Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vietnam and Cambodia - tying up the loose end

We've been home almost a month now from our sojourn to SE Asia. With this entry my blogging of our adventure will be complete although I've got lots more work to do on my photo blog on Flickr. But this is fun work. Keeping it all fresh in mind! So this entry is all the loose ends I forgot to post about...a potpourri of bits and pieces of a fine holiday!

To Market, To Market. When we returned to Hanoi for the last time at the end of our trip there had been torrential rains for weeks and there considerable flooding along the Red River and within Hanoi itself. The rain had abated for a few days so we didn't have too much trouble on the main route but we saw many, many flooded fields of rice that had been just ready for harvest. Apparently farmers had been harvesting what they could in the rain in the hopes of salvaging some of the crops. What we saw were people selling ears of corn in heaps along the road into Hanoi. We hadn't seen that before. early harvest with no market for so much corn. Many, many women sitting in a drizzle with stacks of corn on plastic tarps.

Eggs Anyone? We saw all sorts of things carried on a motorcycle throughout Vietnam...cases of beer, panes of glass, several children, whole pigs freshly slaughtered. But one of the most amazing things we saw was the guy on the outskirts of Hanoi with dozens and dozens and dozens of eggs in baskets strapped and stacked onto , from and around his motorcycle. Between his legs, above his head, on the front where the head lights was. That would be one messy omelet if he took a wrong turn!!!

Evening Lanterns in Hoi An. I forgot to mention the lanterns that hang everywhere throughout downtown old Hoi An. They are strung across streets, patios, from doors. In the evening it is delightful to stroll amongst the soft light that the lanterns emit.

Aussies in Hoi An. I think one small Austrialian City decided to take a holiday in Vietnam. Aussies everywhere.

Boat Ride on River in Hoi An. We took a boat ride from Hoi An out to the mouth of the river with views of the Cham Island. It took about 2 hours and we saw many fishing boats, fishing nets strung from posts in the water (used with lights for night time fishing), coconut palm plantations, cattle on the shore, more fishing boats, a few egrets, and ferry boats (people and bikes not cars) and more fishing boats. We watched a fellow toss the local weighted fishing nets used from the long pirogue like boats. The only negative thing about the trip was that the guy tried to insist that the price was more when we got back...we weren't buying it...we paid what we agreed on and left it at that. Curious.

More on our evening cyclo ride in Hoi An. The night that we took the cyclo out to the residential areas around Hoi An was delightful. Perfect temperature...not too humid. We drove past new 2 story houses going up along the river that sat next to simple one or two room homes with fishing nets hanging outside. We passed women and men working on mending the nets and children playing with a jump rope (hi, hi, hi, hi, hi,!). We laughed at a young dog wrestling with an obliging kitten on the porch of a small home and at another dog that was being shooed out of a garden by a set of nasty geese. We drove through an area of rice paddies in the failing light and came upon the rear end of a water buffalo who was not too happy with sharing the road with cyclos and cycles...he kept trying to run back off the road into the field...his owner had his handsful. Men sat fishing at the edge of small, still ponds. And karaoke bars waiting for the later in the night crowds. We saw two young men loading a block of ice onto a small fishing boat using a makeshift wooden slide that stretched across the sidewalk (they had to move it so we could get through). A small crowd gathered around the floating gas pump haggling over baskets of fish? produce? not sure. The locals evening in Hoi was nice to get a glimpse of it.

Hoi An Hotel :

Pros: a very roomy clean room, comfortable bed, good hot water, safe, good air conditioning, great pool, pleasant staff, good location, a very good value...we paid only $60 per night. Cons: the tub was SO huge, the water so slow, and the plug so antiquated that you could forget filling up the tub for a bath. The lights in the room were a little dim...but not too bad. If you want to be able to have your windows'd be better off above the 1st floor.

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