Around the World in 18 Barbers’ Chairs

Sitting in a barber shop in the coastal city of Split, Croatia, I struggled to answer the stylist’s simple question: How long would we be visiting Croatia? I had learned a smattering of Croatian words, but the names of the months had so far escaped me.

Remembering the calendar hanging above my head – albeit adorned with nude calendar girls – I flipped through the weeks and pointed to a date. As I exposed each month’s voluptuous model, the 70-something barber’s moustache-framed mouth curled into a mischievous grin. However awkward the method, I had satisfied his curiosity. Clearly I was in male territory, though.

Continue reading “Around the World in 18 Barbers’ Chairs”

A Vietnamese New Year’s Reminiscence

When I unpacked a red and gold Vietnamese ox ornament last week, it reminded me why I love travel: serendipitous events, cultural immersion, and the opportunity to mingle with unassuming citizen diplomats.

With today being the Vietnamese New Year, or Tết, it seems fitting to reminisce on a Hanoi happening from my travel memory bank that epitomizes all three characteristics.

Continue reading “A Vietnamese New Year’s Reminiscence”

Light Wisdom Inspired by a Sea of Vietnamese Lanterns

By night, Hoi An, Vietnam is transformed into a dazzling paradise glimmering with brilliant silk lanterns, paper luminaries, and warm candlelight. With the sky cloaked in darkness, we strolled by the Thu Bon River and watched as the colorful luminaries danced on the water. Vendors of all ages sold them along the water’s edge to visitors who passed by to admire the night’s splendor.

Continue reading “Light Wisdom Inspired by a Sea of Vietnamese Lanterns”

Scenes from Hoi An, Vietnam

Even on the most overcast of days, Hoi An’s streets are replete with color.

Salespeople stand before crumbling, mustard-colored buildings, enticing the young — and the young at heart — with bunches of fluorescent balloons.

Nearby, market stalls overflow with vibrant-colored produce. There are miniature bananas, silk scarves of every hue, and blue and white dishes with abstract landscapes delicately painted on them.

Fluffy, ginger-colored dogs rest on the pavement, watching the world go by.

And handmade lanterns brighten the streets — by day and by night.

Continue reading “Scenes from Hoi An, Vietnam”

Photo du Jour: Nap Time in Saigon

Despite the noise of thousands of whizzing motorbikes, a man in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam managed to catch some zzzzs in an ergonomically challenging position.

When I snapped this shot, a man looking out the neighboring restaurant window flashed me a wide grin. He signaled his approval of the captured Kodak moment with a hearty thumbs-up.

Continue reading “Photo du Jour: Nap Time in Saigon”

Photo du Jour: East Meets West – Mekong Delta, Vietnam

On a Mekong Delta boat, a woman sporting a traditional Asian nón lá hat, converses with her cowboy hat-clad colleague.

Continue reading “Photo du Jour: East Meets West – Mekong Delta, Vietnam”

To Market, To Market: Scenes From Vietnam

The stalls and baskets of Vietnam’s traditional markets overflow with a colorful spectrum of tempting produce: spiky green durian fruit, porcupine-like pink rambutans, chubby carrots, and spring-green onions that could inflict tickling torture. Ladies clad in nón lá hats share the new day’s gossip while selling mountains of rice paper, slabs of tofu, live chickens, flowers and herbs.

Continue reading “To Market, To Market: Scenes From Vietnam”