Saturday, 19 December 2015

St. Josephs Cathedral. Hanoi

A little corner of Paris in Hanoi

'Let's meet outside the 'big church' near the lake' I said. What a surprise I got when I arrived.

On previous visits to Hanoi I had somehow managed to miss St. Joseph's cathedral. I must have been too busy dragging around the 'big' tourist spots or losing my way in the maze of streets of the old quarter. But, this time, determined to find the 'big church'  I arranged to meet a friend there to do some sketching together. I was early so I was able to soak in the unexpected atmosphere of this quiet corner of the capital city for a little while.

As soon as I entered the secluded square which is dominated by the modest facade of the church, I was transported back twenty years to a misty evening spent in Montmartre in Paris. The church bells marked the quarter hour. There is something about the scale of the buildings, the layout of the streets and the crooked trees that is reminiscent of that romantic quarter of Paris that was the haunt of so many artists. There are the same muted colours of green, grey and browns and I began to imagine that this collection of streets and bars in Hanoi could easily be the centre of a modern day art movement for the talented young artists of modern Vietnam if they wished.

The church itself is rather underwhelming in scale. It is styled on the massive Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, as is Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon. It was built in the 1880s on the site of the demolished Bao Thien Pagoda, an ancient and sacred meeting place which, coincidentally, had been constructed about the same period as the Paris cathedral.

In front of St. Joseph's is a charming railed garden that is home to a small statue of the virgin Mary 'Queen of Peace'. But I suspect that this corner of Hanoi has not always been a haven of tranquility.

There must have been protests and riots when it was declared that the old Pagoda was to be demolished to make way for the 'new religion' of the invading French. Hearts will have been broken as 700 years of tradition and community was so wilfully destroyed.  Later, in 1954 when the Viet Minh took control of Hanoi, the church and all its property was confiscated. It was  over 40 years before the church was, once again, permitted to reopen for services. Then, in 2008 there were more protests, this time by Catholic priests who demanded the state return land that had previously been occupied by the church. Maybe it is the fear of more conflict that caused the church and the little Madonna to both be surrounded by protective railings.

Today, this square is peaceful. The street that leads to the church( Nha Tho) has a collection of international restaurants, local cafes and shops housed in two slightly faded rows of pretty shop houses and many have been there for many years. My friend says that nothing much changes in this neighbourhood where he founded his business nearly 20 years ago. 

The bells chime the hour with that flat two-tone of every church in France, big or small. It all adds to that haunting feeling that I could easily be walking those cobbled streets of Montmartre once more.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Charming Vietnamese Lion dogs

A visit to Phat Thic Pagoda, Bac Ninh

There is a current debate concerning the guardian lions of Vietnam that stand in pairs at the entrances of religious and government buildings.

A pair of guardian lions comprise of one male (yin) and one female (yang). The male has his foot on an embroidered cloth ball that represents power and the whole world. The female has one paw on a reclining lion cub, as if stroking its stomach; this represents nurture and care. They are there to repel invaders and to protect the people within.
In Vietnam there is movement to eject all the fierce-looking, Chinese lions (often called foo dogs by westerners) and replace them with the more traditional, happier-looking Vietnamese variety. 

Experts have been referring to the oldest surviving guardian lions in Vietnam to uphold their claims for change and it seems that the two lions flanking the steps to the Phat Thic pagoda in Bac Ninh Province  in the shade of old hoa dai blossom trees, I expect many visitors just pass by without noticing them.  But these lions are amongst the rarest in South East Asia and may be Vietnam’s oldest examples of the original style of guardian lion

I was taken to see Phat Thic one misty autumn afternoon about two years ago. I was visiting the home of a recently deceased artist and was invited, by his lovely widow, to get on the back of her scooter and visit her local pagoda. I could not possibly have imagined the treat in store as we bumped along country lanes and through a small town to the imposing entrance of a large religious, mountain site.

Ahead of me was a steep climb of steps to a low, wide building altar building. This structure is only 30 years old but it replaced a temple founded in 1057 by the Ly dynasty that was, unfortunately, bombed to ashes by colonising forces in the 1950s.

I was led by hand into the richly decorated interior furnished with large painted statues of all the usual suspects. Somehow they seemed more real, more awe inspiring than others I have spent some time with. This was a special place – there was no doubt.

