Thursday, April 14, 2016

An Afternoon of Interest

Laundry day here.
Like I said earlier, the midday break for lunch and a little rest on the Sun Deck is not all bad! Actually it get so hot in the middle of the day that most places close as no one ones to be out in the heat. We did a fair amount of walking and climbing on and off or in and out of transportation modes. The staff is also protecting us from eating in the villages as well as watching for heat and sun stoke signs.

Working woman
The sampan returned later in the day to take us to the village of Thot Not, where xe loi (motorized tri-shaws) carried us through the village to a bird sanctuary. I thoroughly enjoyed cruising along the river to observe the people of the country go about their daily business of life.
Usual transportation

Floating Starbucks!
Laundry day
Of course, the housing looks rather unstable and not up to any standard most of us would accept. It will be nice to see inside some of the homes. The tour company has made arrangements in some of stops to go to homes and see how they live. And it provides a revenue source for those families. I don't know how they are chosen.

Many people live on their boats. I can relate to that! However, they don't have all of the modern convenience I have. In fact, they don't have window panes, just wooden shutters to hold off the rain and wind.

Swimming to cool off
I marveled at the way they steady those canoe-type vessels while standing up to paddle. The river can be quite turbulent at times with all of the traffic. Many of the vessels of all sizes have outboard motors. They are very different from the ones we know. Theirs have a very long shaft that extends outward instead of straight down.
Bath time
We saw people washing clothes, bathing, swimming and working on the river. It is truly essential for their existence. The children loved to holler from the banks to get our attention. When we waived back, they squealed and yelled more as they ran along to keep up with us.

The Mekong River is everything to these people - especially the boat dwellers. It is their market, their highway, their bathing and toilet area, etc.

One woman with the help of her family has created a sanctuary for egrets. There is something close to 300,000 of them nesting in this area. To really see them, we climbed up a viewing tower. The trees were full of these white beauties! Not being a lover of birds, I kept my distance and let others have the front row view!
We took another rather unique vehicle to get to the bird sanctuary. It was a three-wheeled truck! I don't think it meets US vehicle standards at all. We sat in the rear and my Vietnamese rice paddy hat blew off. Fortunately, the truck behind us picked it up. Dennis was under the weather so he missed this adventure.

We stopped at a rice paddy.
Along the way we stopped at a rice field to see the way rice is grown. Since it was the dry season,  it wasn't green and there was not much water in the irrigation canals.

I had never seen rice in its natural state so it was interesting to learn a little about it and how it is grown and processed. I can't imagine the hard labor of bending over all day to pick the ripened sheaves of grain and then having to process it to get the grains out and prepared for consumption.
Rice au natural

We finally got to the bird sanctuary as the sun was sinking in the sky and the birds were returning to roost for the night. There were white birds everywhere in the trees. Once I got to the top of the lookout, I saw a sea of white feathers for miles around me!

An amazing site.

Here is one on the ground.
This is the temple at the gate to the bird sanctuary.
It looks like the canal water gets high during rainy season!

I surely would not like to walk across that everyday!

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