March 27th ~ Hoi An, Thu Bon River, Vietnam
It is Easter Sunday and it feels strange to be in a country where Christianity is only a minority religion during a major holiday. Sending loving messages to all our friends around the world who are celebrating today.
I want to give you a look at our hotel accommodations here in Hoi An. We are staying at the Hoi An Trails Resort and Spa. It is listed as a three star property, but I think it is lovely. Our room is generously sized with two large windows, balcony, refrigerator, safe, small TV, closet, desk, and large marble bathroom complete with tub and both rain and hand-held shower. WiFi is good and free.
The breakfast is served buffet style, with eggs prepared at an omelette station. My only wish was that it would have been right in the Old Town portion of Hoi An, but they do provide daily complimentary shuttle service to/from town.
Today we signed up to take an optional boat trip on the Thu Bon River that included a few stops before ending at the Traque Organic Village for a cooking class with demonstration and lunch.
But first the boat trip.
Only around 16 of our group of 31 joined us. The weather was overcast, cooler and starting to spit a slight shower as we boarded the wooden boat in Hoi An.
We were to learn more about the local fishing industry and several different ways nets are used to gather in the catch.
One net method used long poles from which a huge net was suspended, lowered into the water and could be raised using a pulley system. Most of the large nets were in the “up” position as it is too close to the full moon. Evidently fish mate during the full moon and are not as tasty, so many of the local fishermen take a few days off.
Another fishing method with nets, is to THROW it into the air, where it sails out making a parachute like decent into the water and is then pulled by hand back onto the boat, hopefully with a few fish inside.
And a final method we watched entailed two people rowing a boat sideways while dragging a net through the water.
Our ride lasted a little over an hour. I got a chuckle out of the “W.C.” on board our boat, and our “captain” talking on his cell phone. EVERYONE has a cell phone here, as in Cambodia, no matter how little else they may have.
Docking on a small island to visit Kim Bong Village, we wandered the streets past geese, and venders selling fruit including a new one to us called a “milk apple”. Very creamy and sweet – tasty!
This village is home to traditional woodworkers and boat building families. This family specialized in making abalone inlaid pieces and furniture.
We also were welcomed inside one of the homes to see a typical living space including the eating, sleeping and food preparation area.
The boat builders use mahogany imported (perhaps not entirely legally) from Laos. A completed wooden boat, made by hand may cost around $3000 USD. The cost of that much mahogany alone in the USA would be extremely expensive, plus the cost of the labor on top of it.
Back on the boat to return to Hoi An for our visit to Traque Organic Village for lunch. How I enjoyed seeing garden after garden of fresh, green, thriving plants that are all being grown without pesticides!
One of the crops that I had never seen up close was peanuts, which our guide pulled a small plug so we could see the “fruit”. I always thought of peanuts as legumes, but they are also classified as a fruit. I did not know that 🙂
Our cooking lesson was how to make a Vietnamese pancake, called Banh-xeo. But first anyone who was choosing to eat vegetarian had a yellow flower placed behind their ear.
After a great meal, on our way back to the bus, we passed by this seemingly innocent scene:
But upon closer inspection, it broke all of our hearts.
How I wanted to free that little guy! It is becoming easier and easier every day to give up eating meat.
And one final (happier) picture I wanted to share was of a thriving rice field complete with flags and a water buffalo in the background.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for learning more about the local fishing methods and watching them so gracefully cast their nets onto the water. I am also thankful to see this entire community embrace eating organic greens. It seems to be a step in the right direction.