Deeper into the temple I found something wonderous; a large marble Buddah that has been carefully stitched and pinned back together with iron staples and pins, after being shattered in that bygone disaster. At nearly 2 metres high, this Buddha was once the nation’s most important and is now considered to be a great treasure of Buddhism in Vietnam. It certainly has an unforgettable presence.

The two ancient lions, mentioned in the debate, sit in line with kneeling pairs of four other sacred animals on a terrace. There is a pair of elephants, two horses a couple rhinoceros and two buffalos. These dark, sandstone creatures are beautifully carved and, especially, the fine details of teeth, claws and imperial motifs of the two charming lions are amazingly well preserved. 

I would definitely support the movement to replace the forbidding Chinese- styled lions with the more affable Vietnamese breed. I think they reflect this country’s unique culture and character better.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My new professional Facebook Page

On a recent visit to Hoi An, I stayed with my charismatic, young French photographer friend Rehahn (Rehahn's web site/) and his lovely family in their quiet house on a strand of land between two rivers and next to the Vegetable gardens of Tra Que. Itis one of the most idyllic places imaginable. 

We talk about all kinds of things. He smokes impossibly large and expensive Cuban cigars which he buys on his frequent visits to the island to record its faded glory. I drink chilled red wine which, straight from the fridge, is as close to European 'room temperature' as we can manage here in the tropics!

Recently, we made a break through. We have resolved to start a self-publishers' cooperative together with Elka Ray ( to help promote and distribute the work of writers, photographers (of course) and artists ( of course!). It looks like I am going to be part of a Vietnamese company - bring it on!

Anyway, he said I have to stop publishing pictures of my work on my personal Facebook and separate business from politics and pleasures. How could I argue with that?

So, I have a new Facebook page and I need all the support I can get. I will no longer be posting pictures of my work on my personal Facebook page .......... that will be reserved for politics, parties, pleasures and photo-opportunities.

Please, please 'like' my new business facebook page. It's anonymous. You will not have to be my friend. You CAN comment on my work and you CAN keep up with new publications, and news of exhibitions and the work of other new, exciting artists who also struggle to capture the light, the heat and the people of the tropics.

Please click here............My new Facebook page

THe name of our new collective is Books 4 Asia. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Flying colours - the temple flags of Vietnam

Flying Colours

Traditional flags in Vietnam

Flags have been used to communicate meanings, directions and identities for over 6,000 years. The earliest known is a bronze relic from Iran dated around 4,000bc.

I never thought much about the meanings of flags until I moved to Vietnam where flags are far more common than in my native England.  Neighbourhoods are transformed on festival and national holiday days by the brilliant  red and yellow national flags and are sometimes festooned with striped bunting which is strung from post to post in the vicinity of temples.

The National Flag with its red ground and yellow star takes its styling from the Soviet ‘hammer and sickle’ flag which also includes a yellow star. In Vietnam, the star represents the five sections of society; the farmers, intellectuals, factory workers, businessmen and the military. Yellow is the colour of the Vietnamese people and red is universally used to signify revolution, strength and courage.  In the alleys and narrow streets of Hanoi, a few scarlet and yellow flags projecting from balconies and upper story windows instantly injects a feeling of national pride and celebration.

The large temple flags with the jagged or toothed edges make a bold statement don’t they. These are Buddhist in origin but have been adopted more widely within the special blend of religion and ancestor worship practiced in Vietnam. The flags outside a large temple will each have a different colour for the central square. Blue is the colour of compassion, yellow is balance, red is for the blessings of Buddha’s teaching, orange is for wisdom and white represents purity and liberation. 

The size of the flag will denote the importance of the site, ancient temples display much larger flags than more modern or lesser temples and meeting houses. Sometimes you will see a small flag outside someone’s home – this usually indicates that there is a monk resident within. So, don’t display Buddhist flags at your house unless you want the neighbours to bring offerings to your door!

Triangular flags mark the route to the home of the deceased during the funeral week. Black and white is often used for these flags in Hanoi. In Hoi An and Da Nang I saw maroon and dark blue and ochre to mark these sad occasions.

Small striped and squared flags will lead the way to the temple door. The closer to the temple, the larger the flags become. Once inside the temple enclosure, the positioning of flags around main courtyard convey meanings about festivals or other temple events. Usually, a yellow flag representing the sun occupies a central position, Blue and green flags representing nature and sky will be in the eastern corners. A white flag for the moon and metal will be in the west and black or indigo in the north represent water.

