Well walking from place to place is not as easy as I thought it would be. So, I have modified my plan. I will take a taxi or train to where I want to go and walk the local areas. This is certainly not as exercise intensive, but the experience quality is excellent.
I left Thanh Hoa on February 7, by taxi, to visit a farm Homestay belonging to Lien’s sister in Ba Thuroc. Three hours later I arrived to the beautiful little farm. The farm consists of 3 acres with 3 small ponds used for irrigation and fish farming. An abundant vegetable garden is also grown. They grow chicken and buffalo as well. They grow sugar cane, luong, (a type of bamboo) and many many fruit trees. The fruit trees I remember are persimmon, comquat, lemon, quava, papaya, mango, breadfruit, star fruit, tea, fig, betel nut, apple, and banana.
The geography is quite drifferent than Thanh Hoa. Here it is more mountainous and flat plains are not as abundant. There is a fair amount of corn and sugar cane grown here, but still there is rice. Much of the area seems to be small subsistant farms.
The extended family is a large part of Vietnamese life as can be seen ten fold during the Tet holiday. The farm was filled with family members. Grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and many grandchildren. The little girls took a fancy to me, I don’t know why.
The meals here on the farm are as fresh as can be. Eating local is truly eating local. Every meal has rice, as well several kinds of meat or fish. Fresh greens and vegetables abound. Large eating mats are laid out, filled with bowls and plates of food, and everybody cozys up to a spot and eats sitting on the mat. I am the only non family member here and I am treated special as guest of honour. It is extremely hard to finish my bowl of food because as soon as someone sees that I have eaten some, the bowl gets refilled with choice bits
How is the Fishing? (Fishing with a net pulled between the two)
Toan and Phong
Fresh Fish for Dinner (They caught 3, but kept the largest)
Breakfast one morning
One day we went to the annual carp run at the Luong Ngoc Fish Stream in the Cam Thuy District. There was a local market with lots of tasty Vietnamese fast food. A stroll along the stream to the stream head, then up a series of natural stone steps to enter the underground caverns. After leaving the caves we settled in at one of the food stops and had a drink and a snack. Most of the group had a banh xeo, a crispy pancake filled with egg and some pork. We also had a Vietnamese sausage. We then did a little shopping and browsing in the market. I bought 4 stuffed toys for the kids. (Grand total of $10 CDN).
The local park was decorated for Tet so we spent an hour or so checking out the displays and gardens. There was seven of us in the group and we had come the 25 km on 3 motorbikes. On the way back to the farm all three motorbikes had mechanical problems. This was not a problem as there are many car/motorbike repair places. I can understand why as the roads punish the bikes badly. One oil change for a badly overheated bike, one rear wheel alignment as the the tire started to rub against the frame, and one tire repair. The total bill for repairs, including oil and labour was $4.00 CDN.
Phong Hung Hai
Kien, Lien, Toan, Hai, Hung, Phong
I am adding photos of some of the people I have met.
Khoa, Thom, Lien, Thi
Xoe and Thuy
Ke and Ha
Hoa and Xoe
Hurong and Xoan
Ha, Tham, Thu, Lan Ahn, Trang
Kien and baby
Lien, Hanh, Baby
Well that is it for now.
PS It has taken me 3 days to find a stable connection in order to post.