Abandoned Children’s Train, Hoi An, Viet Nam


I rushed from my hotel early in the morning, hoping to beat the rain. We’d been experience storms for nearly a week, but things had slowed enough that there were breaks, and I was able to photograph. The best part is that the heavy overcast gave my favorite light, the type that comes hugs objects, creating soft sensuous shadows and drawing out the texture of objects.

As I walked around, I stopped at an intersection and waited to cross. As I waited, I realized that I always turn left towards the river. Habit is the enemy of creativity, so instead of left, I turned right. Before long I was lost, though when I later located myself with Google Maps, it turned out that I wasn’t far from my previous explorations, I’d just found a pocket that somehow I’d missed before.

Across the street, I spied some abandoned children’s rides. But the rides looked like they were on government property. While in Ho Chi Minh City I’d been stopped from photographing a gate by some military officers, for reasons I don’t understand. Since then, I’ve always been a little worried that I might inadvertently shoot something that’s restricted.

As I walked, I discovered an entrance to the rides from a park that seemed to invite guests, so I walked in. There was no one about as I photographed. Although it was a merry-go-round that had initially gotten my attention, it was the train track and old cars that excited me.


After I finished, I continued on my saunter. Further along, I came across the highest climbing wall that I’ve ever seen. Like the children’s carnival rides, it was a surprising, surreal, discovery. I almost walked by it, and then decided to enter the parking lot and photograph it. I was lucky to arrive early enough in the morning so that no one was climbing on it yet. The wall, without climber, and stripped of any sense of scale, almost appears to be a chess board sprinkled with sand…