For parades, the flags take on even more meanings. The red flag representing the Phoenix should take the lead. Behind that the dark turtle is flanked by the Blue dragon to the left and the white tiger to the right. These complex messages are easily read by locals, but I just marvel at the spectacle and now I know never to pass a massive temple flag without stopping to explore the ancient temple within.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Unexpected treasures

A paradise on the southern edge of the Red River delta

I have been travelling around north east Vietnam visiting craft villages, battle grounds, lands of legends and descending dragons to learn more about the beating heart of this beautiful land.

On my list was the ancient capital of Hao Lu in Ninh Binh province, about 100 km south east of Hanoi. Hoa Lu was the capital of ancient Vietnam when Dinh Bo Lien ended the 3rd, 300 year Chinese domination of that region at the first battle of Bach Dang in 968. It remained as the capital until 1010.

I hoped to find some ruins, a museum, perhaps or, maybe, a map or plan showing the location of the ancient buildings, but there was nothing of particular note.  There is, however, a small, ancient temple in which there is a shrine to the victorious emperor who named the new land Dai Co Viet – The Great Viet. I must say that, as temples go, this was a real gem. The ancient, lacquered ironwood pillars have acquired a soft rusty hue with the passage of time and there were some pieces of alter furniture I have never seen anywhere before. Ancient ritual oozed from every crevice.

My mood changed because of this little temple. Suddenly, the whole area came to life for me.

The ancient capital was located on flat ground surrounded by a ring of the pointy mountains that distinguish the An Trang landscape and I could feel Vietnam working its magic on my imagination. A little way from this temple, passing through an impressive three arch gate, I entered another world; a village of small holdings, sleeping water buffalo and a burial ground where many of the older graves are half submerged in the ancient way.  This watery garden reflects the sky and the mountains giving it an ethereal mood and it made me realise that, apart from temples and the old capital, this region is made remarkable by its gardens. The lily and lotus ponds, the wildlife, flowers and, most of all its silence, broken only by forest birds can transport you into a contemplative state. IT’s a world away from busy Hanoi.

The next day, I sat on the steps to a lily pond in the enclave of a small temple in Tam Coc village for an hour. The steps were overhung by two old Frangipani trees that threw dappled light on the stone and the limpid waters of the pool. While I sat there, escaping the heat of mid afternoon, all I could hear was the pup-pup of tiny fish breaking the water surface to catch invisible insects. Nothing else. Nothing else at all.

I watched a little brown crab scatter sideways across the submerged step below me and then a large, round, chestnut snail made its graceful way from left to right and slipped over the edge into the gloom of the dappled waters. A young woman came down to the water to wash her spoon and to invite me in to the temple for some tea – sent by the men to see what I was up to I suppose!  I lingered a little longer and finally the spell was broken by a nosey goat that came by, bleating and fussing as it went. 

I went in search of history, monuments and relics and found, instead, a paradise of wild flowers, birds, slow boats, limpid pools in sacred caves and breathtaking beauty and serenity. What a lovely surprise.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Supermarket shopping in Sapa

 I thought you might like a tour round  a typical, provincial supermarket in Vietnam. If you are like me, it is always fascinatig to see what other nationalities buy.

Brightly coloured children's shoes, prim little blouses for school girls.

Plastic shoes for everyone. These cost £1 per pair but they are cheaper at the central market!!

Colourful hats for girls

 Designer ear muffs for winter in the mountains and old style hats for important gentlemen

 Sexy padded bras for  the ladies

Maternity dresses. I don't know why this model is has a blond wig or why her sun hat is at such a disasterous angle!

 Piggy banks for young  savers and elegant vases for the modern home.
 This is an old brand for westerners but a new and favourite brand in Asia. Other popular brands include Lifebuoy soap, Camay soap and Sunsilk shampoo sold in individual sachets.

Remember those?
Different rices, beans, lentils and dried lotus seeds ( good for sleeping)

 Fresh meat,
squid and prawns.

Live fish and prawns in tanks - not looking too healthy.
Sweet potatoes , gourds, mangoe, pomelo, dragon fruit, local plums, bitter melon and guava

 The in house bakery making french sticks, brioche, square white loaves and exotic celebration cakes covered in some kind of synthetic cream with the texture and nutritional value of shaving foam.

