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Beautiful Patterns, Common Threads


Vietnam, part 2

If you've been following my journey, you remember my travels along the Maekhong River both in Lao and Cambodia. It's in southern Vietnam that the Maekhong reaches the end of its long journey that started in the highlands of Tibet. Here, the river splits into hundreds of branches that weave through the vast reaches of its delta, creating some of the most incredibly fertile land in the world. Life around the marshlands and the water of the delta is fascinating to observe, here in the "rice basket" of Vietnam.

A Woman Riding a Bicyle in Her Ao Dai: Vietnam's Traditional Mode of Dress and Most Common Form of Transport

Signs Are Posted Everywhere Indicating Issues of Social Concern, Including AIDS

At Chau Doc Ferry Landing: Shoppers and Students Come Into the City By Water Each Day

Chau Doc's Market Is Chock-Full of Every Kind of Produce You Could Imagine, Reflecting the Fertility of the Delta

Ducks Are Easily Raised in the Delta Area, So You Can Imagine They're a Favorite Food (FRESH!)

A House in a Cham Muslim Village With an Arabic Welcoming Sign: Chams Are An Important Minority Throughout the South and Into Cambodia (In Fact, This Used to BE Cambodia!)

Silk Weaving Is a Traditional Craft in Cham Communities, As It Is Throughout the Region

The Delta's Most Important Crop, Rice, Being Sold on the Street Near the Market

If You Don't Want to Go to the Market, the Market Will Come to You!

On Liberation Day, a National Holiday, Many People Visit Temples Like This One Near Mount Nui Sam to Make Offerings in Honor of Their Ancestors

The View from the Top of Nui Sam Shows the Green, Green, GREEN of the Delta

A Super Green Sunset in the Delta

A Stork Refuge in the Middle of the Jungle

The Floating Market at Can Tho

Villagers Come Each Morning from Miles Around to This Central Market, Set Up Where Seven Canals Meet

Life Around the Delta Feels Traditional, But TV Is Becoming Part of the "Traditional" Everywhere Even As It Brings In New Images and Ideas from the Outside World

Making Rice Noodles from Scratch is a Time-Consuming and Labor-Intensive Process -- But the Results Are Sure Worth It!

After the Cooking and Rolling Process is Done, the Noodles Dry in the Sun -- A Common Scene Around This Village!

A Traditional Organic Farming Technique: Farmers Grow Garlic Orchids Around Their Home Gardens Because They Keep Away Snakes

The Amazing Coconut Palm: Not Only Can You Eat Them, But the Husks Make Great Fuel or Door Mats, the Trunks Make Great House Posts...

...And the Leaves Can Be Woven Into Walls and Roofs!

The Birth Rate in the Vietnamese Countryside is Very High -- Which Means Lots of Smiling Kids!

Seven Reasons for the High Birth Rate in the Vietnamese Countryside
(according to Hai, my guide)

1 - Need for workers in the fields

2 - Snake wine

3 - Nothing to do in the evening, because most people still don't have TV's

4 - Desire for boys, so that families continue having more children if they have only girls

5 - Hibiscus flowers (a natural aphrodisiac)

6 - Government announcements over village loudspeakers starting at five AM (there's nothing to do yet that early, so...)

7 - Marriage at a very early age (commonly, sixteen for boys OR girls, but sometimes earlier)

Hai neglected to mention the lack of knowledge about and ready access to modern contraceptives, which I think is a pretty important addition!

A Traditional House Along One of the Delta's Many Canals

A More Modern Style House, Also Commonly Seen Along the Canals

An Offering Stand: These Are Attached to EVERY House, Traditional OR Modern

Vietnam, Part 4

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