guest post; touching vietnam

Hello dears. I’d like to introduce a new series of guest posts on mochatini. I have planned a line-up of a few inspiring and stylish bloggers. And I am really excited to welcome them here.

Today’s post is by Leela Cyd. Leela is a food and travel writer on a nine-month dream journey through India, Vietnam and Turkey with her new hubby. That lucky lucky girl! She also has a cookbook in the making. You must must check out her yummy recipes on her blog in the meantime.

Hello Mochatini Readers — I’m Leela — a gal from Portland, Oregon but am taking this year to travel with my new husband — writing, photographing, cooking and eating all the while.  You can follow my journey (India and Vietnam so far, Turkey on deck) at my blog,

Touching Vietnam

The textures of Vietnam are as vivid and colorful as they are diverse.  Every pagoda, market, restaurant, garden and road-side stop offers up a specific aesthetic, unique to this country.  The colors and design qualities of each new place demand to be touched, pondered and soaked in.  Observing, thinking and brushing things with my fingertips has taken up the majority of my time here in Vietnam.  The place exudes atmosphere, history and magic — what with all the dragons and mist everywhere (it’s actually poring down rain right now), it truly transports the soul to an older era . . . Making it so easy to imagine myself a princess, taking tea in my Mom’s “Pleasure Pavilion” (a gorgeous spot looking out onto a pond in the Hue Citadel), a moment  perhaps when dragons and princes dueled in the clouds.

This series of images focuses not so much on the specifics of each location, but on a detail of its surface.  I want to illustrate the mood and styling of some of the sights we’ve seen and take note for when we return to Portland and set up an apartment once more.  It’s these tiny details of a country that truly inspire me — from an everyday plastic tablecloth (shown in image 7) with a beautiful rose print to the bright gate, laying derelict on the side of the road near a military cemetery, the neutral brown complimenting the yellow so nicely (image 1).  I hope that everyone has a chance to visit this remarkable land — full of prosperous and tragic history, bustling cities, beautiful people (I’ve never seen so many cute coats as on the ladies in the North) and lush countryside.  There are so many things to see and touch.


Yellow gate near Military Cemetery in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), near Hue

A young emperor and flags written with deceased family member’s names at Chinese Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City

Dragon vase — there’s such amazing painted porcelain here — at Hue Citadel

Ribbon and coy fish at Hue Citadel

Detail of plants in big pot, Hue Citadel

Dragons at Hue Citadel

Table cloth at ticket-check counter at Kao Dinh Tomb, Hue

Red doors at Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh and traditional Pagoda topper (shown at friend’s house instead of it’s typical home atop a pagoda), also in Ho Chi Minh City


Pink porcelain used as mosaic tiles in Jade Emperor Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City

Leela Cyd