 Expensive licquor at 20% less than western prices. (lower VAT I guess).

 Beautiful tea sets £7.50 each including the teapot and stand.

Iced coffee and fizzy strawberry drinks

Many, many different brands of cotton buds

a complete aisle of boxed milk of different types.......... for school kids perhaps?

 Treats for the kids as well

Here you can see Bottles of automatic washing liquid, toileteries, electric fans, framed pictures pavourite oreintal scenes, the celebration cake display at far left next to the stationery selection of pens, markers and glue etc.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Drawing and mindfulness: beauty in the ordinary.

Since I was about 16, I have enjoyed sitting in the landscape to draw.

To begin with, however,  I would spend more time searching for the most picturesque view that I actually spent more time searching than drawing. I was so keen to Produce a picture to please my audience (such as it was). What I dind't understand, at that young age, was that a beautiful drawing  does not come from the objects but it comes from heart and mind  of the artist.

It is probable that anyone can draw an apple. It is possible that some can draw it perfectly in the style of a botanical drawing. But for that drawing of an apple to engage you, to fire your imagination, it takes total emersion and complete surrender on the part of the artist. Only then with that image of the apple evokes thoughts of the summers of childhood, the warmth of harvesting in an orchard heavy with the heady scent of ripening fruit.  Russet and gold, plucked with a remaining stalk and a clinging leaf, falling into a generous basket brimming with sweet goodness. The painting of an apple sitting on a napkin casting a long shadow from the late afternoon sun might even make your mouth water.

This level of concentration can come when the artist is able to look at the apple as if he has never seen one before; to take in every tone, every curve, shadow and highlight and describe it using pencil, pastel, paint or collage. The artist must suspend all previous understanding about the colour, texture and shape of apples and simply draw what is seen. 

While drawing, the artist may experience thoughts about the apple. He may wonder where it grew, what kind of landscape the tree stood in, what kind of person harvested it and how it arrived at the place where it now sits. If he picked the apple himself, he will experience the emotions and memories that the activity involved; emotions that do not evolve into words, emotions that can only be expressed by the movement of his hand and the manipulation of the materials. 

The result may be a work of art that we can call beautiful and it will be a beauty that each one of us experiences within;  a beauty that doesn't need words for expression.

A lifetime of drawing has revealed to me that it is similar to meditation. When I read about the practice of 'Mindfulness', I feel as if I am reading about the practice of drawing.  Many of my students agree that they experience many of the same benefits through drawing as they do through meditation. To draw well the artist has to be completely 'in the moment', to exclude all thought of the past and the future, to only be concerned with 'the now'. 

I always found meditation to be very difficult. The act of concentrating on my breathing, or staring at a single point in an attempt to count to ten to the exclusion of all other thoughts was more than I could manage. I was a failure!  But these days,  I find it easy to slip into a state of sub-consciousness to quieten my mind. This is a technique I have learned through drawing rather than attending meditation classes.  Apart from the obvious benefits to my mental health, I have  also become more relaxed about my drawing practice and realised that it is better to bring out the beauty in ordinary things than it is to seek out beauty for its own sake. Ommmmm!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Taking it slow in Saigon

There is a famous temple in Cho Lon that I have visited more times than I can count. It's the one the oldest and most visited in that district.  The Thien Hau pagoda is an evocative place that is worth lingering in for an hour or so and, on a hot day in district 5, it provides a cooling retreat from that bustling community of traders and dealers.

To get a good view of this 18th century pagoda you need to stand across the street. From there you can see all the details on the roof which features gorgeously glazed, ceramic dioramas of feasts, battles, traders,  demons, dignitaries, actors and merchants from other continents all set against creatively modelled Chinese houses, palaces and shops. It is incredible that these old ceramics have survived the ravages of weather and time to look as beautiful as the day they were created.  

From this side of the street you see this magical old temple through a moving wall of roaring traffic, with street cafes to right and left. Bird sellers with chirruping caged sparrows are completely inaudible above the din of motorbikes and taxis that trundle by, kicking up the dust and spewing diesel fumes.

