Published: April 12th 2012April 12th 2012
We had been warned not to have a heavy lunch so, after picking up my swanky boots, I found myself a funky restaurant with great art-work of the 'down with capitalism, big brother is watching you' variety and did as I was told and ordered myself a cheese cake and a banana lassi for my light lunch :P
We picked up the bikes from the hotel then set off on the slowest cycle ride I've ever been on. We were being led by a motorbike guy (as one of our group didn't feel confident cycling and so was on the bike with him). Despite the annoyingly slow speed and much breaking to avoid crashing into the person in front, we got to see some great stuff. After pootling along the banks of the river for a bit we headed off along some more of the concreted tracks through villages like we had on the motorbike ride near Hue. We again saw loads of people going about their every day lives and nearly everyone stopped what they were doing to have a gawp and then smile and wave. Those with children always pointed us out getting them to wave and say
hi. We stopped at a little tiny tots village nursery with about 8 little ones, so adorable, with huge big brown eyes and breaking out into big smiles, with a bit of encouragement. I can imagine exactly now the scene that met the American soldiers who turned up at the village of My Lai, women with children on their hip and running around them as they washed clothes, sat over a stove cooking some corn, weeding in the fields or hanging out some washing maybe with the older men out in the fields tending water buffalo or working in the paddy fields. HOW on earth could they possibly think these defenceless people were a threat? HOW could they massacre them? Just HOW? So fucked up! Unbelieveable.
Anyway we carried on and made a few more stops, seeing the rice almost ready to harvest, the beetle nut trees (looking a bit like palm trees) of 'black teeth mama' fame and prawn and shrimp farms. These had some weird looking contraptions that Phat explained were water aerators. They were basically long wooden rods with green, plastic, holey paddles on that were turned by a mini generator. We again saw the big
nets on a square frame that are dipped into the water and then raised to capture the fish. We also saw women drying coconut tree leaves by laying them all out in a row along the track that would be used for thatching when dry.
We eventually got to the boat and loaded our bikes on board before getting on ourselves and having a well deserved beer from the make shift cool-box. It was a lot cooler out on the water so we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery as we put putt-putted by. Pretty noisy engine again. We tried to get out onto the bank at one point but a farmer came rushing over to kick us off saying there was a crop planted there, we tried again a bit further up and the same guy had followed us in his canoe, but he was just checking, as this second spot was deemed ok. He even waved and smiled for photos.
The boat guy then turned into BBQ guy and the already lit BBQ, yes he had a pot belly BBQ alight ON the boat, was immediately put to use cooking up some pre-prepared scrummy food. It was
a bizarre sight seeing us sitting on the wooden benches, that had been our seats on the boat, and eating our BBQ food with chop sticks as the sun began to set. It was so peaceful and lovely. Eventually we had to pack up and leave to get the boat back to the harbour at Hoi An. What a wonderful last night in this lovely little town.
We were moving on again tomorrow. Next stop Nha Trang, beachy type place I think, that we get to via a long train journey. This time the train travel was to be during the day, so it would be nice to see some of the scenery as we went by this time.
There are more photos below