Trip Start Nov 30, 2004
18Trip End Feb 04, 2005
One day at the chopsticks shop a photographer stopped by. It was late afternoon on a busy day. He was a dark-skinned Asian with nearly a full beard and dressed in casual western clothes. He had a huge digital camera and was wandering around the market that day looking for interesting shots. He stopped to chit-chat for a bit. Soon all of us were into it, including a few of the neighbors.
It turns out he's Chinese, about 47 years old and just moved to Vietnam two years ago. He liked it so much he sold everything and started a studio in Hoi An. You could tell he had that curious eye and liked to see what was going on around town. He also liked to joke around. At one point, he tried to match up me with Bich Huyen
He gave us his business card and told us to stop by his shop. A few days later I did. He didn't give the hard sell I was expecting. He was so happy to visit he had me sit down and have some coffee. It was the first coffee I've ever liked. Quickly there were three more locals joining us. I tried asking but never understood the relationships. My best guess is that the two younger girls were employees and the other man was a friend. It turns out his name is Tu Duy. He's Vietnamese not Chinese. He says that because the local women like foreigners. Not only did he fool me, but Kim Lahn and Bich Huyen. They were really surprised when I told them. He's also married with two children. Tu Duy loves to joke around! And he's good at it. No wonder I had a hard time finding his card or remembering his name. Things that accurately capture him
I wanted to stay longer but had dinner plans that afternoon. Was having a great time! So I came back again. He's obviously a creative thinker. He shared some of his dreams with me. In back there's a small sun-lit patio. He wants to add a coffee shop to complement his studio. I liked the idea. He also talked about expanding it into a reading area with magazines and books. In fact, Eric's the one that knows English, so he can open a library. And teach English. His proposal - if I helped him with English he'd set me up with a local girl. I laughed and declined. But it's fun to listen to his ideas. His counter proposal - bring some easy English books back with me when I come to Hoi An. I accepted. He's the third person that wanted some easy English books. There's a thirst for English here, that's for sure. It was really fun to run into such a creative thinker. I wish I had run into him sooner during my stay in Hoi An. Definitely looking forward to seeing Tu Duy again.
Visual art like painting and photography is a really subjective thing. Many times what I interpret is completely different from what the narrative provides. That gets drilled home every time I rent an audio guide at a museum. My theory is that art provides a means for a person to project what's inside them. Many art studios I just don't get. No psycho-analysis please. But I liked his studio. For a look at his work, I'm including his website: www.artviet.net.