VIETNAM’s CRYSTAL CLOUD

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A manmade, magic cloud has descended in Yen Bay, among the mountains in a remote province in Northern Vietnam.

It was like the ancient rainbow legend come true: At the end of a long, dusty drive through northern Vietnam the Crystal Cloud was waiting for us on a plateau, built on Mam Xoi Hill.

The beauty of the landscape itself is absolutely breath taking – so much that the manmade Crystal Cloud has become a subject of controversy.

“Why spoil the beauty of our homeland with this kind of foreign invasion?” That’s just one of many facebook comments, after the Crystal Cloud became accessible to the public this weekend.

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The Crystal Cloud is created by two young landscape artists,  Vietnamese-American Andy Cao and French born Xavier Perrot.

After exploring the Crystal Cloud in early morning and late afternoon, I see it differently.  I see it as a gift to Vietnam, a token of admiration for nature itself, given with respect for the Vietnamese people, including the Hmong tribes who have cultivated and shaped these mountains for centuries.  In a sense, the Crystal Cloud is not the first manmade intervention in Nature’s beauty, it is a continuation of a long Hmong tradition.

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The Crystal Cloud is created by two young landscape artists,  Vietnamese-American Andy Cao and French born Xavier Perrot.  They used galvanized wire mesh, adorned with 58.000 Swarowsky crystals. Whenever the sun rays hit the crystals they set off a firework of colors.  So beautiful that it brings tears to your eyes.

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The Crystal Cloud came into being with support from Vietnamese architect Pham Duong and the Architects Association of Yen Bai province.  According to the local villagers, it took about a month to build the installation.

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My Nikon and I have no chance to recreate the beauty, but I did what I could with these images. I hope they can inspire you to go see for yourself.  The Crystal Cloud will be waiting for you until 5 October. Then it will move on to a new destination.

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