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DP Challenge: Victory; the Water Villages of Ha Long Bay, VN

“Great victory requires great risk.”

Hera

COLORFUL COTTAGE
COLORFUL COTTAGE

Today’s DP challenge is victory.  Although not obvious, I’ve chosen to illustrate the concept by posting about the people of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.  Ha Long Bay is a gloriously beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site made up of amazing limestone rock formations across a blue-green sea.  Here’s a shot of a boat similar to the one on which we sailed.  Sadly, last year one of these boats sank in the middle of the night and many of the passengers died.

SUNSET SAILS
SUNSET SAILS

“The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.”

Brandon Sanderson

Ha Long translates to “descending dragon” and comes from the legend that the Vietnamese were sent dragons from heaven to help them defeat their enemies in ancient times. Well known for its amazing scenery, Ha Long Bay is also home to an incredible community of people who live their entire lives on the water.  Many of them have never seen land, and marriages often take place between young people whose villages are located around the next bend in the water. The exceptions are those few who take the daily catch to seafood buyers who meet them along the shore to buy the result’s of the day’s efforts.

DRINKS ANYONE?
DRINKS ANYONE?

“Compassion crowns the soul with its truest victory.”

Aberjahani

Beyond fishing, a key source of revenue for the community is the income derived from tourists like ourselves, who marvel at their lives and their industry – and of course who often purchase their offerings or pay for a short boat tour through their community.

SHE SELL SEA SHELLS
SHE SELLS SEA SHELLS

“Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat for it is momentary.”

Mahatma Gandhi

We found them happy, friendly, and incredibly busy.  They were surrounded by the most amazing colors; bright, vivid and oh so  photogenic!

CHECKING THE NETS
CHECKING THE NETS
HARD AT WORK
HARD AT WORK

“Tomorrow’s victory is today’s practice.”

Chris Bradford

Our overriding impression was that their lives on the water must be incredibly difficult.  That notwithstanding, so many of the floating homes we saw were filled with children and pets – all seemingly content with their lot in life.

FUTURE FISHERMAN
FUTURE FISHERMAN
CAT ON A HOT ROUND TIRE
CAT ON A HOT ROUND TIRE

“An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.”

Millard Fillmore

There were so many fascinating sights we hardly knew where to look.  We were taken on a small boat (piloted in our case by a very able older woman) around the community to observe the people who lived there – all of them remarkably unconcerned about our curiosity.

WHAT TOURISTS ?!
WHAT TOURISTS ?!
OPTIMIZED SPACE
MULTIPLE LINES

“Color is the overpowering of black; white – the final victory over black.”

Dejan Stojanovic

Most interesting to me were the children.  They were happily playing and doing all of the things kids do when they haven’t a care in the world.  Clearly for them, life on the water was nothing unusual at all.

TESTING THE WATERS
TESTING THE WATERS
WHO'S DRIVING?
WHO’S DRIVING?

“Victory is always bittersweet.”

Nadia Scrieva

Of course, for the entire community, boats are critically important.  And we saw them everywhere we looked, in various states of repair.

PARKED
PARKED
STILL AFLOAT
READY FOR ACTION

“The tough challenges we encounter make us stronger, and wiser.  With each victory we gain something of value; our character is strengthened.”

Ellen J. Barrier

At the end of the day though, it was all about the people.  No matter their age or position, they were smiling and happy – welcoming us at every turn.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD
WELCOME TO MY WORLD
THREE IN A WINDOW
THREE IN A WINDOW
MILLION DOLLAR SMILE
MILLION DOLLAR SMILE

“The greatest victory in life is to rise above the material things that we once valued most.”

Muhammad Ali

Think about it;  no TV, no IPOD/IPAD/IMAC, no radio, no internet and no newspapers, just a busy life on the water surrounded by family and friends.  We left the experience feeling that these smiling people had achieved a personal victory over the challenges of their difficult lives and over the whims of nature and life on the sea. Who’s to say theirs is not a victory worthy of our admiration?

To see more of today’s Daily Post responses, click here.

 

 

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99 thoughts on “DP Challenge: Victory; the Water Villages of Ha Long Bay, VN Leave a comment

  1. Fantastic post Tina! I love the portrait shots you took! The floating villages of Ha Long are definitely an eye opener to the many different lifestyles that people around the world have. The village I went to had a bit more luxury though – they had generators and therefore, tv, at least for a few hours each night! 🙂

  2. This is one of the most beautiful blogpost I have seen on travel and esp. travel and women! In their own way, they related to you and your camera, telling that glimpse o a story of their life story, not only model for you ;)! I love the spirit of the elder ladies and the editorial rights they asked for! Had a similar experience in Morocco, only that my pictures didn’t turn out nice and since we were a groups (photography course), they were tired so that I surrendered. However,I caught a beautiful portrait of the young son of the house, if which I am quite proud of.
    How do you do it? I am rather shy and introverted and am apprehensive abt asking pple fo a picture and probably have missed many a picture because of that….
    These lades seemed very at ease with you
    ,

    • What a lovely compliment, thank you so much! Each of the ladies was quite different from the others. In many cases they were as curious about me as I was with them so that helped. Also I think my cameras were something they don’t see often so that made them curious too. Some, like the 2 older ladies, were just having fun with the idea . The Yao ladies were very proud and happy to show off a bit. I’m shy as well and often will shoot first and ask later. No one ever got upset with me and very few (altho there were some) said no. When all else fails, compose around the person’s back as I did on the last shot. That can create a nice effect as well! Appreciate your visit and comment!

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