Vietnam: Water Villages and Yen Duc 

23/9
We woke early this morning and opened the curtains to see that the boat had already started moving towards our next destination- the local water village. 
We had a light breakfast before taking the Dragon Pearl’s smaller boat to an area to meet fisher men. We had to step down into bamboo boats (which I was not very good at) and then we were rowed out to the village area.


We saw lots of floating homes and fishing boats on the water, most of which were occupied with people who lived on the water. We got off the boat and onto some of the floating buildings. 


I was really intrigued by the floating school there which has only been out of action for a couple of years in favour of boarding schools in the city. The floating school was basic to say the least- I suppose that a blackboard and some seats is all you need when it comes down to it!


There were massive holes in the floor of the floating village where some of the latest fish catches were being housed. We saw some massive fish but could only make out the distant shadow of the groapa at the bottom of the net. 


We sampled some guava fruits which were rather butter before getting back on our bamboo boat ( I was a little more sturdy this time) to explore the area a little further. I loved how peaceful the area was- so different to our lives at home. 


We took the bamboo boat all the way back to the Dragon’s Pearl and packed our things before disembarking and catching our next transfer to Yen Duc village. 
When we arrived at Yen Duc we were greeted by our lovely guide, Tea, who gave us some delicious local snacks of boiled sweet potato and sweet rice soup. We then had a little time to rest and sort our belongings out. Our room was amazingly luxurious, a million times better than the hostel set up we have been frequenting. 


There was even a bath- something I hadn’t seen at all whilst travelling!
We hopped on cute little bicycles and set of to see the village. I was a little nervous at first but I soon got into the swing of it and was really enjoying it, especially as my bike was so elegant and beautiful. 


Our first stop was to visit an 83 year old lady called Mrs Pham who gave us some really lovely and naturally sweet local tea. We looked around her house which had been built by her great grandfather in law- six generations had lived in the home, and apparently as is customary for Vietnamese people, the house was very much dedicated to the relatives. 


There was a massive family tree showing hundreds of relatives and many photographs of descendants and certificates of people’s achievements.
We saw the shrine in the middle of the house which is where local people pray to and worship their dead relatives. They leave offerings for their relatives to use in the afterlife and burn incense which they believe is there way of bridging the gap between the real world and the spirit world.


Following this we cycled to another small area where we learned about how rice is processed by hand in the villages. It’s a lengthy process but we tried out all of the stages. I wasn’t quite a natural but it was good fun none the less.



Our next activity was one I had really been looking forward to- bamboo cage fishing. We peeled our bodies into long Wellington boots with waterproof trousers attached (practical but in no way sexy) and we got stuck into the sludge. 


I found it hard to believe there were fish in there but people started catching them quite quickly. The family we were sharing the experience with we’re really lovely and almost as clumsy as me, so it didn’t matter that it took me a good fifteen minutes to get my fish out of the cage (which someone else had caught). 


I was a bit upset as my fish looked a little bloodied, but apparently it’s quite normal and they’re really resilient. I freed Keith (my fish) after a few seconds of inspecting him and then peeled myself back out of the sexy trousers. I was rather soaked from splashing around despite the water proofs.
We headed back to the place we were staying and I was remarkably comfortable on the bicycle. In fact I was so comfortable I was thinking of getting a similar bike at home to use around the village. I spoke too soon…our guide stopped unexpectedly resulting in a dramatic re-steer by me: panic struck, sludge surrounded me, I was on my back sodden by smelly rice mud with the bicycle as a blanket. I was unhurt and found it quite funny, but not as funny as the locals who came pouring out of their homes to inspect the catastrophe. Apparently no tourist had ever managed that before. I do like to be a trend setter, after all.


I trudged back to the area where we were staying, greeted by the roars of laughter from the chef and waiter. I had to be physically hosed down due to the quantity of muck that had somehow enveloped me. Delicious.

 

After A LOT of soap we enjoyed a lovely dinner with our new Goerdie friends and then made little floating cakes and fried them together for dessert. The cakes were tasty but reminded me rather too much of food we had in Fujian, so I couldn’t stomach many!

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