In January 2024, I went to Vietnam and Cambodia. From travelling alone to visiting family, I took pictures with my phone every day and wherever I went to document and capture the experience of this time.

This built up a basis for posters and datavisualisation to express my perception and feelings that somehow can relate the story of my family and my origins.


Hà Nội

13 - 19.01.2024
Vietnam


The plane landed at Nôi Bài airport on a Sunday afternoon. I recall the warmth, the misty moof and the humidity that caught me. And somehow it felt good. I felt flagrant smells that instantly brought back emotional memories from a long time ago. Vietnam has an unique olfactory landscape that I can’t forget. Not only in fruits but also in flowers and herbs, everywhere melted together with barbecue smoke, incense from pagodas, with humidity and dust from non-stop constructions.


Huế

19 - 21.01.2024
Vietnam


Huế was the royal capital of Vietnam for approximately 150 years (1802-1945) under the Nguyễn dynasty. The imperial court practiced various religions such as Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Kings were obsessed with the idea of the physical resting place for the afterlife. Therefore, Huế is full of majestic royal tombs and impressive monasteries.

Hô Chi Minh City

22 - 23.01.2024
Vietnam


After twenty-two hours off train travel from Huế to Hô Chi Minh City, I met my parents, my great uncle and his wofe who had been already in the city for a few days. 

My mother was born and raised in Saigon. She fled the war at the age of fourteen and was unable to return to Vietnam for over fourty years. I remember our first trip to Vietnam in 2004 and my mother’s anxiety about returning to the country she had fled. We went to see her house, which miraculously survived the bombing. It had been turned into a scooter garage; my mother insisted on going in. On another trip, we went back and it had become a Japanese restaurant. The next time we went: a karaoke bar. True to this ritual, my mother continues to visit her house (or what’s left to it) every time she comes to Vietnam. Today, ther’s almost nothing left: it is now an investment bank.


Hà Tiên

26 - 30.01.2024
Vietnam


After a few days spent in the Mekong delta, we reached Hà Tiên, the town bordering Cambodia. Hà Tiên was so special to me. I was enchanted by its unique identity. It is part of the Mekong Delta, but lies on the Gulf of Thailand. The city, which played a significant role during the French colonial period, developed and saw a rise in European influence. 

From Hà Tiên it is possible to reach the island of Phu Quoc by boat. Now that Phu Quoc has had its own airport since 2012, local tourism is on the rise. But despite the province’s effort to boost tourism, many hotels with vintage retro look are empty and entire houses are used as cages for breeding swiftlefts.

And perhaps it is this melting pot that captivates me. I was delighted by the light, the right match of colors on houses, local temples, the cooling breeze from the sea, rive and hills throughout the day and the bustling central market combined with delicious streetfood. There’s a good balance of new and old, charming and raw, natural and urban, left-alone and developed.

Phnom Penh

05 - 06.02.2024
Vietnam


Phnom Penh was my last stop before going back to France. I really like the Mekong River, from what I know of it. It’s a mix of calm and bustle, with fishermen’s boats skimming past ferries carrying hundreds of scooters. I decided to spend my last day watching the sunset over the river. 

I also think it’s representative of the current and past conflicts that punctuate the region. The river flows through 6 countries: each of them seeks to defend its own interests, but they must also unite to protect themselves from outside aggressors.


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