Vietnam Adventure Part 2
Day 9: Once again we were woken up by the sound of crowing cockerels, which no one was particularly happy about. We then had another delicious breakfast prepared by our hosts, as i recall it was a pancake dish. After applying some mosquito replant and taking our malaria tablets we walked down to the school with the local children who had taken a real shining to us. The students from Valley Park wasted no time in getting to work on the school, with a sold determination to apply a second coat of paint. I began taking photographs of the group as they began painting; for this task I primarily used my 24-105 f4.0 lens as it is superb at delivering solid portraits and covers a wide focal range. Also where I was using my Canon 550D body with a crop sensor it meant the zoom of the lens was slightly magnified, which was beneficial for capturing close ups. After a hard day of work we chose to relax in the evening by playing games with the local children. We also decided to get some exercise by going for a run where we came across a very venomous snake. After our run we went to bed and were lulled to sleep by the sound of crickets and frogs in the neighboring rice fields.
Day 10: After getting up and eating another gorgeous breakfast, we set out to decorate the school with murals. While the students began painting I started to document their artistic process. I also took a wonder along one of the paths to photograph some of the local people and capture the stunning scenery that Nua village had to offer. Later on we held a sports day for the local school children. This consisted of a three legged race, a sac race, some rounders and a game of football. I made sure to get some video footage of the local children interacting with the students from Valley Park as it was certainly a day we all wanted to remember. Before going back to our accommodation we distributed gifts of toys, sports equipment and colouring books to the children. We then walked back to our home stay and stayed up late into the night interacting with the locals, sharing stories and playing cards.
Day 11: We woke up for the final time in Nua, and packed our large rucksacks ready to trek out of the area to a neighboring village named Hieu. After saying a heartfelt goodbye to our hosts and expressing a huge amount of gratitude, we set off into the Vietnamese mountains. I took this final opportunity to capture photographs of the rice field workers. I also captured one last shot of Nua village from a far, which is a sight I will remember for the rest of my life. After several hours of trekking, the blistering heat of the mid day sun started to make the walk less durable but we carried on none the less. I ended up getting heat exhaustion and was treated by our fantastic team leader Linn. She gave me several re-hydration packs and a huge bottle of Fanta (which tastes a lot nicer in Vietnam). When I eventually recovered I began capturing photographs once more and documented the final part of our trek into Hieu village. We met our new hosts and engaged in drinking rice wine to show our gratitude.
Day 12: We had a slight lye in before waking up and packing our bags ready for a short walk to a road head where we caught a bus to Cuc Phuong National park. Here we walked around several animal sanctuaries where I documented the experience with photographs and video. Although shortly after this I came down with a temperature and had to have an early night with a cool can of coke on my head. Thankfully Linn gave me more hydration packs and got me back to full working order by morning.
Day 13: The day started with us catching a bus to view the Hoa Lu temple, which is a highly respected place of worship within Vietnam and one of its holiest sites. I distinctly remember hearing about the past kings of Vietnam, one of whom had over 400 wives. I began capturing photographs of the site for both personal documentation and for True Adventure. I took one photograph of the entire group jumping in front of the entrance to the holy site. After our visit to the temple, we set off to Ninh Binh and spent the night at the long hotel that boasted amazing views and spectacular beds! We went to bed fairly late as my self and the other staff members played cards and shared laughs long into the night.
Day 14: We woke up around 5am (uhhh), grabbed our bags and all wondered why we didn’t go to bed sooner. We stumbled onto the coach and set off to see one of the natural Seven Wonders of the World, Ha Long Bay. It took around six hours to make it to the bay, although just before we went to a pearl factory that sold pearls found in Ha Long bay. We looked in awe at the stunning jewelry was far out of our price range. One at the bay we walked around for a few minutes before we found our boat and set sail. I made sure to take as many photographs as I could, as I knew this was an opportunity I wasn’t likely to get again. I began using my 24-105 as I wanted the definition of the limestone casters to stand out. I later swapped between my 10-24mm for closer shots and my 70-200mm for the shots that required a telephoto lens. I also took the opportunity to capture some HD video of the casters. We finished the boat tour of the unforgettable natural wonder and caught our coach back to Hanoi.
Day 15: On our last full day in Vietnam we decided to do some last minuet shopping, as we wandered the streets I took my final opportunity to capture the essence of the City with my photography. I also visited a local art shop and dreamed I had enough money to buy a large canvas, but unfortunately I didn’t ''sobbing''. I did however buy some small stitch work pieces and some small gifts for my friends and family. While we were slipping through the streets we were also on the lookout for a nice restaurant to have our final meal in Vietnam. In the end we chose a sky lounge with lovely food but the service was terrible. However before that I made sure to capture some more photographs of the mad city streets. For this I made use of my 70-200mm as it drew the subject in and gave the background bokeh which looked visually appealing. As nightfall dessended over Hanoi we ate our final meal and rushed back to the hotel, we chucked our bags on the coach and set off at to the airport. Where our flight departed at 23:55pm and we landed back in the UK around 6.00am
In the end we chose a sky lounge with lovely food but the service was terrible. However before that I made sure to capture some more photographs of the mad city streets. For this I made use of my 70-200mm as it drew the subject in and gave the background bokeh which looked visually appealing. As nightfall dessended over Hanoi we ate our final meal and rushed back to the hotel, we chucked our bags on the coach and set off at to the airport. Where our flight departed at 23:55pm and we landed back in the UK around 6.00am The experience was one that changed my life, which is why I am so in love with travelling. The memories of people you meet and lives you impact stay with your for the rest of your life. I was very pleased however to see the familiar face of my step father when I arrived back at Heathrow.