by Liz Margulus, guest blogger
Photos by Liz and Mike Margulus
My husband, Mike, and I have been very fortunate. We’ve traveled extensively in the U.S. (primarily out west) and internationally. While we don’t indulge in travel luxuries, we have been privileged to see some beautiful scenery and experience many different cultures. We’ve gained meaningful insights along the way: the impact of Norway’s high minimum wage on their economy, the pride of the Scottish in their Gaelic roots, the incredible diversity of Iceland’s “fire and ice” terrain, and the similarity between the basic behavior of us humans and the wild animals on an African safari.
Though we’ve documented experiences primarily through our very deliberate photographic work, I would like to share some of our impressions from a recent trip to Viet Nam.
Except for one day in Hanoi, our entire stay in Viet Nam was in the mountainous area far north of Hanoi. Our primary interest was in photographing the terraced rice paddies during the fall harvest season. Often built on hilly or mountainous terrain, these rice paddies decrease erosion and surface runoff. This form of agriculture has been widely used for thousands of years throughout Asia as well as in Europe and South America.
We were shocked to learn that Viet Nam’s population is about 90 million, much larger than that of Great Britain, France, or Australia. “Viet Nam is a multi-ethnic country with over fifty distinct groups, each with its own language, lifestyle and cultural heritage.” Many of the smaller ethnic groups live in the northern mountains. We were impressed by their strong work ethic and their very happy dispositions, their intense respect for their elders, and by the expectation for very young girls to take on familial responsibilities. It was also a surprise to see how important a role the motor scooter plays in the economy and lifestyle of Viet Nam. The motorcycle most often serves as the only means of transportation for a family of four!
While the presence of the Vietnamese Communist Party is pervasive, capitalism thrives and has been growing ever since the economic reforms of the early 1990’s.
As I alluded to above, our general means of documenting our travels has been through our photographs. We would love to share those with you and invite you to visit our non-commercial website, twomarguli.com for more pictures of Viet Nam and many other places such as Chicago and New York City, villages throughout Europe, the Galapagos Islands, Africa and more. Enjoy!