Monday, July 04, 2016

MENU goes East - Leaving Ha Long Bay, a visit to a Vietnamese village

On our way back to Hanoi, we were taken to a village to see the traditional Water Puppets. We also opted to take another tour to see how people of the village live and farm. It's a small village, quite middle class and very clean, especially when compared with the streets of Hanoi. We finished the day with a meal which we helped to make. A lovely experience
Back in port, we leave Dragon Legend. The crew waves us goodbye from the after deck
The happy band of relaxed passengers on the tender, all sad that the cruise has come to an end
Into our luxury vehicle, off to the day's first attraction, the water puppets
Across the bridge in searing midday heat
A cheery welcome
Some complimentary fruit and treats
The band played along to some recorded music
And the puppets appeared
We were told folk tales
About planting rice
and mystical birds
The ceiling of the grandstand, decorated with dried palm fronds
One of the tourists had this great shirt on
And another story
And finally the puppeteers appear in their fishing long johns and take a bow. To be honest, it was long and rather excruciating in the heat . It is apparently a very ancient art and they are justly proud of it. It is good that they have preserved the art
Then we climbed back into the bus and arrived at our typical village. The young folk were given bikes to ride. This family of lovely people came from Iceland. They are well travelled and the children were a delight to be with on the trip. The slightly older, us, were allowed to ride in a golf cart. The road was a bit bumpy, hence the rather unfocussed photograph
We passed orchids and beautiful flowers in the memorial garden
This is a shrine to guerrilla fighters (all from the three local villages) who were killed hiding from the French during the occupation. Most of them were killed as they were trapped in the cave behind this memorial
The memorial plaque tells the story. This happened on the 13th of December 1950
As we drove on, we drove past newly harvested rice which was put on the concrete road to dry out
Past the ripening rice paddies
The rice hanging heavy on the stems
It grows very tall here, almost to the shoulders of the people in the paddy
At the farm, we saw an ancient winnowing machine
Take a look at the rice chaff and grains
This machine separates them
Any volunteers for separating the chaff from the rice?
He is an expert
Then we saw the very primitive mill that beats the rice and separates the bran from it. It is operated by one man using the long pole as a seesaw with his feet. He stands on the cross bar. At the same time another risks his hands by pushing the rice in the mortar back under the pestle
The rice is then sieved from the bran
Then for the young and brave, waterproof trousers and wellington boots
They are going to catch fish in the pond. This young woman demonstrates how they will do it with the fish basket
He gets in and criss-crosses the pond slamming down the basket until he traps a fish in it
Off they go. It was very amusing to watch. And they all caught a fish. Eventually
This is how you do it, see?
Someone's dinner. I don't fancy the life of the fish who must have been quite disturbed, even if not caught, this time
You have to feel for the fish and then grab it
Off to pick some herbs for dinner
Very proud of his catch and deservedly so, he worked very hard to get it
And his older brother also got one
We were off to dinner, but the farmers were still working 
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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