Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2011/02/09

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Subject: [Leica] Planning a trip (with Leicas)
From: csemetko at (Craig Semetko)
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2011 23:18:11 -0800
References: <>

Hey Phil,

Richard's right--a smile goes a long way. I was in Vietnam and  
Cambodia last March and into April. My main problem was I ran out of  
passport pages when I arrived in Phnom Penh. The customs man kept  
saying "we have a problem..."; I thought he wanted a bribe. Turns out  
he finally put in an addendum, and since it was Thursday and the  
embassy didn't do passport pages on Fridays, I was stuck in PP a  
little longer than I expected. But it turned out fine and as a result  
of my unexpected extra stay I got a picture that ended up in Unposed.  
So all's well that ends well.

The Cambodian people were VERY nice to me. But be prepared to see some  
real poverty--in fact I ran into people that had maimed their children  
for sympathy handouts. One of the most disturbing things I've ever  
seen. It's not advised to give money to kids--they are usually being  
run by adults who are probably not using the money to help the kid.

STREET! I was run down by a motorcycle in Hanoi. Very unpleasant.  
Fortunately nothing was broken, but I had to see a doctor when I got  
home. The scooters and motorcycles are omnipresent and there is very  
little in the way of rules. So use caution when crossing.

Also, you will get different reactions from different people in  
Vietnam--most people were great, but more than a couple were not. I  
was lost at one point and approached a guy in a park with a map in my  
hand. No one was within 50 yards of us. I began to talk to him and he  
stared straight ahead--he would not even acknowledge my existence.  
Seeing an American brings back a lot of bad memories for some of the  
older people there. If you get that vibe, just smile and move on.

I was never told to stop shooting anything, and never had the feeling  
I would be in trouble for shooting anything. Seriously, common sense,  
a little street smarts, and a smile are your best friends.

For what it's worth, I took and M9 and an MP, a 90 elmarit and a 50  
and 35 summilux. I hardly ever used the 90. In total, 5 shots from  
those 8 days ended up in Unposed--3 from the M9 processed in silver  
efex pro and 2 from the MP and Tri-X.

Have a great time and safe travels!


On Feb 9, 2011, at 10:22 PM, lug-request at wrote:

> From: Richard Man <richard at>
> Subject: Re: [Leica] Planning a trip (with Leicas)
> To: Leica Users Group <lug at>
> Message-ID:
>       <AANLkTin7TMaqEXaBTmWp+JmSPt42dSNU3mhhptyq-Mgk at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> I have seen a number of photo essays from people traveling to that  
> part of
> the world. Even monks have cell phones now :-) I have not heard of any
> problems unless you go to politically sensitive areas (e.g. Burma,  
> and may
> be Thai- Cambodia border etc.)
> I heard smiling a lot helps :-)
> On Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 8:27 PM, Phil Forrest <photo.forrest at 
> >wrote:
>> Yup, I didn't ask what to take at all. I think I've got that figured
>> out. I'm wondering about any ordinances I should know, taboos,  
>> customs.
>> What to take a photo of and what not to. Hanging around the middle  
>> east
>> for a long time made me very conscious about it. I appreciate the
>> feedback on gear but that's the smallest part of the trip. I could  
>> make
>> due with disposables if need be.
>> Thanks all,
>> Phil Forrest