This morning the Chinese New Year Horse galloped down the street in front of my new digs, the French Colonial Tay Ho Hotel in Can Tho, Vietnam. I’ve been on the road for three and one half months and have reached a crossroads; the images around me are profound. They reflect the past, present and future. The hotel and my room is across the street from Ho Chi Min’s statue in a park running beside the mighty Mekong with its freighters and tourist skiffs. The communist soldier greets me with the Sun each morning. He looks austere and revolutionary, high on his marble pedestal. Perhaps a bad piece of art, but then it is the revolutionary art of the time and a war tired people.
At the corner of the block, under a lamppost, are three women. I can’t tell their ages as they wear face masks, cone hats, garish tight clothing and gloves, protection from the exhausts of thousands of motorbikes and the sun. These are the open market, naughty and rude tourist skiff owners who are looking for clients. I have to squabble with them each morning when going for breakfast. Now they are my neighbors.
Next door to the Hotel is a Chinese temple that hundreds of the faithful visit each day (…the opiate of the masses…). Dragons are at the door pushed on by drums and cymbals clashing across the neighborhood. Downstairs in the hotel is an expat restaurant filled with coffee drinking world traveling white folk. I expect to see Sidney Greenstreet, Orson Wells and Bogey come through the door. Change is everywhere, below my balcony, a rush of young masked motorbike drivers cruise by day and night on their way to a new and prosperous future. They are busy on cell phones and don’t care about us. What we were they have never heard of or want to know, like their driving they only look forward. Such is time’s cleansing magic. This is Southeast Asia, a contrast of cultures and generations. Uncle Ho and I are in the middle.
All Images Are © Rick Thomas
Rick Thomas Artist Bio
Bombs were dropping when I was born in Cardiff, Wales in 44; I popped out at home, the hospitals were full. After the war my dad was fed up with the UK’s rains and rations so he brought my mother and five siblings to Canada and the good life. I attended school in Victoria, British Columbia and Art School in Vancouver. My career in the arts was varied and after eventually retiring from the BC Government as a Cartographic Scientific Technical Officer, my time was spent as a fine arts painter, computer guru (at the time, the 90’s) and graphic artist.
My government career was mapping and illustrating ecosystems, animals and the plant life of British Columbia, and in the off hours I set designed for musicals and volunteered as a fitness instructor for the Victoria YM-YWCA. I have sketched hundreds of images and written nine fiction novels. My daughter, Kim is director of Thumbleweeds Theater in Victoria, British Columbia. I am not married; I’m a traveler and vagabond—who would have me? Retirement is just too busy out here on the road. At the time of this writing (February 2014) I’m in Can Tho, Vietnam.
Blog / Website: ABC Rick Thomas Blog
Follow Rick Thomas on: Facebook