Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Long day

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Quick street portrait from earlier today, taken in the An Duong neighbourhood of Hanoi, between the dyke road and the river. It’s blisteringly hot during the day at the moment, so I’ve been shooting in the late afternoon and early evening a lot over the last couple of weeks. I suppose this is a different take on yesterday’s “end of the day” theme. I’ll put together a longer post or two some time soon, but for now, I’ll keep posting single pictures.

Run run run

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I took lots of photographs at the weekend, more than I’ve taken for ages. Here’s one. Hanoi really can be beautiful when it’s in the right mood. More soon.

Stormy weather

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Hanoi was doing its stormclouds and sunshine thing earlier on today. This shot was taken from my roof at about six in the evening, just as the thunderbolts and lightning were getting going. By my guess, the end of this particular rainbow is the site of the R ‘n’ R Tavern on Nghi Tam street, an unlikely location for a pot of gold.

Streets of Mandalay

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Mandalay is a slightly odd city, full of history, but a little neglected in the present day. Flat, laid out in straight lines and right angles, and with no obvious centre, it’s not immediately appealing in the same way as Yangon, but there’s plenty to see if you wander round the right corner. I enjoyed walking and driving around on my rented motorbike, exploring the markets and streets.

The men in the picture above are playing chinlone, a kind of keepy-uppy game played with a ball made from rattan. It’s a common sight in open spaces throughout Myanmar.

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The buddha factory

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Wandering around the southern part of Mandalay’s central grid, looking for a pagoda that I never found, I came across a row of workshops where buddha statues were being made. The air was thick with dust as workmen used circular saws to cut away extraneous rock and reveal the buddha figures hidden within. Women cleaned and polished and provided the finishing touches. Half-finished statues, their bodies perfectly crafted but their heads still unformed, clustered together in the morning sun. Others, victims of some error or flaw, lay abandoned amid piles of rubble. In other workshops, craftsmen busied themselves with making gold-plated ornaments, such as the conical htis that sit on top of Burmese pagodas.

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