In Honor and Celebration of International Women’s Day 2014

“International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.”

In honor and celebration of International Women’s Day 2014, these are some of my favorite photographs that I have taken of women in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bhutan. To me, all these women are beautiful and inspirational.

International Womens Day Vietnam Mekong Delta

International Womens Day Vietnam Black Dzao

International Womens Day Vietnam

International Womens Day Cambodia Silk Weaving

International Womens Day Cambodia Rice Paper for Spring Rolls

International Womens Day Cambodia Pottery Making

International Womens Day Bhutan Laya Woman

International Womens Day Laya Bhutan

International Womens Day Bhutan Laya

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day on March 8 is “Inspiring Change…for greater awareness of women’s equality…for more women in leadership roles…for equal recognition of women in the arts…for growth of women owned businesses…for increased financial independence of women…for more women in science, engineering, and technology…and for fairer recognition of women in sport.”

Sweet Travels!

Quotes and information from International Women’s Day 2014

Pictures are from my previous blogs:
Visions of Vietnam: Women, their Smiling Faces, and their Clothing
Silk Weaving Women in Cambodia
Creating Rice Paper for Spring Rolls, by Hand, in Cambodia
Walking in Perfect Circles: A Woman Creating Pottery in Cambodia
The Unique, Beautiful Women of Laya, Bhutan

Visions of Vietnam: Windows and Doors

They say that the eye is the window to the soul. But it is the soul that is the window. -Andrew Hamilton

Vietnam Windows Doors

I’ve been known to take photographs of windows and doors when I travel. I don’t know why really. I guess the colors, shapes, patterns, surroundings, decorations, etc. appeal to me. I think the first time I photographed windows and doors was in Skagway, Alaska as I was bicycling around the town.

I have published three other blogs with my windows and doors pictures. Quito, Ecuador. Montepulciano, Italy. Porvoo, Finland.

These photos were taken in the Mekong Delta area of Vietnam, and while they are of windows and doors, they also show the homes as well. I loved the pottery piece, and the various shades of blue and turquoise, in the picture of the home above.

The purple gate and red flowers made for a welcoming entrance into this home.

Vietnam Windows Doors

I liked the child’s tricycle, and the shoes scattered at the front door, of this ornate home.

Vietnam Windows Doors

And the motor scooter and cart with baskets in front of this home are classic items in Vietnam.

Vietnam Windows Doors

I know have more blogs to write in the future on windows and doors, as there are a few other towns in my photo albums. Maybe I’ll even take some pictures of the windows and doors of Bhutan in October!

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. – Milton Berle

Sweet Travels!

Visions of Vietnam: Flower H’mong Mothers and Babies

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 1

Even the name Flower H’mong suggests nothing but color. One of the 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam, the Flower H’mong are so-named because of their vivid, intricate, multi-colored embroidery, called pa ndau, which literally means “flower cloth.” This needlework, with its motifs that are geometric, symmetric, and derived from nature, decorates their clothes, and certainly makes for some fabulous fashion.

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 2

Pa ndau is a highly prized traditional art of these people. Passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, pa ndau originated with ceremonial clothing for major life events including births, weddings, deaths, and for celebrating Tet, the New Year Festival.

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 4

Flower Cloth is also used on common items like carriers that strap babies to a mother’s back.

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 5

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 7

As I walked through the Coc Ly Market in the Sapa region of northern Vietnam, where the Flower H’mong shop for just about everything, including food, household items, material and yarn, there was definitely color all over the place.

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 3

Perhaps I should have written this blog last month, so Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 6

Sweet (and colorful) Travels!

More Visions of Vietnam Blogs:

Women Working in a Verdant Land

Inspirational Working Women

Women, their Smiling Faces, and their Clothing

Information source…Ten Thousand Villages

Visions of Vietnam: Women Working in a Verdant Land

I trekked for several days at a time in the Mai Chau and Sa Pa regions of Northwest and Northern Vietnam, trekking from village to village to village. I walked on gravel tracks and small paths; local roads and trails. I meandered through or near rice paddies and rice terraces; corn fields and tea plantations. I was surrounded by forest, bushes, grasses, shrubs, fruit and other trees, and tropical plants. I was fascinated at how everything was so green; and how the greenery was so varied and vibrant.

Vietnam Verdant Land

As a child, I don’t know why, but my Dad used to comment on how green things were where we grew up in California. He would literally say “very verdant,” as he pointed to something around us, and for some reason, I remember this phrase to this day.

Verdant Land Vietnam

So much so, that I kept saying those words over and over again in my head as I experienced Vietnam. And maybe because I was now an adult, Vietnam seemed even more verdant than my childhood memories of California.

Verdant Vietnam Land

I used to think that verdant only meant green, and that was what I thought my Dad implied each time he used the word. But, I have come to find out that it describes more than just the color. Verdant expands green to mean leafy, grassy, lush, luxuriant, fertile, flourishing. And that describes what I saw as I trekked in Vietnam.

Vietnam Women Fields 2

I noticed people working in these verdant fields and plantations and terraces. Men and women. Using water buffalo to plow; using their own hands and bodies to plant the seeds, cut the vegetation, load the baskets.

Vietnam Women Fields 1

The women especially amazed me. They looked like they were working hard, but effortlessly and successfully, with smiles on their faces, and wearing their specific style of clothing …women working in such a verdant land.

Vietman Women Fields 3

Sweet (and verdant) Travels!

Some of my previous blogs on women in Vietnam:

Women, their Smiling Faces, and their Clothing

Inspirational Working Women

The Strength of a Woman

Visions of Vietnam: Inspirational Working Women

In preparing to write my “Visions of Vietnam” blogs, I sat down with my photo albums and looked through my pictures. I began to write down a list of the photos, and then categorized them into blog ideas. You may have already read my three blogs on the category of children, and last week’s blog on the topic of smiling women. Most likely there will be more blogs on these subjects.

I was amazed, though, at how many pictures I put under the category of “women doing things.” And the list kept growing as I looked through my albums several times. I felt very empowered how women all over the world are talented, hard-working, and take pride in their accomplishments.

Woman Cutting Rice Vietnam

This very physically strong woman is cutting rice in a rice field. As she bent over to efficiently cut the rice, she kept cutting bunch after bunch after bunch with amazing ease and grace.

Debby Cutting Rice Vietnam

I tried my best to cut some rice, but definitely with not the success as the Vietnamese woman.

Woman TerraCotta Vietnam

This woman’s talent and enjoyment can be seen in her terracotta figure making. I watched this woman create this cute little elf with her artistic hands.

Basket Weaving Woman Vietnam

This woman’s hands were busily weaving a basket out of water hyacinth. I asked her if her baskets were for sale, as I was considering buying one. They were for sale, but only for export to other countries, selling for several hundred dollars.

All these women are quite inspirational!

Sweet (and inspirational) Travels!