, a curiosity of choices, the incredible hospitality of a friend’s friend, last minute treats and the savouring of moments, the reality of going home, knots and butterflies and hopes and possibilities for the future …

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Perfection, adventure and the absence of words in the Philippines

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien, en français. And click here for the photos of there! (or here, and also here)

As I sit here at my glass-topped table looking out my rain-streaked windows, the Philippines seem like a million miles away. Words slip away from me, like water through my fingers. It feels like a place I’ve imagined into being. The strangest thing is that it felt like that when I was there, the sun on my face and the warm, soft sand between my toes. Am I, was I dreaming?

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Learning to Breathe in Bali

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien, en français. Click here for the photos of there.

Lead and light in Tulambden

An endless, flat, black sky spits and drizzles into a dark swollen sea. Our hotel is perched on a cliff edge. The wooden lats of the blind snap and clatter against the concrete walls. Fat drops pit the rough, black sand of the empty beach and Damien and I look at each other. Bali? Ok so this definitely isn’t how I had imagined Bali when the imaginings were imagined but being Irish, some strange little part of me has missed the rain. That same strange little part of me purrs a little. Ah rain.

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