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!

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.

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?

 

 

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

  1. By now you may know I love photography and let me tell you what I would change in your photographs IS NOTHING. They are absolutely wonderful. I can see the friendliness in the peoples faces. your photos tell a story by there self. Great photos and story. It also shows how compassionately you are.

  2. Important and beautiful presentation! In my opinion most cultures are far better than our western, “modern”, one. It only brings greed and disaster to the people. Where do you see genuine smiles? Where do you find contentment in everyday work and where a peaceful soul? Not here – but there.

    Thank you for taking us to real life despite the hardships.

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    • Agree wholeheartedly Eduardo! There are definitely some things we could learn from them. i found that especially true in Cambodia, where peace after years of turmoil gives them tremendous perspective about whats important in life. Thanks for your visit and comment.

  5. You know the expression”been there done that” isn’t always true. The mind can only retain so much and especially not all the highlights of life’s journey. Seeing all those people again gave me the chance to relive the trip……added to by your quotes. Let’s go somewhere else together. Ok , how about China.

    • Hi Ese, and thanks! Yes, if you think of it, whenever there’s a victory it means there’s been a battle. Never a good thing I suppose. Thanks for your visit and comment.

  6. Hello Tina. I’m Nick.

    I would like to publish a sponsored post (with one link) on your great blog – travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com. Could you please give me the price for the placement of it?

    Please contact me for more details. Thx

    • Hi Nick, thanks very much for your inquiry. Unfortunately WordPress does not allow sponsored links on blogs that do not have their own domain. Appreciate your interest though!

  7. What an AMAZING glimpse into another world!! So bright…colorful…HAPPY..inspiring…we r SO INVOLVED…in what???…sometimes I am not even sure! I loved this journey…thank u for taking me!!

    • Thanks BB, you’re right, it was indeed a privilege. The shoot was especially difficult because we were in moving boats and it was late twilight. But the people were so amazing I thought it was important to try to capture them. Appreciate your lovely comment!

  8. They are all wonderfull Tina. I really was taken with these after having been to China and seeing life totally taking place on a boat. Certainly a huge contrast from our American marinas to those which you captured. I loved this post!

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  12. I am absolutely fascinated by this post… Have read and reread, studied the photos, marveling at the whole existence, color, joy, and seeming peace. Thank you …..

  13. Terrific pictures and interesting to read about these people and their way of life on the water. Also like you thoughts at the end. Great job!

  14. This is what I call priceless and living for the moment. They are one lucky civilization having no concern for the modern world. Thank you for your wonderful post, as ever, Tina.

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  16. I love the information that comes along with your posts, Tina! Some really nice images too..’Three in a window’ is such a beautiful picture. Amazing in every way..The three different expressions, the thoughtful composition, the soft lighting..Love it!

    • Thanks so much Uday. Three in a Window is actually one of my all-time favorites so thanks especially for recognizing it specifically. As always, sincerely appreciate your visit and thoughtful comment.

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  18. What a lovely colourful region! Very photogenic and as usual captured in style by you. Have to say that cat doesn’t look too happy though, can’t blame it surrounded by water as they mostly hate getting wet!

    I wonder whether they teach their children to swim at a young age? I imagine quite a few fall in!
    Jude xx

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