Country Roads

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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Countryside traffic

In my endeavor to find and cross all seven bridges that span the Cai River between Nha Trang and Highway 1 - about a seven mile distance - I got to explore spectacular countryside far off the beaten path. Bamboo forest, rustic farm houses, coconut groves, banana plantations, and shaded gardens all scattered along both banks of the river. Cars were non-existent and any traffic was on foot, bicycle, or motorbike. The only horns were on the oxen tugging wooden carts. Those hauled sand, rock, lumber, coconuts, sugar cane stalks, or any assortment of freight and cargo like a pick-up truck on a Mid-west farm.

 

I didn't have small denominations for the toll-keeper at the far end of the Bang Gia Qua bridge so I offered him my pack of Cotabs.

The 7th bridge
I knew I could replace them at the Vinh Phuong market two miles downstream. But he pulled out his own cigarettes and offered me one, a Jett. Like the rickety structure near Vinh Ngoc, this bridge was too light and narrow for cars. Several motorbikes crossed while I was there and one young couple laughed in surprise when I reached out to collect their toll.

 

Swaying in an eastern breeze, bamboo stands creaked and groaned like the hull of a cargo ship under full sail. Huddled herders squatting in shadows wondered who I was. As patiently as they watched their cattle lapping from the river or grazing its grassy banks, they observed my every move. Living a frontier life just five miles from town, it seemed odd that they had seldom seen a foreigner.

 

Hao Mai flowers colored one farmhouse yard.

Farmhouse
Those yellow blossoms represent springtime and prosperity and will be marketed during the rapidly approaching Tet holiday. Across the way, dried brush was being burned away from two gravesites at the edge of a rice paddy. The Chinese-style above-ground crypts would be cleaned or painted for the new year holiday when Vietnamese honor their ancestors.

 

I made my way downstream along the northern bank. Thanks to GoogleEarth, I knew the narrow dirt track would lead me to the village of Vinh Phuong where the Cai River drops about a meter over a rocky cataract. I passed a few older houses and several banana plantations. Further on, a pump house lifted clear river water into an irrigation channel that led to the rice fields.

 

I finally reached the Vinh Phuong Bridge but the riverside bar there was closed. I made the crossing back to the south side and continued downstream to the familiar Cay Bang riverside bar-restaurant. Tuyet was flattered to have a picture of her that I had taken on a previous stop there. And since she was not in her Huda uniform, pushing that brand, I enjoyed a Saigon beer in a mug of ice. It went down well in that rustic setting.

sylviandavid says:
What an wonderful blog.... thanks ... sylvia
Posted on: Feb 09, 2010
Chokk says:
Looks amazing
Posted on: Feb 09, 2010
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Countryside traffic
Countryside traffic
The 7th bridge
The 7th bridge
Farmhouse
Farmhouse
Road along the river
Road along the river
Old houses
Old houses
Bamboo forest
Bamboo forest
Dredged sand
Dredged sand
Dredging sand from the Cai River
Dredging sand from the Cai River
Dredge boat at the Bang Gia Qua br…
Dredge boat at the Bang Gia Qua b…
Tolls for pedestrians, bicycles, a…
Tolls for pedestrians, bicycles, …
Grazing cows
Grazing cows
Herders
Herders
Boat on a lotus pond
Boat on a lotus pond
River road
River road
Fishing poles on the Cai
Fishing poles on the Cai
Herder
Herder
Pump house
Pump house
Approaching the Vinh Phuong Bridge
Approaching the Vinh Phuong Bridge
Ox-cart
Ox-cart
Ms. Piggy meets Tuyet
Ms. Piggy meets Tuyet
Its Miller time...
It's Miller time...
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85