Tuesday, November 12, 2013

After theStorm--Around Hoi An

Written from Quy Nhon, 12 November 2013.  Weather fine (puffy clouds here and there) and quite warm, Stiff southerly breeze during the day.

Actually, we've moved on to Quy Nhon and you'd think that would be the topic of the discussion tonight, but how much can you make out of 300 km of nice road, light traffic, modest to boring (flat) scenery, though that's being a little rough.  A poet could do a lot with all the green fields and the running streams (some of them sparkling clear and others not so much), the growing gardens and young rice, the flights of white egrets (and the egrets hunting bugs and frogs along the road), the occasional small boat paddling through flooded fields and marshland, certainly the lunch could get a brief mention (rice (duh) with little bony chunks of pork rib and tough dried shrimp. . .no, that's really good. . .and stir fried green beans with garlic. . .or maybe that's the other way around).  So okay, it was a nice day riding, which is at least some of what we come for, but there's more to talk about Hoi An after the storm.  Basically it was just like Hoi An before the storm except there are an awful lot of sand bags up on roofs and the poor trees are feeling naked.  Otherwise, the shops are open, the cafes and restaurants are full, ladies from the Czech republic (and Poland and Japan and Korea and UK and France and the USA. . .) okay, ladies from all over are leading their men into dress shops and standing still to be measured and the men are quietly slipping across the street to a beer and a donut.  Where did all the donut sellers come from??  Donuts?  In Viet Nam?  To be fair, they also sell traditional batter fried slices of banana and yam.  I like the bananas.

But this was the first day of my experiment with taking a live archaeologist around to see live boats in use and under construction.  So we covered a lot of ground and took a lot of photos.  She (the archaeologist, not the motorbike) is young, pretty, half Asian and half European and speaks Vietnamese.  I have some expectation that we'll actually do better as a team than I do alone, but there are interesting dynamics here about old bald foreigners hanging around with noticeably Asian pretty young ladies.  Given the context (boat yards and fish docks) we seem to do just fine.  But of course, that was Hoi An, where tourists of every sort are absolutely everywhere.  We'll see how it goes farther south shortly.  Meanwhile, here's a little of what we saw:

Little impromptu markets, fish market in this case, spring up everywhere in Vietnamese cities.  What puzzles me is there hasn't been a boat at sea around here for four days, so where did these come from?  The river?  Could be.

This pretty lady will sell for about $2000 without an engine, or $250 more for a rebuilt Chinese diesel.  It's a 6 something, HP or Kilowatt or. . .but she's 7 meters long and won't go in a 20' container.  H'mm.

These are built by first setting up the upper planks and the ends on stakes in the ground, then working the tin in (somehow, I haven't seen that done yet) and finally adding the timber framing.  Some of these have engines, and for that matter, some of these wood and tin boats are quite good sized.

Ten year old twins.  Interesting that it is important which was born first. . .Anh va Em. . .Older brother and Younger brother, and so it will be all their lives.  

This little gal could not figure out what her dad thought was so great about a bearded bald headed foreigner, but at least she didn't break into tears. . .

A superb model of a trading boat from the last century (in a museum of ceramics. . .perhaps she carried rice bowls?).  These were still largely unmotorized (hence the numerous oars) even in the 1960's.  Now they're gone, trucks carry it all now, no need for sailing freighters.

From the balcony of the museum, actually a precious old wooden house, 300 years old (assuming I was actually listening when I should have been).

View of the interior courtyard of the old house.  Lots of detail!

After four days or more of enforced idleness ashore, every fisherman for miles around was headed to sea.  A deckload of crab pots leans against a fence on one side and will be set from the other.  

This is probably the largest all-basketry basket boat, though even so, it has a lot of wooden framing.  I've seen a very few of these hauled up on a beach before, but never under way.  Five of them were just a small part of the boats putting out to sea after the storm.  

A couple tending trammel nets (long skinny fish traps).  He only needs the one long oar to put that boat anywhere he wants it and with hardly any visible effort.  A pleasure to watch, and I'd love to learn how to do it.

If they were in a hurry she has a paddle she could dig in with, butshe's the one lifting the nets, so let him do it eh?

The old man has been on board helping get ready to sail, but now they're cutting loose and he's come ashore, or almost.

Be the first in your neighborhood to see a genuine round basket boat made out of blue barrels. . .and a little bamboo.  It seems to be tougher than nails, as long as the rivets don't pull out of the plastic.

The night after the night of the storm. . .we have fish again, tuna and mackerel, so pretty and they taste so good.

Dinner with Madam Thanh, the Banh Mi Queen (says so right on her push cart).

I think that should give you an idea or two. . .it was a busy day.

1 comment: