I’ve never really been to South East Asia. I’ve visited Singapore, briefly. A busy, urban island that clings onto its exotic remnants to keep up appearances. I’ve been to Nepal, but that’s over a bit and up, and I’ve been to Hong Kong, but that’s over a bit and across. They don’t count. No. I have never really been to South East Asia. But I’d very much like to.
Vietnam and Laos top my list. I’d like to see how these majestic countries are forging modern identities after years of war and exploitation. I’d like to spend time cycling from village to village, eating street food, taking to the water, pointing my camera at Buddhist temples and markets. The bicycle of course, still holds sway as a beast of burden in Asia, and used perhaps less as a recreational pursuit (I was surprised to see the lad below in Kathmandu. He whizzed around and around us, grinning from ear to ear on what I suspect was his father’s bike. I blame blurriness on dizzyness). Cycling in Vietnam would hold many questions for me. Mountain bike or tourer? What happens if you need spare parts? Would my panniers be able to carry all my kit? Maybe I’d need a trailer? Perhaps one day I’ll find out. For the time being however, I’ll have to settle for the romanticism and notion; something captured beautifully in a series of illustrations by Tim Doyle.
Artwork by Tim Doyle. Photograph by me. Tim’s art is available to purchase from his site here. Sadly, I believe these prints are now sold out.