I’ve been in central Vietnam for what feels like forever, shooting two weddings and working on a travel story on the DMZ. The writer and I took a trip out to Khe Sanh, one of the more well-known battle arenas of the American-Vietnam War. I stumbled upon some farmers planting sweet potatoes in a field near the war museum. I went over and chatted with them and got a few photographs with an old American plane–part of the museum’s exhibit–in the background. The weather was bleak and rainy and the mist was thick and dropping over the surrounding mountains. The entire journey felt haunted. I can’t imagine being a young marine here four decades ago in the middle of a senseless war far from home and anything at all that made any kind of sense.
I’m just going to come out and say it: Hue is probably the most underrated city in Vietnam. Sure, there are the northern mountains and the southern delta and the central highlands and everything else in between, but as far as cities go, ye olde imperial capital’s got it in spades. It’s inexpensive, friendly, and filled with wide avenues to amble up and down. And I could eat the food for days on end. Easy.
So it was nice to get an assignment there with Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia at the beginning of last month, photographing the new head chef at La Residence Resort & Spa, plus a little local travel and eating. These are some outtakes from the trip, culinary and not. If you’re passing through, make sure to grab lunch at Ba Do. And dinner at Le Parfum. Both of which come highly recommended by Yours Truly.
More from Hue. Just playing around with different ideas. Colors, shapes, lines and more. It was a nice but rainy trip. There are typhoons following me around apparently. Hue’s an underrated city for sure. A lot of people I think pass it up on their way to or from Hoi An. I say stop and stay for a day or two. Wide tree-lined boulevards, delicious street food, ancient tombs and a big empty old citadel. And lots and lots of color.
I did something today that I haven’t done in a long time. Too long probably. I took a lot of really simple photographs. I looked for color and texture and nothing more. It became a game to see how many different hues I could find in Hue. I love how across Vietnam you can almost tell a building’s age by the number of coats of paint it has on its sides. Like rings on a tree. They peel back and expose years and years. Mold grows. Vines grow. Lazy brush strokes become a kind of art in their own right. I stopped and looked around and it was like living in a rainbow. And it was nice.