Saturday, June 6, 2009

Eggshell and Lacquer

We have a piece of art in the house that I am really fond of. It's a stylized market scene and is about 36"x 24". The image itself is amazingly beautiful with the straw hats and baskets but when you look at how it's made, it is incredible. This is a lacquer and eggshell piece of art. The image is made with dyed eggshells pressed into a fixative then the entire piece is covered with a meticulous lacquer coating. There are several galleries in Saigon that produce this type of art and are very interesting to visit and watch work in progress.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hoa's Place

The twenty five miles of beach that runs south from Da Nang to Hoi An is rapidly vanishing under the jaws of bulldozers and concrete. This paradise lost has been found by foreign investors who are putting up huge resorts and golf courses. But there still remains one island of refuge amidst all the development though it will most likely fall victim to the new growth soon. Hoa's Place sits off the coast highway at the base of Marble Mountain. It's a sleepy little guesthouse and restaurant run by a man named Hoa (pronounced "Wha"). Hoa is a small man in his mid 50's who speaks very good English and puts out a reasonable facsimile of a hamburger. His beer is cold, and the food is pretty damn good.He operates about 12 rooms for rent on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The rooms are within a two minute walk of the beach and go for under ten bucks a night. Hoa's place is pretty well known and is listed in The Lonely Planet if you want to know more about the facilities.

But it's Hoa that makes the place special. I've gotten to know Hoa over the past four or five months and always enjoy sitting down and having a chat with him over a cool beer.Though he barely stands five feet tall, he has a big heart, especially for American servicemen. Hoa worked with a Marine CAP unit in his home village of Dai Loc during the war days. He was only eleven when the Americans came and was barely fourteen when he would join them on patrols. He has the heart of a Marine and the mouth of a drill instructor. But when you learn your English from a bunch of Marines, what do you expect.