Saturday, July 21, 2012

Floating Village Life

I am completely fascinated by how people live their lives. 

I like to know how people spend their time, what their hopes and dreams are and generally what makes them tick. 

I'm particularly intrigued at how different cultures go about meeting the same basic daily needs we all have in common, like cooking, eating, cleaning, working and caring for our families and children.

I'd much prefer to live in a country and learn the local language so I can really get to understand the people on a more intimate level than doing a quick 'surface' trip of their country.

Are any of you like this too?

It probably explains why I loved living in Germany as a 15 year old exchange student and then spent another year in Canada while at University. I have spent a lot of time travelling around Asia too and dedicated an entire degree to learning about the history, culture, and politics when I undertook a Bachelor or Asian Studies Degree along with my Bachelor of Laws Degree. 

As much as I enjoyed my previous work life, I do sometimes wonder why I became a Lawyer when, instead of representing a Client's interest, I would be much more interested in why they signed that stupid piece of paper, why they cut someone out of their will, why they thought mowing the lawn was a good idea when they were supposedly confined to a wheel chair and what on earth they were thinking renovating without a contract. But more on career stuff later.

My favourite thing about Vietnam was visiting a Floating Village on Halong Bay and getting a tiny glimpse into their lives of the locals for a day.

Watching them spend time and interact with their families.

At work.

Making Pearls.

The kids pottering around.

Windows open to let the fresh air in.

They keep pets and drink Coke.

They hang out their washing.

They relax in hammocks. Some homes are more carefully decorated than others with their brightly coloured facades, pot plants, hammocks and a TV's. 

While others are more modest. I like the way the clothes are thrown over the line here (a bit like my lounge room at the moment) and the way they have recycled some old washing baskets to use as pot plant holders.

They kick their feet up.

The kids explore their neighbourhood.

They go to school unless it's school holidays.

The public school relies on external funding - it's universal isn't it? Interestingly, Killara High School was one of our local High School's where we lived in Sydney.

They play with their teddies.

And catch up with neighbours and play games.

I loved watching the kids, clearly missing my own.

To me, it's a beautiful, simple life. 

Looking at these photos again reminds me of just how similar we all are when it all comes down to it and just reinforces my resolve to live more simply and resourcefully and to limit the amount of time I dedicate to my first-world problems. I really get irritated sometimes living in this privileged country with a ridiculous amount of choice at my disposal and my inability to make quick decisions on materialistic things. I therefore only spent 20 minutes at the hardware store today picking out a shade of grey paint from the millions available. Sigh.

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!


  1. What glorious photos - so interesting to witness first hand the ways of other cultures x

  2. Fantastic photos - and a great dose of perspective.
    I also spent far too long agonising over a paint palette in Bunnings today!!
    :-) xx

  3. Lovely photos, it's funny how different cultures seem so very, very different and at the same time quite similar. It's still Saturday here but fingers crossed for a rain free Sunday, the UK is having a very wet summer up to now!

  4. Great photos. I wonder if they all the children learn how to swim? Scary thought!

  5. What fabulous photos! I adored visiting the floating village in Cambodia and was fascinated at how pristine white the children's school shirts were! Your 10 day getaway looks like it was fantastic! xx

  6. Hey Mel welcome back!! I spent a lot of time in Vietnam snd I remember halong bay just the same as your pics. Always wondered how on earth the digs got any exercise then realised silly me they must swim a lot. I also fell into a rice paddy on catba island after harvest. Not a great thing to do cos boy are those stalks sharp! :) Amazing how folk live their lives and how lucky are we to grow whatever food we can in backyards we actually have for our own private use. Love your pics x

  7. Oh thank you so much for sharing these amazing pics Mel, they are fantastic. To be given an insight into a little village like that, is such a privilege for me. I have never travelled and I know there is so much I'm missing out on. I'd love to do it all one day... just finding that day is the question. You're such an interesting person and always a fabulous read.
    Hope you're feeling chipper again, you must be close to half way, yeah!? Very exciting xoxo

  8. Such glorious images Mel, and I absolutely share the sentiments. What a life enhancing holiday you guys had :D

    A little replacement parcel will be headed your way by the end of the week x

  9. Such a fab and insightful post, Mel. I feel like I'm skimming calmly along on that water with you. I can't wait to catch up and hear more! J x

  10. the pictures, stories thoughts....
    I would love to visit there...what an experience!!

  11. p.s. I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  12. Mel...these are wonderful, each and every one. I hear you on all fronts. As we drive around Saigon, I am just stunned by what I see. I love it and am saddened by it at the same time. So much to process and understand as I think of our life in England just a few short weeks ago. We do take so much for granted. I am curious to see how I will feel about it all when I head back to the USA for a visit in a few weeks. Talk about marked contrasts....
    Love your photography have a great eye. :)