Pick up a cold drink, and when the lights stop the traffic, you can slip across the road and into the forecourt of Thien Hau Pagoda. Now, the scale of this precious building becomes apparent and with two more steps you walk through a solid granite doorway into another world. A hush descends and you are in a place where everything is sacred, where civic pride and community endeavour meet  the gods and ancestors, where all the richness of the lives of the residents of Cho Lon can be seen.

On the walls of the first, inner courtyard there are some unusual  friezes, possibly from the 1970s depicting modern buildings, factories, a school, the interior of an elegant house. Maybe built by local philanthropists and entrepreneurs, these places must be very important  to the community here.  I can't image such urbane images being installed in a religious building in Europe.  How different Westerners are from Asians in this regard.
The central , covered yard of the pagoda is hung with incense coils sending prayers and wishes out to deities and forebears, the spirals of smoke captured in vertical rays of sunlight that penetrate the gaps between roofs.  

The colourful ceramic frieze continues around the rim of each courtyard; the stories are from history and Chinese mythology create an imaginary world where fact and fiction co-exist. If  you take a seat and linger in this cool space for  20 minutes, you will also see the two aspects of  contemporary Cho Lon; the locals quietly carrying on with their religious rituals and the foreign visitors gawping at the overwhelming visual feast as they snap photos and wonder at the richness that surrounds them.

If you step in to an ante-room to the right there is yet another delight that has little to do with religion or ancestors but adds to the eclectic mix of incense coils, bronze-faced deities, relief friezes of factories, a 19th century fire-fighting device and dioramas of ancient fables. On the walls are large watercolour paintings of the twelve animals of the zodiac; each one a masterpiece. 

The animal of the year, the goat at the moment, is topped with a red garland and rosette. There are rows of elegant Chinoiserie chairs so you can take a seat to appreciate this unique gallery and decide which is your favourite. 

One thing is for sure; this pagoda is not for rushing. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Oh to be in England in the summer time

This summer, for the first time in nearly 3 years, I returned to England to visit friends and family and do all those chores you have to do when you have been absent without leave!   When I went away on September 5th 2012, I reckoned I would be back for a visit after 6 months but I would give Vietnam one year to give it a fair trial!!!   Ha ha ha!  Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!
Well, I think everyne knows I have had an amazing time and have achieved more than I could have dreamed of and all because:-
1. Vietnam is currently a land of opportunity that welcomes anyone who help it to flourish
2. My wonderful friends back home have been filling in for me, covering up for me, fixing things, storing things, researching stuff, giving advice, communicating with me, watching me, keeping me on track, encouraging me and making it all worth while. I am so blessed. Thank you all.

This summer, in England, I have seen Leeds streets bathed in sunshine, the Northumberland  fields warmed by the evening sun, The Northumberland coast sparkling in the afternoon and the midnight skies, at Holy Island, still light on Midsummer's Day.

Donkeys on the Mablethorpe beach
I have seen Scarborough showing off in the sunshine, its beach covered with day trippers come to see the air show above the bay on Armed Forces Day. In Lincolnshire I walked the dunes and marshes and watched as a baby seal flopped to the surf for its first swim, nearly exhausted by its endeavour in the July sunshine. 

In West Yorkshire we basked in the glorious lunchtime sun  as we watched a silver band parade through an old mill village and on through the hills followed by mums and children from local schools. 

And, whenever possible I have collected the meadow flowers along the way. The collection on the right is from the beautiful Lancashire hills by Blacko.

The colourful blooms on the right are from the meadows behind the dunes on the Lincolnshire coast

I cannot remember a June and July like this for years. It has been almost continuous sunshine with only a few short showers and the occasional thunder storm. That is remarkable!  Even the Wimbledon tennis is benefitting form the settled weather.
So, I m sorry I stayed away so long and I am sorry I haven't been able to see absolutely everyone on this visit. Four weeks has flown by and it has been completely marvellous!!!!   I will be back next summer and it won't be so hectic next time. I am already looking forward to it!  Ha ha!! 

Friday, 15 May 2015


Saigon Museum of Fine Arts

So ...... Ho Chi Minh City has been voted the 6th most dynamic city in the world according to one survey. 

The factors that are taken into account are such things as Inward Investment, how many international companies headquarters there are,  growth in the property market, connectivity, economic growth, new business start-ups and higher education. 

