Day 11 – Chau Doc: It’s All About Rice



After getting up at 07.00 o’clock, we checked out the hotel and set off for a 4 hours bus ride. Our destination was Chau Doc, located close to the border of Cambodia. The region is known as the rice bowl of Vietnam.

On our way we stopped after 3 hours at a brick factory in a typical rural village of Vietnam. The bricks are produced in a very simple manner, mainly by hand, and are fired in small ovens heated by rice husk (the outer layer of the rice seed), which are a waste product of the regional rice production. Next to the brick factory we had a walk through a rice field. Rice and brick production are an integral part of the housing in this small village and one can very well see the interrelation and dependency for people and community. Signs of it, especially of the brick production, are seen in all streets and sideways between the houses. The process from clay to brick takes about three months and a brick in Vietnam can be sold for 700 Dong, approximately CHF 0.035. Continue reading

Day 09 – Ahoi!

Day 9 started with the familiar bus-ride early in the morning, this time in the direction of Cai Be. Due to the high amount of travellers on the road, as the locals were eager to go to their families for the Chinese New Year’s festival, the traffic was rather slow. The majority of the travellers were on scooters, motorbikes, or a form of this two-wheeled transportation. Some rode alone, in thick sweaters and mouth covers, others consisted of the whole family, father, mother and the child in the middle, few were transporting goods, overloading their bikes with boxes on every surface possible. Unexceptionally, all riders wore helmets. Along the streets one notices the poverty reflected in the shabby shacks and run down shops. Nonetheless, they exuded charm and colors from every corner. Once in a while one would see a luxurious villa amidst it all, representing the huge difference in wealth. Either way, the red communist Vietnamese flag with the yellow star was a common denominator along the streets. For resting possibilities, the coffee shops on the sides of the roads offered a relaxing break, with hammocks integrated. “Does one have to pay for the hammock services?” asked a fellow bus-rider. “No,” Nguyen Ngoc Thang, our tour-guide, answered, “the hammocks are free.” Continue reading