The strange constricted shape of Hải Thanh dictates that it is a town of narrow lanes and passages conducive to social interactions: interactions promoted by being at the door while absorbed in a phone, or having a child pick out grey hairs The town of Hải Thanh in the southern corner of Thanh Hoá Province, in northern Vietnam, was introduced Go to the last page. briefly on the last page. A spur of land sits with the River Kênh Than on one side and the sea on the other. The river then turns sharp left and enters the sea so defining the end of the town. The town's main road runs along this peninsular with houses pushing ever closer until there is no room for cars towards its end. Across the river sits the town of Hải Bình and there is much movement of people between the two communities. These pictures emphasise details and do ignore two major aspects of the town: its seaboard and its Christian churches. The former follows on the next page, the latter hopefully follows in due course. Street walls of two houses (the one above featuring the photographer's bike) showing the eves'... ...decorations. The stencils are adverts giving the phone numbers of trades such as plasterers - rather needed here The main street one year apart. The low turquoise... ...building on the left is being replaced by a new house The main street of Hải Thanh. The electric taxis (centre picture) and masks for motorcyclists, have been in fashion for some years here On one side of the central road the lanes run down to the river of which glimpses may be caught; of which more soon Two typical sights in any Vietnamese town are pedestrians walking where it suits them best, and hand carts hitching a lift from the pillion on motorbikes Along the main street posters like this are displayed in the run-up to Christmas. This says roughly 'Christmas. God comes to those who do not know which way to turn' And on the other side, towards the end of the peninsular, the lanes run sharply uphill, needing steps for the rise A rich complexity of structure and texture hard to imagine in western equivalents.
And a touch just visible: the owner's tooth brushes wait in the little yellow mug
half way up the left edge of the picture
This house has two interesting decorative panels - just visible in the knitting
Cables form a barrier to so many photographs in Vietnam. The panel in the apex of the roof seems to have a sun-compass as its centrepiece
While the one, on the side wall, has a tiled fan with a raised emblem
The bell at the Lạch Bạng Temple; ocean beyond
A guardian figure with offerings
A small shrine room at the Lạch Bạng Temple with, as is common in many temples,
guarding dragons forming balustrades
At the end of the road, which forms the spine of the town, is a small hill on which is the
Đót Tiên Pagoda.
Go to the page on the Dot Tien Pagoda.
Beyond the pagoda, down nearer the sea level, is this small temple. Translators use 'temple' for secular buildings in Vietnam, these celebrate of the lives of individuals, some famous, some of importance only to the builders. The word 'pagoda' is reserved for Buddhist institutions. This temple does not announce, with my poor Vietnamese, who it commemorates. To the right the temple's elaborate entrance
If this plaque were to be in English, it might like to say something along the lines of: Lạch Bạng Temple. A cultural, historic, artistic and scenic monument of national importance
A pair of splendid guarding lions...
...sit near the parapet with the sea beyond
The ball on which their seaward leg rests represents the world over which they have domination. Traditionally they guarded imperial palaces as well as tombs
and the houses of the wealthy
The next page
of this section shows more of the water which lies on three sides of Hải Thanh town.
The next page
of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Analogy'.
Or go to the
Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section.
of the Mosaic Section.