Published: December 30th 2006December 6th 2006
Wake Up overlooking lak lake for a breakfast of Beef Curry and bread! And Coffee of course. Back on the bike but not for long, coffee literally takes it out of me, had to find a toilet fast!! Stopped for a chat with some locals and they informed me of what times were like immediately after the war under the new socialist government. It was the Marx-Lenin communist type system. They ran re-education camps for the South Vietnamese people. This had disastrous effects, as former skilled workers and trades men were taken out of their jobs and were made attend socialist lectures, and remolded into what the new government wanted.
On a brighter note, my driver informed me of Vietnam’s last King and how he resided at Lak Lake most weekends for hunting expeditions with his friends. Nicknamed “the sex king” because of his promiscuous activities left the country for Paris in 1945 when the communist party made power.
It was to be a day of production. Witnessed first hand how the people of the central highlands produce bricks, rice and pottery. In that order! Wherever the soil was not fertile enough for rice or coffee, one might find a Brick
farm there. Here the soil is used to mould into brick shapes and left dry under the sun before heating in giant cookers made from the bricks themselves. These farms will become more prominent as Vietnam tourism brings more and more money into the country. What astounded me the most, were the women on that farm and how they lifted the bricks with ease!! Have a look at the photo in case you don’t believe me…
You didn’t have to look far to find paddy fields, they were everywhere from Lak Lake to Buan Ma Thuan, our next destination. I didn’t know rice production was as strenuous. Not alone are the workers constantly bent over all day, but they have to relocate rice seedling when they are 10cm in height to a new field and replace them with new seeds. The rice is then finally picked when yellow in color.
Next stop was at a small pottery maker’s house. The pots were made from sand, water and a gelling agent. He sold them at 40,000 Vietnamese Dong each, a mere 2 euro for something worth 10-15 times its price at home.
Back on the bike for more country side scenery.
Nam pointed out evidence of poor growth due to agent orange pollution. The Vietnamese Government are tackling this problem by planting a certain tree type that can soak up the chemical through its roots. This process takes 5 years to rid an affected area of the poisonous chemical.
Visited Thac Voi waterfalls, a bridge that was unsuccessfully mined by the VC and finally arrived in Buan Ma Thuan for fresh spring rolls and Nam Chua?? Aka raw meat mixed with garlic, chilly and herbs and wrapped in banana leaf for 4 days. Nice!
There are more photos below