A Trip to the Countryside

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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Rural traffic
 

Sugar cane fields, cashew orchards, and rice paddies dot the fertile green valleys of rugged hills west from Nha Trang. The curvy road was rougher than those of town. Hilly views became scenic as villages dwindled behind us and traffic became rural - an old woman herding goats toward a small bridge spanning the Cai River and several ox-drawn carts hauling firewood. After about an hour we took a narrow side-road leading to Doan's house. (pronounced Yawn's house)

 

Doan, a long-time friend of Ken's, is a former South Vietnamese Army officer who served as a scout and as a translator. After the war, and eighteen months of 'Re-education,'  he was pensioned a modest house and small plot of land - far from town.

Our hosts
Doan had invited us out here to meet some of his friends. While he drove Ken's Suzuki, with Ken on the back, I hopped on back of his brother's motorbike and we putted dusty dirt roads deeper into the countryside.

 

An elderly couple with a daughter, a widowed daughter-in-law, and six grand-children greeted us when we reached an old farmhouse. Apparently they knew we were coming and dressed as though for church. The old man swayed respect as he ushered the four of us to plastic chairs at a wide low table inside the weathered house.

 

The large room had a hard-packed dirt floor, swept clean, and was well lit by two pane-less windows.

Sugar cane and rice
A hardwood cabinet held a modern radio and a tidy stack of tattered books which appeared older than the man himself. The centerpiece of the main wall was a thick white cross embellished with colorful flowers and yellowed candles. Several religious paintings, favored psalms, and a calendar enhanced the wall further but a late-1950's framed wedding portrait caught my attention. Though the man had withered and grayed, he remained easily recognizable. The matriarch, however, has not aged so rough but filled and rounded and took a longer study. The old man spoke softly in French more than English as he shared black and white pictures of his youthful military years.

 

The women emerged from a side-room kitchen. They had prepared a feast which was surly much larger than their standard meal. The plates of chicken and pork bits, of fish, rice, and baguettes; the variety of three salads; and a bowl of beef and potato stew covered the table. The assorted sauces (which were hot, hot, and hotter), our small eating bowls, and chop sticks filled remaining table space. Bone fragments, hacked coarse and jagged by a butcher knife, and other food scraps were tossed to the floor and quickly scarfed up by a dog. The meat was a little tough but the meal filling and delicious. After we finished eating, the women and children cleared the table then retreated to the kitchen to eat, standing at a tall table. A nearby banana tree provided equally fresh desert.

worldcitizen says:
This sounds great. Next time I go to Vietnam, I'll have to see more of the countryside!
Posted on: Jun 25, 2008
tvillingmarit says:
I`m planning a trip to Vietnam next spring, I`ll keep your Vietnam blog in mind. Thanks
Posted on: May 11, 2008
sylviandavid says:
A fine description.... It sounded so nice looking at the cashew orchards, sugar cane and rice paddies..... thanks so much for sharing this. sylvia
Posted on: Feb 14, 2008
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Rural traffic
Rural traffic
Our hosts
Our hosts
Sugar cane and rice
Sugar cane and rice
The kids
The kids
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85