Our first stop was a boat building operation. These wooden boats are well made and very sturdy. Built completely with wood and fastened with wooden dowels, each one is a work of art. We were impressed with their lines, their workmanship, and they all appeared to be very seaworthy. Note the varying sizes from small to large sea going fishing boats.
|All the fasteners are wooden pegs like this|
|This is a dragon lion called a unicorn by the Vietnamese|
After a short ride we stopped at a house where an old woman and her daughter were weaving grass mats. We learned that these are used by Vietnamese people instead of mattresses. We were told that they sell for 100,000 dong ( $4.50) Our guide told us she could NOT sleep on anything but a grass mat – a mattress was too soft. Now we know why all the hotels, homestays, and rentals over here have really, really firm mattresses! We got to try our hands at weaving and drink some tea, and even feed their cows in a pen outside the house. A very generous and friendly family.
This was followed by a stop at a house where another family was making rice paper for noodles. We had already seen this process in Mekong but that had been a more mechanized process, this was all done by hand, a true cottage industry. We got to spread the rice batter over a tightly stretched silk membrane where it is steamed for about a minute. Two or three more layers are added until it is thick enough to make noodles. Remove it from the steam, lay it out, let it cool, then slice it into noodles with a knife (or use a noodle cutting machine). It is an interesting, time consuming, and hot process. They also offered us a cup of iced tea and some yummy noodle snacks. We met the whole family, husband, wife, tiny son and even the 90 year old grandma how wonderful.
|Can you tell which one is Julie?|
The last stop was a wood shop where all manner of intricate carved wooden souvenirs were made. The artist won third place in a national competition
|Marg, Tony & Steve sitting on the foredeck of the ferry|