Posts Tagged ‘street photography’

It’s been a wet month:
red umbrella

rainy day women



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One of my last photos taken in Phnom Penh, July 10.

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Hanoi’s Old Quarter is amazing. Warrens of narrow alleys, spontaneous street markets, ancient pagodas and crumbling colonial-era buildings. I ignored the map and spent three hours exploring this remnant of Old Asia.


Bicycles are the most convenient way to get around the Old Quarter.


Typical alley. Those stencils are phone numbers (no one could really explain them to me) and were painted everywhere in the Old Quarter.

early morning

Selling eggs, 7AM.

fruit vendor

Fruit vendor.

beer cache

Loading crates of beer on motos for delivery.


Decrepit apartment near Bach Ma pagoda.

flower vendor

Flowers for sale.

chinese lantern

Chinese lantern at Bach Ma pagoda

cigarette vendor

Cigarette vendor counting dong.


Respect for Uncle Ho.


Porcelain in an unknown pagoda near my hotel.

More from the Old Quarter here.

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I only had one day to check out Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City (most residents still call the central city by its pre-1975 name), so I had big plans and a full itinerary mapped out. But my immune system failed me at a crucial moment and I woke up the day of my departure with a full-blown cold. Needless to say, the 6-hour drive in a packed minibus was not enjoyable. Saigon reminded me of Bangkok, except smaller and without guys trying to con you into buying bogus gems. I kind of liked it, despite the circumstances.

Managed to rouse myself early the next morning for a thorough exploration of the Cholon District, a sort of Chinatown 7km southwest of downtown.


binh tay market

First stop was the Binh Tay Market, which was like pretty much every other big Southeast Asian market I’ve seen. Entire sections devoted to solely to hats, strange herbs, cooking utensils etc. If I ever need 400 bottles of fish sauce I know where do go. Some good early morning street photos here.

binh tay market

The market spilled into side streets and the whole area was bustling with commerce.

cholon alley

Cholon is noted for its many Chinese pagodas. I visited three or four.


Very atmospheric, with swirling smoke from incense and ornate decoration.






The humidity was absolutely killer by noon and I needed a nap. In the late afternoon I went to the War Remnants Museum, which had an interesting but somewhat one-sided perspective of the Vietnam War. One highlight was a section showcasing the work of photojournalists who died during the war.


Outside was a collection of captured American guns, aircraft, tanks etc.



I didn’t have the energy to take more photos of Saigon, and I was going to be back for one night on July 4th. At least that was the plan until Jetstar Pacific dropped the ball and canceled my flight without telling me, forcing me to stay another night in Hanoi and drop big money on a direct flight to Phnom Penh. More on this later. And more of the Saigon set here.

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One afternoon along Sothearos Boulevard, Phnom Penh:


Vendor selling some sort of meat snack.


Kids let out of school at 5pm. Instant traffic jam.

phillies fan



$0.50 for an open-air haircut.

motorbike repair

Hanging tires signals a roadside motorbike repair station.


Random slogan on the wall of a construction site. Not sure what this even means.


Playing with pipes at a specialty shop along Sothearos.


Man sharpening knives.


strange ancient furniture

A store claiming to sell “strange” and “ancient” furniture. Not really.


Scavenging for bottles to recycle outside a beer garden.

glass case

Transporting a glass case. Disaster waiting to happen.




Car washer taking a break.



Squatters’ tenements near St. 294.

street sign

Street sign in need of some maintenance.


Cars are usually left in neutral so they can be pushed to new parking spots.


Traffic at dusk.


More from Sothearos Boulevard here.

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I spent most of my second day in Bangkok lost in Chinatown. Normally I hate being lost, but this time it was by design. My cartoonish tourist map was worthless and trying to figure out which tiny alley I was on quickly proved impossible. So I scrapped whatever plans I had and just wandered through the labyrinthine neighborhood, taking photos and feasting on delicious street food.

chinatown traffic

Traffic was typical Bangkok until you ducked down one of the side streets.



These were possibly the best chicken skewers I’ve ever had. 5 baht each.


Some sort of glutinous rice cake deep-fried and coated with sugar. Delicious.

corn vendor

Steamed sweet corn. Almost as good as in the Midwest.


Street conversation.


Typical Chinatown soi.

fresh fish

Fresh fish at a market.

street beauty

Street beautician plucking facial hair using thread.


Around lunchtime open-air restaurants spring up on the sidewalks, serving all kinds amazing curries, soups and noodle dishes.




Rest of the Chinatown set here.

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He wanders the streets around my place, always wearing the same black trousers. Sometimes he carries a round stone the size of a canteloupe, which he places in random spots along the street. Other times he stares into space, not moving for hours. I couldn’t figure him out. The other day, though, I met a former resident of street 312 who filled me in on his story. Apparently he was a soldier who fought against the Khmer Rouge in the early 90’s. Today he lives on the street, suffering from post-traumatic stress. Cambodia evidently doesn’t take care of veterans with mental health problems, so he makes his home on a garbage heap outside Wat Prayuvan. The moto guys who hang out outside my door pay him 100 riels (about 2.5 cents) per day for food. In return, he occasionally sweeps the street for stray leaves and gravel.

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