In 2006, I went to Asia for the first time. I went to go visit my cousin Molly who was living in Vietnam while working on her Fulbright Scholarship. I went with my two aunts and my uncle and really had the time of my life.
This was my first real travel experience (Other then the US and Europe) and kicked off my addiction to travel. It's been 11 years but I still have vivid memories of the trip.
My Aunt had was also visiting Asia for the first time and we actually had a few hilarious side experiences. I have two favorite moments that I am going to share with you. The first was when we landed in Thailand. Thailand loves their King and they have signs all over the airport that say so. After flying for 18 hours my Aunt and I were walking to customs when she says to me... Boy they really love Elvis here... I looked at her a little confused and she pointed at the We Love the King sign. I laughed a little and said... I think they mean they love the King of Thailand.
Second Story is even better...
My cousin Molly was living in Ho Chi Minh City and told my Aunt and I to meet her so she could introduce us to some of the people she worked with. She gave us an address in Vietnamese and told us to give it to a Taxi driver. And then she left. My Aunt did what we were told. We gave the address to the cab driver who took us to an alley way. He pointed down the alley and said that is the address. And then in broken english asked if we were sure that was it. We weren't sure but said Yes. He told us he would wait a few minutes for us.
We walked down the alley and up to the building and rang the bell. A woman walked about to the door who only spoke Vietnamese. We asked her for Molly. She looked at us and said... Oh Molly and shook her head up and down. She signaled for us to follow her, so we did. She led us up a set of stairs and signaled for us to remove our shoes. We were in a temple. She pointed to the alter and started to bow. We followed her lead mumbling to each other the whole time... "How many times are we suppose to do this..." We asked again for Molly. She looked at us with a smile and said Molly, Molly shaking her head up and down. My Aunt said to me nervously we should probably get out of here. I said to her let's just see where she leads. The woman lead us over to a fenced in stairway that two barking dogs came running up. My Aunt said "Oh Hell no...we're getting out of here." I asked again for Molly. She looked at me again and smiled and said Oh Molly... Molly. In my head I was planning an escape when my cousin Molly runs up the stairs and says hey you guys are here! Both my Aunt and I breathed a sigh of relief and followed Molly down the stairs.
The images you see of the beautiful people from Vietnam were actually inspired by my Uncle. He woke me up one morning and said. Come with me. I'm going to take you somewhere that I know your going to love. We showed up at a busy market in Hanoi. We walked up and down the shop aisles and saw live fish,eels, snakes, and chickens, bowls of rice and tons of different fruits and vegetables. It was like a dream come true for a young photographer. I've still never experienced a market like those in Vietnam!