The ice trail in Nha Trang
Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 97 of 126 › view all entries
I stopped on a bridge to watch a boat hauling blocks of ice. Water levels were high and a crewman at the bow had to crouch as they glided underneath it. The motor popped and sputtered as the boat emerged from the other side to continue upstream until disappearing around a bend in the river. I continued my own way and spent maybe an hour re-exploring Ngoc Thao island. It was only a fifteen minute ride from the house I stayed. After crossing the bridge, the only other traffic was the occasional motorbike and another bicycle or two.
I searched for new access/viewpoints of the Cai River that I might have missed before. It was Sunday and a church bell rang loud across the coconut groves. Previous trails that I had followed had since grown over with new vegetation.
The Nha Trang tourist map shows the Hai Dao Bridge leading to that nearby island and lists a tourist park there. But like last year, a security guard turned me back saying the bridge was closed. When I walked to the base of it, I spotted something better though. A hundred yards away, ice blocks were being loaded onto one of the boats like I had seen sputtering upstream. I had stumbled onto an ice factory; the mother lode.
From the main street, gates were open so I rode the bike as far as I dared, parked it near a couple of motorbikes, then slowly walked toward the loading dock. I watched the few workers for any negative response to my presence.
I made a bold climb onto the nearest corner of a concrete platform that bordered some kind of swimming pool-size freezer. Thick wooden planks covered its top. Those boards set aside revealed canisters of ice lined in rows thirty or forty deep and there were at least forty or fifty rows. Three rows were being worked to load the boat outside. Two workers heaved the meter-long canisters up onto the floor, one by one, keeping them upright. The older man was refilling empties at another exposed row. He also turned the hose on the fresh canisters to loosen the ice like any other tray. Another worker slipped the new ice onto the floor.
I was content with the day's discoveries so decided to take a roundabout way home. At the base of the Xom Bong Bridge, I made a quick u-turn after spotting a truck delivering ice blocks to another boat. A long chute of angle-iron slid the ice from the truck right down to the waiting boat. When I got back on the bridge for a better photo angle, none other than my boat from the ice factory passed below me. I recognized the crew. One was the guy loading blocks onto the chute at the loading dock and the other was the boat driver who positioned all the blocks onto his boat. I patiently watched and waited until they tied alongside a fishing boat and began off-loading the new ice. Following the ice trail onto the South China Sea would round out the day's adventure nicely but I settled for an iced coffee closer to home.