I was the first one who walked upstairs and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The view was fantastic but what I loved even more was the have a couple of quiet and peaceful minutes on the upper deck of our boat.
This is my third trip to Asia. I can remember how I felt before the first one. I was nervous because of the high population density of the places I will see. I go there for business so the only places I usually see are the big cities like Hanoi, Saigon ( HCMC ), Bangkok, Manila or Jakarta. These are all mega cities with more inhabitants than the small country where I was born and live.
I lived in Vienna for almost 20 years but Vienna is a city of just 1.7 million, if you add its surroundings it´s 2.5. In the list of the biggest 200 metropolitan areas Vienna ranks 179. In this list Jakarta is second with almost 30 million. Manila made it in the Top10 too. There are a couple of other lists on the internet and there is no standard to tell what a city is and to determine the number of its inhabitants. But it doesn’t matter. These cities are really big and can be overwhelming.
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (35mm, f/1.6, 1/4000 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (35mm, f/2.8, 1/2200 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (35mm, f/2, 1/4000 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (35mm, f/4, 1/1900 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (35mm, f/4, 1/2400 sec, ISO200)
There are people everywhere and the only quiet place is my hotel room. And when I’m in my room I have to turn on the TV immediately to avoid the silence. It just doesn’t feel natural. It’s amazing how quick you adjust to a place. When I came back to Vienna from my first three week vacation in the Scottish highlands I was shocked by the number of peoples in the subway stations. The big cities here are worse than the subway in Vienna but I got used to it.
But there is one more thing that I immediately realize when I come back from those big Asian cities to the small village just outside of Vienna: the clean, fresh air. I never thought about it. It was nothing special to me. Clean air, clean lakes, clean rivers. In Austria we take it for granted but millions of people live in a polluted environment. They might never ever experience the cool, fresh and clean air after rainfall here.
I shot with my Fuji X Pro-1 all the time until I thought of my new Ricoh GR that I just bought before the trip. So I took it out and shot with it. This was the last time I had no troubles to shoot with a camera by using the screen on the back.
Now I need to put off my glasses to see what’s going on in the frame or I need to hold the camera as far away as possible. Both is not a good idea because: 1. it simply looks stupid and 2. it is even more prone to camera shake.
So finally my eyes grew too old to comfortably use cameras without a viewfinder. This is rather annoying because I enjoy to shoot the GR and the GM1 ( Panasonic ). But I think that I will never ever buy a camera without viewfinder again.
I wasn’t the only one on the upper deck for a long time. But it was time enough to take a couple of shots or to just stand there and watch the other tourist boats passing by. Time enough to enjoy the feel that I was on my own, private boat sailing through the island of Ha Long Bay.
It wasn’t more than a couple of minutes but enough to make me realize again that the two most precious things in the world are time and space.