Welcome to Viet Nam


Vietnam flagPhoto essay:
Vietnam Bicycle Tour: Cultural Collage of the South


Buon Ma Thout – Lak Lake (55km, 34mi) We move from the “pepper capital” of Vietnam to the “coffee capital”

Point of interest: minority community

  If it looks like we are cycling under gray skies you are correct.  At this point we were unaware of exactly how sever the rain has been.  We only had to contend with no-dust conditions through this road construction project area, and there was enough drizzle that the camera didn't come out often.  
  The fact that there had been sever storms in the area became apparent when we got to the Lak Lake area and roads were flooded and the water lever was up to the eves of houses.  The level of a huge lake was probably at least eight feet above normal.
  For about a mile stretch the main road was up to four feet under water as well.  Travelers were being ferried through on high clearance military vehicles.  As we crossed a water snake came up and investigated the truck and slithered on.  Vietnamese civil defense authorities with rescue boats were also working in the area.  [Note: later we learned that 60 people had died across the country in a series of storms at this time.]  
  By afternoon the drizzle had mostly stopped and we shed the rain gear and got to cycle past some beautiful rainbows arching over lush farm land.  
  Our destination for the day was an ethnic minority area, where we slept in a traditional stilt house (complete with foam mattresses and mosquito nets -- though I did see any mosquitoes.)  Several ethnic groups live in this area the come from the Mon-Khmer and Tai-Kadal linguistic groups.  The largest group is the Muong from the Mon-Khmer, Viet-Muong family.
  We also lucked into a performance of local music and dance, including a rice wine drinking ritual (right.).  The totem pole has several symbolic figures on it: banana flower (fertility), musical instrument, sunflower (beautiful life), bird of peace, canoes (welcoming guest from all directions)
    One of the most fascinating aspects of the music is each musician has an instrument that place one note.  Their skill coordination and timing is so great that they played rapid melodies and never missed a note.

Return to Saigon Continue to Cai Be

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