Hong Kong is one of my most favourite places I’ve been to. It’s been coming up on my newsfeed these days for worrying reasons, unfortunately. Although, I’ve only been a few times, each time it has left a sea of impressions. Whether it’s dense city life, food, people, the outdoors, the hills or the sea, the city hits it out of the park with what it has to offer. Living so close, I should really be making my way there more frequently…. once one can easily travel again of course.
This weekend I joined some friends on a hike, about 2 hours north of Yangon. The city has a small reputation for not having lots of options for day trip getaways, particularly in the rainy season. A short jungle hike certainly is an option if spending time outdoors is your thing.
Not necessarily a challenging hike but the monsoon, the changing weather conditions and the (at times surprisingly pleasant) weight of constantly being wet add a flavour to the walk. In an odd way, the mud and humidity reminded me of hiking in the rainforests of British Columbia. Except for fewer bears and more machete wielding to make way.
This was a lucky shot. I was in a Paris metro chatting away with my friend when the wagon slipped above ground. I quickly grabbed my camera and tried to capture the view. The autofocus did its job and fortunately the Eiffel tower got into the frame, top to bottom, right before it disappeared again a fraction of a second later.
The new world of travel restrictions has put a break on cross-continental travel for now. On the other hand, it’s been a good opportunity to organize myself and sort out albums from previous travels.
Lisbon is a hilly city, getting on top of some may require more effort than others … depending on how hot the day is. But it’ll most likely guarantee a nice view. This one was a hot and colourful day and provided for a warm and colourful view.
As cities around the world are slowly starting to ease their lockdowns, so has life started to return to Yangon. Having spent most of the last several months cooped up alone in the apartment, there is a well-developed itch to spend more time outdoors. Case loads in Yangon have been low and life has been rushing to “normal” for several weeks. Traffic feels like it’s almost back to its usual chaotic self, street vendors have taken back their corners, construction workers are back to laying bricks.
An upside to having my routine disrupted is that it rendered time for reflection of what it is I enjoy and don’t enjoy spending time on. Photography being one of the former, I rushed myself out for an aimless wander … for the first in a loooong time. I first thought I’d challenge myself to try something new and stick to shooting only in black and white. But it turns out I had missed colour more than I thought – a black and white wonder around town will have to wait for another day.
There was little deliberation about where to go on my first outing outside of the regular shopping trips – downtown, no question. Maybe it’s the lockdown effect but even after 4 years of living here, a few hours of an afternoon sun interrupting the monsoon rains are still just as exciting. On days like today, it’s hard not to feel that downtown Yangon is just magic. It’d take more than than a short blog to muster a description worth the city’s energy. You’d have to content with what comes out of the back of the camera.
Stay safe and take care of others, wherever you are!
P.S. I’ve been testing a vintage 50 mm Minolta lens. If you find some pics out of focus, it’s because I’m still feeling my way around its focus ring 🙂
Bagan is the most known place in Myanmar. Pictures of air balloons towering over the remains of thousands of temples and pagodas have become a standard for the many tourists who visit the ancient city. Even those not in the habit of waking up early will find the experience of catching the sunrise worth it.
The place and the atmosphere are no doubt unique. The never-ending temples open themselves up one after another along the plains. It can make you wonder how much energy and commitment has gone into the construction of over 4,000 sites between the 11th and 13th centuries. Not surprisingly, that energy and where it came from provides a strong sense of pride for many in the country.
Owing to the nascent stage of the country’s tourism industry, one can still find a sense of harmless adventure by zipping around on dusty roads in a rented e-scooter. Several years of living in Myanmar have taken me to Bagan multiple times. But only a few weeks ago was my first visit properly equipped with a camera and an above-average sense of curiosity. This was also the first time I took my new wide camera lens out for some air, which was pretty handy in tighter corners in between temples. (For those interested, the lens used for the wider shots is the 12 mm Rakinon).