March 4th, 2010 browsing by day


Febr 3 and 4 Tuy Hoa

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

I took the local train to Thuy Hoa, about 70 miles North of Nhatrang to try and see how the basket boats are made. It turned out that they are not made in Nhatrang but brought in from the next province north of here. These unusual boast just fascinate me, ever since I ran into them far off shore in 2006, and I want to try and put a story together for Dutch and American boating magazines. I found what I wanted but it took some searching and help from Vietnamese-English interpreters. I checked on having an “Easy Rider” take me on a light motor bike to Tuy Hoa. $ 60 and they did not like to go there, its not a tourist destination. But after my two day visit I predict that it wont be long off the tourist itineraries. The train ride was 36 thousand Dong, one way, just under $ 2.00. The bike went in the baggage car for 55 cents. Contrary to the long distance trains this local service was something like the Fourth Class in Europe in the thirties. Wooden benches. Squat toilets directly onto the tracks. The windows were chicken wired, which made it hard to take any photos of the gorgeous scenery. There was already some rice harvesting taking place. At several of the stations I saw these enormous piles of gunny sacks with a content that I could not identify. A very nice young lady on the train tried to explain it to me. Her name was Trienh something and it translated to Blue Skye. She goes to high school in Tuy Hoa. I managed to understand that it was a root and that it was used to make bread. Today at the station I picked up a sample. And now I concluded that is Cassava from which Tapioca is made. Tapioca is one of the main starch addatives to make noodles. I came upon a noodle factory today and they use lots of tapioca. Now I need to see how Cassava grows. Cassava originated in Brazil. In Tuy Hoa I headed for the fishing harbor. But after a wild ride on the passenger seat of a motor bike and spreading my wealth I was told that Tuy Hoa is not the place but to try Tuy An, 33 kms to the north. No Easy Riders and too far on the bicycle. The local bus. Another new experience another 55 cents. Then another short ride along the river on theback of a motor bike and at last: pay dirt. I was able to make pictures of the mini (about 150 cms in diameter) being made and another of the ocean going 250 cms diameter size being finished.  I think I have my story. I could not quite figure out what concoction they used to make them water tight. Part of it is cow dung. But then today I had the fortune to run into another young student who happens to be from Tuy An and she wrote down the three ingredients in Vietnamese. By the time I got back to Tuy Hoa the train back to Nah Trang at 2.25 p.m. was gone. So, I had to stay overnight. Fortunately the hotel provided shampoo, toothbrush/paste, comb but I had not brought a change of clothes. I never saw another white man on Wednesday. I had a great steamed clam dinner on the beach and this afternoon I had 3 decent size crabs and a beer for $ 5.00. The hotel was brand new and the best accommodation I have had sofar and it was $ 7.00 I had breakfast, a rice noodle soup with meat, for 25 cents. Since there was nothing else with the crabs I decided to stop and have some starch and vegetables I ended up in the “Varella” a coffee shop that had a few lunch/dinner dishes. This place was a small oasis with orchids and a waterfall ina beautiful court yard setting, and the service, food and presentation would make this place the envy of the State Street eateries in Santa Barbara, California and this just in the middle of nowhere Vietnam… While riding through the back alleys near the river I came upon a cock fight going to happen. I got a bunch of great shots of it but I did not want to stay to the bitter end after I saw what happens to these birds in Hanoi. Tuy Hoa also has one Cham Tower, similar to the Cham Towers here in Nhatrang. I hiked up to it. Great panorama of the town and surroundings. The hill it sits on is a beautiful park with the trees and palms identified with their botanical names. The below butterfly pictures are taken on the hike down. I encountered the first other white man today at the local market. Pavel Mnantsakanov, a Russian who speaks good English. He lives and works in Tuy Hoa he met his Vietnamese wife in Russia. Later on the train back to Nha Trangh I met another white man, Lionel, a Parisian who lives and works in Nha Trangh and is also married to a Vietnamese. He lives very close to my hotel and he has invited to his home.  

I am glad that I missed the train yesterday and got to see more that way of Tuy Hoa.