Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The wonders of the rain in Vietnam

The sky has been cloudy for the last week or so. Now we are on a train going from Danang to Natrung in Central Vietnam; the rain places drops of water on the window adding a sober and cold look to the country that we’ve come to know as the greenest and wettest so far.

Our train started its journey 2 and a half hours ago, the small difference in price between soft sleeper and a soft seat has given us the opportunity to afford the lu
xury of laying down and reading almost every time. The room consists of 4 sleeping berths with old thin mattresses covered by a white blanket and a stinky pillow. The walls are made of plastic and washed out green colored.

The train appears to be old, perhaps amongst the first trains that were built right after the war was over and with an attempt from the government to draw tourism towards the country.

Through the window I’ve tried to find traces of the war, nothing seems to appear, it is like the whole landscape has forgotten the violence it witnessed as if it was washed down by the rain. Most people seem hopeful and happy; they have a beautiful country that has given them some of the most fertile land any other nation could dream of.

Walking through the local markets you can see the broadest variety of spices, fruits, meats, sweets, and vegetables, the good and bad smells mix in the air and “hellos” follow us as we tour the shops. Every where you see there are big amounts of each item, dragon fruit, passion fruit, tangerines, oranges, bananas, every kind of spice and of course different varieties for every type of fruit and vegetable.

In Hoi Ann no one's business was closed by the inundation of the town, on the contrary, this meant an opportunity for the boat stores to get closer to tourists and offer either their products or services, locals lift their goods on their shoulders and set to walk through the 2 feet deep water.

For a while we were afraid we wouldn’t find it so easy to get along with locals, unfortunately some other tourists have given Vietnam a bad reputation for offering poor services and unfriendly attitudes; nevertheless we have found everything but bad disposition from them, people are always willing to help in any way they can and offer a smile to break the language barrier that sometimes separates us.

So far, our trip
through this beautiful country has been cheaper than China in every way, mostly because we were fortunate to visit during low season, which is renown for strong monsoons. I won’t deny that I am happy to take advantage of the great picture opportunities that the water has created, roads filled side to side with locals on their bikes wearing colorful plastic ponchos, traditional hats that work as umbrellas, and even danger seekers juggling with an umbrella in one hand and their hand on the bike handle.

Cars are scarce in this part of the world, it is the first time we see bicycles being the main method of short distance transportation carrying more than 1 person at a time, as well as motorbikes sometimes holding as many as 6 persons on them.

1 comment:

MARAdona said...

I already kind of miss traveling...I think your writing made me miss it. I loved some of your descriptions and Hoi Ann was awesome!