I visited this wonderful family in Vietnam. Read all about Pham Thi Thuy and her family over at Heifer.org and check out all of the great photos.
Many people know about the quaint sampan, but in my opinion the most graceful are the vo lai.Anyone who visits Vietnam’s Mekong delta will be dumbstruck by the quantity of boats floating in the river, its tributaries, canals, ponds and seemingly even puddles.
These long, slender boats are typically propelled by large engines which sport long drive shaft and a propeller on the far end. Their flat bottoms and sleek lines help them cut quickly through any canal, no matter how shallow or narrow.
Painted on the front of many vo lai, and lots other watercraft in Vietnam, are two stylized eyes. Legend has it that these eyes protect river boats from monsters or evil spirits. They add a special touch to the character of each boat.
Special thanks to Heifer International and Russ Powell for the use of these photos.
I love the spirit houses you see everywhere in Cambodia.
Beyond the rich colors and beautiful designs, I really enjoy seeing what people leave as offerings. Incense, food and drink are common. Occasionally, they have figurines, photos, or remembrances of loved ones. The variety and style of each house is a reflection of the family that loves and cares for it.
These mini dwellings are displayed prominently in homes and businesses across the country. According to Wikipedia, "The house is intended to provide a shelter for spirits which could cause problems for the people if not appeased." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_house)
In almost all of the restaurants and hotels that I visited, there were indoor shrines that were even more ornate. Shrines and pagodas are also scattered across Vietnam. I have included a few in the slideshow below.