Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist


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Snapshot Saturday: Slate Rooftop, Vietnam

slate closeup

Shot of a rooftop in the magnificent countryside that surrounds the now-desolate town of Lai Chau, in Northwest Vietnam.

The tiles were hewn from the huge slate hills that loom over these houses. Unlike the drab grey slate that I’ve seen elsewhere, this stone is a variegated melting-pot of browns and greys. Earlier this year, I rode through these hills looking for papermakers in the region. My silent driver and I sat on a spindly motorbike and sputtered over sun-blasted peaks, covered in dust from the unpaved road beneath our wheels.

He thought I was daft for renting a motorbike for a day to talk to minority papermakers, who spoke strange languages (and who barely spoke Vietnamese) and wore strange clothing. When I took this photo of a humble rooftop, he considered me certifiable.

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