Trang Bang – Dong Xoai (135km, 85mi). Stately and orderly rubber tree forest.
Points of interest: Agricultural diversity: rubber, cassava, breadfruit, cattle, sugar cane and more.
|It is said to be auspicious to plant forty-five days before Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Years). Here are a couple groups furrowing and sowing.|
|So many different kinds of things are carried on or behind motorcycles (animals, produce, furniture, farm equipment, building supplies, people, etc.) that there is no "normal picture" of rural transport and you could fill a book with different images. This is just one snap shot.|
|A caravan of ox carts carrying long grass.|
|These pictures could have been taken anytime in the last fifty years, and maybe more. It seems like nothing has changed in the rubber (natural latex) industry for at least fifty years. The trees are still tapped in the morning and about four hours later the latex is collected and taken to collection stations. The tapper will then walk his or her line for a third time collected the dried residual from the tap and cup. They usually make a few bucks a day so the we can have cheap tennis shoes.|
|The liquid latex is taken from the collection station by taker truck to a factory where it is put is long vats and treated with chemicals (left) so it coagulates. The soft long white columns of latex is then run through aging machines that "crape" and chip it, before it is sent through drying ovens. The dry, yellow, rubber squiggles are them compressed into uniform weight bails (upper right) for export. If you grab a handful and compress it into a ball it will bounce like an irregular shaped super-ball. This factory doesn't seem to get many foreign visitors and requested we take a group photo with them (lower right).|
|Traffic congestions rural Viet-Nam style -- water buffalo are very docile, but not quick to perceive that they are in someone's way.|
|Though it is hard to see how it is warranted, Dong Xoai is built with wide boulevard streets. The main highways through town has a bike lane as part of the configuration.|
|Like most urban construction, the most of the buildings in Dong Xoai are narrow, several floors tall, and relatively deep. Street frontage is probably relatively expensive.|
|There generally seems to be time to relax in Vietnamese cultural, whether it is lingering over a coffee or tea in a cafe (left), or a conversation in the middle of the plant shop (right).|
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