But, they don't measure how lively the arts are, how many galleries, theatres and orchestras the city has. In my view, I don't think any city can be considered dynamic without a well supported and vibrant arts scene.

Number one is London which has one of the most vibrant art scenes in the entire world. The art museums all rank highly in visitor ratings and are free to enter.

At number 2 is San Jose, USA. Their city art gallery costs $8 to enter but they offer lively program of exhibitions, events whereas Saigon museum is only 50 cents but many of the art exhibits have been languishing on the walls for a few years now.

Beijing ranks third and offers more than one public art museum. Entry to the National Art Museum is free and the collection is astoundingly varied and beautiful.

Shenzen, also in China is placed fourth. It does have one art museum but it is ranked in the bottom third of attractions in the city. I don't think I have ever heard of an art museum coming so low in the rankings. I wonder what they got wrong?

Shanghai, in China again, has three art museums and they rank highly as attractions on Trip Advisor. Well, Shanghai is currently the biggest city in the world so its galleries ought to be good!

At number six is Ho Chi Minh City. It is the 31st largest city in the world (by population). We have one Art Museum  and the  entry fee is very affordable at  10,000vnd. It is ranked  #15 out of nearly 100 attractions in the city which is quite something. The exhibits are from over three hundred years of fine and decorative arts and tell a story of life in southern Vietnam that is rich and varied. The whole is housed in a fabulous mansion which is an experience in itself.

In the past three years, I have seen the art scene in Saigon grow and become more lively. I know from personal experience that artists from Hanoi and Hue are moving south to be a part of an artist-led blossoming of the arts in our city. San Art brings a, much needed, dimension to critical thinking in contemporary practice in the city and provides a focal point for all artists. Commercial galleries provide support for more established artists through cultural programmes and by taking Vietnamese art overseas to international art markets. 3A Station is trying to create an 'arts quarter' where live performance and street art rub shoulders with independent designers which raises the profile of the arts amongst the young and there are pockets of vibrant arts lighting up the cultural landscape all over the city.

What would add some real dynamism to the arts is to use just a small amount of the revenue from all the new inward investment, and inject some cash into our beautiful museum and local arts to make them as dynamic as the economy.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Spotting the wildelife on Son Tra

 Near Da Nang,  on the Son Tra peninsular there communities of Red Shank Duoc langurs living in the tropical forests. They are only found in Central Vietnam, and in adjoining forests of Cambodia and Laos.  On the peninsular there are about 500 langurs and about 1,000 Assamese Macaque. 

We were fortunate enough to be taken for a tour of the birds and primates of the penisula with a friend who is an ecologist and worked with Dr. Larry Ulidarri of the Son Tra Douc Research and Conservation Project. he researched the Red Shank langurs for 4 years and said that SonTraPeninsula is the only place in the world where these rare animals are living in the wild.

THis photograph is not mine - but they are so hard to see that I had to pinch a photo from the internet. Mine, as you can see, are not as good at all!

This strange shot was taken through Luc's (the ecologist) spotting scope and the one below is from my camera. You can see a large langur swinging through the branches of a large tree where the family had been sleeping.

In the picture, below, you can see a rope bridge that has been slung across the road to help the langurs move around the peninsular. 

Luc planted ficus trees to attach the bridge to. the idea is that the trees wil grown and will form ther own bridge across the road . Luc looks forward to showing off this project to his children one day - if he can find the right girl to marry!

Views from the peninsula looking towards Da Nang and across the estuary to Hai Van Pass which cuts through the mountains to Hue. 

The peninsula was a military base during the war and is a relatively untouched habitat. We saw only two or three other people during our morning on the mountain so it makes a welcome break from the bustle of Da Nang and Hoi An if you fancy getting a little closer to nature.

At one time, all of vietnam would have been covered with forest and jungle like this area but the indiscriminate use of Agent Orange stripped all the hills and mountains of trees and undergrowth and the whole of central Vietnam is largely naked to this day. A visit to Son Tra reminded me what a tropical paradise this country used to be.

Here is another poor photograph of a Red Shank Douc langur, some eary mornign butterflies and a red Sun catcher.

We saw many more beautiful creatures but I wasn't quick enough to capture them
 Luc does private tours of the peninsular on request. His specialist knowedge of this habitat is unique and he is a charming guide. 

Send a message on his facebook and mention my name.
Me, Pandy and Luc