In the past few days in Vietnam, we’ve seen many beautiful traditional sights that don’t exist in other areas of the world. Conical hats, still rice paddies, wooden boats…all together they form serene, real-life paintings, and the only way in which we can hope to capture them is through our photos.
But as I pointed my camera to poor harassed locals (or eager ones waiting to receive a few thousand Vietnamese Dong as they gave toothy smiles to foreigners), it occurred to me that this is just their way of life, with gorgeous scenes as a backdrop that they see every day. Do they see them as we do, in all their beauty? Or if we toiled as they did, day after day, would we cease to see them? Would the beauty of the lands diminish with time?
As a passing tourist, leaving with only a digital collection of pictures to be admired later, it’s hard to say. But it strikes me that there is just as much beauty and wonder in the daily sights that we are accustomed to as well, whether is a suburb covered in grassy lawns, a crowded subway at rush hour, or a pristine and posh urban mall. A different beauty, but beauty nonetheless. And sometimes it takes an outside perspective to see it.