The excitement of travel is of course the differences we encounter. If we met the same people, ate the same food, and spoke the same language all over the world, there wouldn’t be much point in leaving home. As a westerner, the things that fascinate me are likely to be perceived as completely and totally normal to anyone from the land I’m visiting. And I have to say, their tolerance for us (by “them” I mean pretty much anyone in South East Asia; by “us” I mean non-Asian-with-a-camera) is astounding. Can you imagine if a group of Vietnamese photographers pointed a camera at you while you bought fish at the local grocery store? I think not. Yet for some reason, they completely tollerate this invasion of privacy that we thrust upon them. I’m eternally grateful; if they didn’t, then the photos from my travels would  be a lot less interesting.

Vietnamese woman in a common sitting, or squatting position, at the fish market in Mui Ne, Vietnam

Click to fill your screen with this photo!

I just returned from working with middle schoolers in the Cowichan Valley in BC, Canada, where I shared many of these pictures, and the kids all thought it was a riot how so many Vietnamese people sit, or squat, on the ground. Most of us couldn’t sit this way even after an hour of stretching, yet it’s clearly quite comfortable to them. And efficient, really… who needs a chair? Personally, I can barely sit cross-legged on the ground for more than 10 minutes without cramping. I rather wish I grew up sitting like this, so I could comfortably have a seat anywhere, anytime.