left on walnut

Tag: Vietnam

Python

While we were touring the Cambodian fishing village on the waters of Tanlé Sap, a father and his two kids motored up to our boat. The older boy sat in the front of the sampan. The younger son sat in the middle, with a live python draped around his neck. After everyone shot some photos, we tipped the dad a couple dollars and off they went.

Pink Stripes

These little convenience stores are all over Vietnam. I first noticed the pile of pink striped fabric on the floor of what might be a convenience store in Vietnam.The little open-air factory was abandoned when I was there taking photos. Then, next door, I noticed a little clothing factory behind a chain link fence where the dresses were being made.I've had dresses like this: big, comfy, cotton knit. I've not thought much about where and how they were made. All was quiet in the open-air factory. The women were on a lunch break, I suspect.Sweatshop 2-2In a few minutes, one lady came back to work in the convenience store. Her job was to trim the threads close to the seams.chickenA chicken, tied up outside, wore the same striped fabric, but in green.

Graduation Day in Vietnam

Like much that matters, graduations are the same in Hanoi as in our town. Stand tall, the future is yours.

Cashews

Biking on a day in the mid-90’s, the water stop couldn’t come soon enough. After pulling off the road, I drank half a bottle and poured the rest down my back to cool off. John, one of our guides in Vietnam, planned water stops at places of local interest. We’d watch men mend fishing nets one day and we’d talk to a local farmer the next. Once we walked through a shady grove of latex trees. Breaks meant drinking water, finding a WC, and taking a few photographs. At this stop, young women were hulling and skinning cashews.

If I’d thought at all about how cashews were produced, I would have guessed groves grew somewhere in California and Kraft Foods operated processing plants that hulled, roasted, and packaged them. But that’s not so. We import them. Our imports primarily come from Vietnam. They’re processed, at least in part, through forced labor or under harsh conditions.

One fan under the corrugated tin roof hardly moved the air. The hullers wore masks and long sleeves because oil from the husk is caustic and burns the skin. These women might make $5 a day, according to John. He didn’t say how long the days were.

I walked back out into the mid-day sun and biked away. Pouring more water down my back didn’t make me feel cleaner.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Biking Vietnam

Our bike trip through Vietnam was booked through Vermont Biking Tours. We flew to Hanoi in mid-December to meet eight other couples. Some folks were in their 40’s. One man, an incredible cyclist, was 78. Most were in their 50’s. Two men in our group served in Vietnam during the war.

Biking started when we arrived in the central region of Vietnam, near the towns of Hue and Hoi An. After a short flight south, we biked through the Mekong Delta. Along the way we saw temples, pagodas, markets. We visited Ho Chi Minh’s house and watched water puppetry. We saw Da Nang and bamboo boats. We saw small temples within rice paddies. We saw thousands and thousands of mopeds and scooters. We visited the heartbreaking Củ Chi tunnels.

My thanks to Cameron for most of these photos. It takes a rider more coordinated than I to snap photos as we pedal along.

Hạ Long Bay

We began our trip through Vietnam with a night on Hạ Long Bay. A four hour drive east of Hanoi, rice paddies and rural villages finally give way to the town of Hạ Long. Hạ Long Bay, otherworldly in its misty silence, seems insulated from the rest of Vietnam, tucked among mythical limestone islets. Traveling to Hạ LongFishing boat Kayaking Hạ Long Bay Fishing the mist Sunrise on Hạ Long BayVietnam's flag