“A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.” Frank Lloyd Wright
That gorgeous buttercup-yellow sunset above (over here if you can’t see it on your gadget-y thing) I took from a bridge in Guilin, China, at rush hour. Above the traffic and the bikes and the noise and the tearing around, this chubby round sun glided past the silhouette of a temple to create an idyllic moment of peace among the madness. It was beautiful in its own right but it also reminded me how blind we become to our surroundings. Of the hundreds or so people crossing that bridge, I was the only one stopping to look at that sunset, just because it was new to me. Everyone else, if they stopped to look at all, stopped to look at me: the strange white woman standing on the bridge taking photos.
Today’s #FriFotos theme is architecture and it’s a subject that I’ll admit I don’t pay enough attention to, despite spending most of my waking hours (and let’s face it, all bar about 20 of my sleeping ones) living within it. With my mind and memory cards still full from the dragon route, I thought I’d get into the Friday feeling by sharing some of the photos that stood out for me. They’re not necessarily the most razzle-dazzle of buildings (although a few of them definitely are.) They’re just a brief snapshot of moments that inspired me.
Hanoi’s Temple of Literature deserves a post of its own, but for now, how can you resist two dragons having a staring competition across smoking scarlet incense?
Much of what is written about Burma/Myanmar is so serious – and with good reason. However, I had to celebrate the architecture that allowed these children to run through the park without a care in the world…
Hiding from the bombs…
This place, however, has a more sobering effect. It’s the hidden bunker at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, used during the American/Vietnam war. Singer Joan Baez hid here with other guests one Christmas in the 1970s and she used her recording of the bombs dropping as part of her single Where Are You My Son?
When all that stops you from tumbling to the ground, 49 storeys beneath you, is a single pane of glass, the importance of architects – and engineers, building regulations and health and safety executives – takes on a more prominent role in your mind. Or at least it does in mine.
And then, there is this: the Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma/Myanmar. Less a building, more an entire complex where hundreds come to chat, to sweep, to think and to pray.
And also to take photos. For behind every piece of travel photography, of course, there is someone who stopped and is holding the camera.
And for these shots, on this blog, that person is me.
Have a lovely weekend everyone.
Disclosure: The #DragonRoute project comes about thanks to Cathay Pacific UK, my “artistic sponsor” if you will. The Upper House and Sofitel Legend Metropole also assisted in this project. As ever, when I work with companies and sponsors, I always keep the right to say whatever I want, however I want on this site. That’s just the way it is – and always will be.