I have been a bit busy sorting out things for my exhibition which I am going to set up tomorrow. This morning I decided to do a sketch from our last day in Bangkok.
We weren’t leaving until the afternoon and as we had held our room we took the boat up to the main riverboat and rapid transport terminal of Sathorn and walked around the streets and alleyways that surrounded the terminal.
The whole placed teemed with activity and industry from cafes to engineering workshops. You get the feel that the skyscrapers are slowly taking over and there were building sites with lorries squeezing into them delivering materials and everyone worked around each other, all quietly going their own way and all the time the highrises crept forward.
All day long trains of barges carrying the city’s rubbish (I’ve been told) are towed down the main river, seaward. The barges are low in the water as they depart the city ( see a train of them below the reflection of the tall building) and then they return. bouyant, like corks. I must find out where it all goes to.
Up at 4-30 today to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat – along with a few thousand others. Waiting for the light I was able to sketch the outlines and make some colour notes. Probably not the most spectacular sunrise, but it was comfortably cool at that hour.
The day before we had tramped through the searing heat and visited some of the other temples in this massive complex. In the 12th century it was reported to be the biggest city on earth. Cracks and leaning buildings are testament to war, not earthquake. The displays of carving are exquisite and there are so many of them.
I did most of this by the banks of the river at Hue. Scooters and small motorbikes are a major form of transport here and there are lots of them. The group of people changed in this one, but the woman in the sunhat stayed. They were a family or group trying to sell tourists trips on dragon boats and boy did they try – though they left me alone – perhaps they thought I might sell them a picture.
The land in Vietnam from north to south is heavily utilised. There are paddy fields everywhere and quite a few water buffalo. Many people work on the land. It looks like hard graft – reminds me that there might be some gardening to do when I get home.
We flew into Hanoi and almost as soon as we arrived we were whisked off to Halong Bay. It was impressive, but very similar to Krabi in Thailand with less sunshine and even more tourists – this was industrial tourism.
I had wanted to get the limestone stacks in a sunset or sunrise. Unfortunately I was swimming at sunset and the sunrise was a cloudy affair. Still I did get some good photos.
As for Hanoi. We were only there for a matter of hours, staying near the old quarter. It was pandemonium. I would have loved to see more – but perhaps my health wouldn’t have taken it. We had to get the night train out and head south to Hue.
Well it’s hardly floating, more flying down the fast flowing river powered by a large motor. The captain sits at the front kept company by the cook, as you can see in the first sketch.
As the scenery changed and passed out of sight so fast I decided to do small thumbnails.
However, being on the boat for six hours with nothing else to do allowed me to practise my watercolour, whilst the rest of my fellow travellers caught up with their sleep. There were some great views particularly in the later afternoon sunshine.
Arrived in Krabi, Thailand after long sleepless flights. The main features here are the towering limestone cliffs and crags and the long tailed boats. The boats ferry you from place to place dousing you in plenty of sea water in the process – but who cares – it aint snowing.
The light was changing fast when I sketched these boats by the riverside and by the time I came to finish they had lovely effects illuminating their sides. I may do this again as a more studied painting – especially as they started to load-up one of the boats with provisions.