Blogs from Chau Doc, An Giang, Mekong River Delta, Vietnam, Asia

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Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc February 15th 2021

Living, as I do, in the polluted, traffic-ridden metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, it is always a pleasure to travel to my wife’s home town of Tân Châu, a rural backwater on the Cambodian border, where the air is pure and rice fields dominate the landscape. It is now Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, and we have been in Tân Châu for almost a week. For me, one of the highlights of Tân Châu is sitting in my wife Thuy’s restaurant and gazing at the adjoining fields. The restaurant has a tin roof but is otherwise open to the elements, allowing me a splendid uninterrupted view of the various crops. I sit in my favourite armchair, book in hand, enjoying the pastoral scene. The fields comprise an oblong, roughly 2500 metres by 400 metres, bounded ... read more
Much Missed: Little Green Bee-Eater
The Lovely View from Thuy's Restaurant
The Mausoleum

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc December 11th 2017

After a good nights sleep woke to find the homestay was over the water due to the high tide. After a short boat ride back down the river, we started a long day in the saddle starting with a 40 km ride to lunch passing intense agricultural activities utilising the fertile rich soils of the Mekong delta. Lunch was a superb small village menu being the family home of our tour bike mechanics followed by another 40 km ride in quite warm conditions. We then had a short bus and ferry ride to Long Xuyen to end our 2 day Mekong experience before travelling to our last overnight stop in Vietnam at the Chau Pho Hotel. After dinner we had a rickshaw tour of the town to end our Vietnam visit.... read more
Our Homestay
A village fisherman
No load to big for a Scooter

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc May 31st 2017

I became 64 – a chessboard and a Beatles' song - on December 22nd 2015, but for many years my birthday has been a non-event. Call me an old misery if you like, but I attach no importance to the accidental date of my birth and have not celebrated it since childhood. As a child, I used to have birthday parties, but they were not the same as other children's. Being so close to December 25th, my birthday was obscured by the run-up to Xmas, and my birthday and Xmas gifts were often combined into one: "Kevin, here’s a nice pair of socks for your birthday and Xmas." Yes, I used to think, a sock for each day. When my wife, Thuy, told me on December 23rd that her relatives were going to celebrate my birthday, ... read more
Thuy In Song
Toby In His Cups (Trung Behind)

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc May 29th 2017

Tân Châu, An Giang, Vietnam Monday, December 26, 2016 Have just finished 'A Handful of Dust' by Evelyn Waugh. I raced through it in a day and a half. A fantastic read, breathtaking in every way. True, it hasn’t got the scope of ‘War and Peace’ or ‘Middlemarch’, but it is hard to think of a better novel. When I reread novels which thrilled me as a young man, I am usually disappointed. ‘Jude the Obscure’ and ‘The Return of the Native’ did little for me the second time round. But reading ‘A Handful of Dust’ for the second time was pure pleasure. I remember how impressed I was when I first read it circa 1978, when I was a young teacher in England. I remember raving about it to my A level class. Well, now ... read more
The Author

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc May 29th 2017

Tân Châu, An Giang, Vietnam Wednesday, December 28, 2016 XL. "Into my heart an air that kills..." A. E. Housman (1859-1936) Into my heart an air that kills From yon far country blows: What are those blue remembered hills, What spires, what farms are those? That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, The happy highways where I went And cannot come again. I thank my friend Paul Crute for introducing me to this lovely lyric. A.E. Housman is a poet I hardly know at all. I remember reading somewhere that he was Kingsley Amis's favourite poet. Anyway, this poem is a little gem. I find the opening two lines especially moving. As an expat living far way from my native land, I often feel nostalgic for England - at least for ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc May 29th 2017

Tân Châu, An Giang, Vietnam Wednesday, December 28, 2016 Christmas Day, 1pm, Tan Chau, Mekong Delta, Vietnam. The heavy rains have passed, and today, under an azure sky, the once-waterlogged fields are a splendid patchwork of greens: the lush green of young rice, the darker green of sweetcorn, the bluish-green of lotus, the yellow-green of papaya leaves. Ensconced in a rocking-chair at the edge of my wife's restaurant, I have the best of two worlds: I read my book and simultaneously enjoy the view. An oblong expanse of land – 100 hectares of crops divided into small plots and bounded by country lanes – spreads itself before me. The only trees that haven’t been cut down are fruit trees - papaya, mango and custard-apple - but around the uncultivated perimeter of this agricultural tapestry grow a ... read more
Lotus Plants

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc May 28th 2017

Tan Chau, Vietnam Friday, February 12, 2016 I've just finished ploughing my way through 'Middlemarch’ by George Eliot. And I really mean ‘ploughing’ - it was sometimes the literary equivalent of walking through mud. The Collins Classic edition I have is 959 pages long. I read it over four days – skimming some parts, reading other parts deeply. This is the second time I’ve read it. The first time I was 18 and taking English Literature ‘A’ level. My final verdict now is much the same as it was then: this is a superbly written novel, a magnificent feat of organisation and psychological analysis, but it lacks the power of some other novels I've read. The most obvious comparison is with Flaubert's ‘Madame Bovary’, also a study of provincial society. However, the story of Emma Bovary ... read more
Mary Anne Evans aka George Eliot

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc May 26th 2017

Tan Chau, An Giang Province, Viet Nam, Feb 7th 2012 My girlfriend's paternal grandmother died on November 8th 2010 aged 101. I’d met her once, 3 years before, at her house. My girlfriend, Thuy, had, for some reason, led me to believe she was 110 – we used to refer to her as mot tram muoi. She looked 110, so crumpled and wrinkled was her face. I took several photos of her along with Thuy and her son, Thuy’s father. Her corpse lay in state for four days before she was buried. I didn’t see her corpse and I haven’t seen her grave yet, but today – Boxing Day – I attended a memorial service for her in Tan Chau. It was held in the small upstairs room of a relative’s house. The room was packed ... read more
Grandmother and Son (Thuy's Father)
Grandmother

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » An Giang » Chau Doc May 26th 2017

Chau Doc, Vietnam Monday, February 23, 2015 The Vietnamese New Year almost over, my wife Thuy decided that a trip to see various Buddha statues in the vicinity of Chau Doc would be both interesting for me and good for her. She would pray to the Buddhas for health and happiness in the coming year. We hired a luxurious taxi for the day, and eight of us – myself, Thuy, one sister and husband, the Cambodian boy who works for Thuy, one niece (Bia Tuoi) and two other girls (Nguyen Du and Nguyen Trang) – set off from Tan Chau at 8-30am. Our first stop was a temple, some distance beyond Chau Doc, which I had never previously visited. The initial focus here was on the several Lady Buddhas. Thuy, who follows the Buddhist rituals, knelt ... read more
Tortures of the Damned
Beneath The Buddha
"Jolly, Magnanimous and Merciful"




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