Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vietnam - day 6

We transfered to local boats and meandered through narrow channels to visit an evergreen island and floating fish farms.  This area is fairly flat, and criss-crossed by many canals and small rivers - all man-made (or man-redirected).  The flatness of the land lends itself to massive rice production - which is also reliant on the river flooding.  The area produces 30 per cent of Vietnam's rice in a tenth of its terrain.

River flooding is vital for agriculture all along the Mekong River and it is a matter of considerable concern to the people living along the river - China has plans for dozens of hydropower dams, proposing to build them without consideration for the needs of others living along the river.

Because of the flooding which occurs every year (so far) the houses are built on high stilts four or five metres above ground level, and the animals are kept in large corrals slung under the houses.  The animal floors are slatted and urine and excrement are collected in buckets for later use in the fields and vegetable patches.

Camera shy goats

The children all bounce excitedly around visitors and adults are graciously polite.  Almost everyone we meet in Vietnam and Cambodia says "please tell your friends about our country - we need tourists to improve the economy".  Their openness and generosity is a salutary lesson to those of us who live well and take life for granted.

After wandering around the island we headed for Tan Chau, district capital of Tan Chau, part of An Giang Province.  Confused?  Don't worry!  
Chillis drying

Corn drying

Fish drying

More fish drying
We wandered through a rattan making factory - the noise was horrendous.  One assumes all the employees are deaf.

Snail eggs
Tan Chau is famous for its silk, particularly Lanh My A - a silk dyed black by Diospyros mollis fruit (Mac Nua).  There's an interesting - and sad - article on the factory here.

The best way of getting around a hot dusty town is by trishaw - xe loi - good for the passenger, not so good for the driver.

Long day at the market

Blue is considered a lucky colour

Lotus flowers

Lotus seeds, extracted from ...

Lotus pods

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