Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life in the Country! Part 2

Hello everyone. So let's start our little journey up the stream and see what we find.

So the tide was slack, meaning that the currents were at standstill. When the tide is going out, there is a current to the right - leading out to the main river. When the water is coming back in, the current moves to the left.

My sister in law took the stern(back) of the boat.

And Anne took the bow (front) of the boat. I sat in the middle, getting a freed ride - yah let the girls do the work:)!

The scenery is unbelievable! It is like out of a movie. All kinds of trees and plants grow out into the water. The depth seemed to be only about 3-4 feet. So if the boat ever turned over, at least I can stand and carry the little nephews out.

A cow staring at us with interest!

Here is me and my nephews. The older one is eight and the younger one is almost two years old.

Some people don't have access to running water. Here is one local washing dishes in the canal. These people collect and drink rain water. This is a common practice in many undeveloped countries. I remember drinking rainwater all the time in Tonga when I used to stay way out in the boonies.

Watch your head!

We ran into these fern looking water plants. The were literally growing in our paths.

Then the ferns got taller!

We were really into the shrubbery - lots of fun!

As you can see, our path got narrow. The ferns and water palms were growing all over the place.

These water palms are used to make roof tops of houses and buildings. They are weaved and dried. The locals harvest them regularly and sell them to distributors. Some from this bunch already has been cut down. Note the small brown bundles sticking out? These are the palms and you can eat the seeds.

Here is Giang, Anne's younger sister steering the boat. I tried to paddle and control the boat from the back before, but just kept going in circles!

Someone's fish trap. These things are everywhere, usually if front of the owner's house. Basically there is a small opening that the fish enter. Once in, they cannot find their way out. Because the water ways are all connected, fish from the big river can wander into these small tributaries. Many end up in the rice patties and cannot get out.

And here is the bridge that we crossed earlier.

Someone's small boat conveniently parked underneath the bridge.

Some fallen dead trees blocking our way!

Finally we came out of the brushwork. There is a dirt road that runs parallel to the canal. The road leads to the rice patties. Note the cemetery in the background.

Out here in full sunlight, different type of water plants were growing.

This stretch of water was really narrow.

These large grass looking plants are used to feed cows.

Along the way, we picked up Anne's brother.

Check out this old fish trap. The netting is missing, so it hasn't been used in a long time. The way it works is that a netting is sprawled out at the end of the long poles. Then through a hinge system, the whole contraption is lowered down into the water. The trick is to lay the netting on top of the fish all the way to the bottom, trapping the fish. The fish will get stuck on the netting on it's fins or scales. Then the whole unit is lifted back up with fish dangling. Then it is just a matter of removing the fish. I've seen this type of trap in action and I got to tell you, it is very effective. I once saw a woman with a bucket full of fish that she caught with this type of a trap, though her's was a smaller hand held version. She would simply walk along the bank and drop the netting at random places.

My wife Anne looking very Vietnamese!

A house way out in nowhere. The people that live way out here are very poor. The houses are simple they have no electricity or running water.

Someone's boat sitting in a "garage".

Then we came across a low bridge. Anne hopped on to the makeshift crossing to lift one of the logs so we can pass.

After we passed, she hopped back onto to the boat.

Some of the numerous makeshift shelters for the farm animals. Note the roof is made out of the water palm plants.

This farmer raises ducks. It is not for the meat, but for the eggs. Remember the balut that we talked about on the last post? This is one of Anne's sister's egg suppliers. The husband goes and buys eggs from these people everyday.

It got really shallow as we moved along. The long oar is touching the bottom. It couldn't have been more than two feet deep at this spot.

A local farmer going to spread medicine on his precious rice.

Another house along the canal bank. I really feel sorry for these people, but I guess that is just the way it is. One of my wife's goals in life is to come back to her village and help the poor people. Growing up, her family used to live out here, so she knows how it is. Later, you will see where her house used to be.

Another bridge. Good thing it is tall enough so we can go under:)

Another fish trap. I've seen these similar designs in Tonga, except that it was one hundred times the size. These traps are laid out on the shores. When the tide goes out, the fish get stranded. When the tide comes in, new fish come with it and get trapped again. So it is very effective and the fish are simply picked up on low tide.

Then we finally reach our destination.


Ok guys that is it for today. The boat ride is simply marvelous. For the locals, it is no big thing because they see it everyday. But for a city folk like me, it is truly breathtaking. It really brings me back memories of my childhood days in Korea. I grew up in the country just like this, minus the banana and coconut trees!

Here is what is coming up next. We start a small fire to roast sweet potatoes!



drimo said...

Thank you, I have enjoyed reading about your trip and have learned some things about life in Vietnam.

Eddie H. said...

Hi Matthew,

Hey, thanks for following my blog and letting me know that what I'm doing is appreciated. I wish more people would comment as it is quite a bit of work to do one of my posts. It takes me hours. But I do enjoy sharing my adventures. It's just that it would be nice to hear from people time to time. More about Vietnam is coming up!


drimo said...

No problem, I can understand how much work it takes to make these posts. I found your blog earlier this week and I need to go back through some of the earlier posts. Thanks again!

Eddie H. said...

Hi Matthew,

Make sure you read all of my posts, starting with "hello world". It will give you a good background on me. There is a lot of interesting info on my posts.


drimo said...

Thanks, Eddie, will do!

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