Thursday, 2 March 2017

Island hoping

Today we took the bikes on the ferry over to one of the Mekong Islands, after rescuing my luggage which had got mixed into a French party heading off in the other direction.  Would have made life interesting!

There was plenty of river traffic small and large 

this fellow was having an easy day and used the outboard instead of rowing.

If I had a pound for every bridge l've ridden over the holiday would have paid for itself.... This particular one was as a bit of a challenge, being one bike width wide and having no sides.   No wobbling allowed.

And we're onto anothe ferry!

The countryside seems more cared for and lush today, and there are many flowers are out.  We came across this lady scooping water and couldn't understand why Tan got me to stop. But look at what she's using as a scoop.

Believe it or not, it's the inside of a GIs helmet left over from the American war.

And there were many, many more bridges to cross. Apparently cyclists have been known to
fall off...

Along side one section was a plantation of rambutuns. One of my favourite and one of Ken's fruit of choice for smuggling!

See the white polystyrene tubs? They are for transporting the ripened fruits to market.

I'd seen these machines before, but never tried their product, so while we waited for the bus

We had a glass of sugarcane juice. Not as bad as I'd feared and certainly just the thing when you are biking on a hot day.

Do you think there is a competition for who can fix the largest load into a motorbike?

Another bridge, a bit of a rickety affair this one, can you see it's not quite level?

Looks can be deciving, notice the satellite dish perched  on the roof!

You see lines of these beside houses, they're for capturing rain water in.  Beats my poybutt and I bet they don't leak.

The other thing you see a lot of outside houses are dogs, of the four legged woofing variety and these China ones.  Apparently Vietnamese think dogs look happy and to that end put pairs of them by the front enterance.  Obviously they've not met Harry and Betty, they're a welcome anytime of the day or night!

Most of the day was spent cycling through coconut groves.  There were huge piles of them by the road side waiting for collection. It big business the humble coconut.  In the back of this guy's truck is coir, coconut shell fibre, which he's taking it to be turned into rope.

Here the bale is split open and then

fed into this machine where by magic it's twisted into rope and

wound into a roll.

Next time you wipe your feet before coming in from the garden chances are you've a coconut mat by the back door.

I just love everyday still life.  Just the simple jumbling of everyday objects appeals to me.

Nothing is wasted, here the dried leaves are bound ready for use as fuel.

This photograph is especially for my dad.  He likes spotting kingfishers and I spotted one for him!

Loving the wooden walls of the rope factory.

Cycling is easy on the concrete roadways and shade comes from the lush vegetation.  This is a grove of water coconut.

Their strong, up right branches are perfect for weaving to make the thatched walls and roofs of the houses.

This is the fruit, not one but a cluster of nuts which fuse together.

On we cycled, this man should have been at lunch, but piece work means eating instead of earning!

His job is to crack open the outer casing using a terrifying huge spike, I just hope he knows what he's doing....

Another ferry....

Many boats have eyes to see with!

There is a mixture of housing, some quite poor and then others

Live in apparent wealth.  Plenty of bonsai to keep them busy.

Looks quite suburban doesn't it?

But the Mekon is only a hand away.

Just in case you were wondering if I was actually on this I am, crossing yet another bridge...

Lunch is in whatever roadside cafe that Tan fancies.  Today we finished off with custard apples.  Amazingly it's just like eating apple pie and custard....

So, this is what happens if you don't work hard at school: You end up in coconut processing. All this lady does is cut the top off the coconut.

These ladies have the job of washing the flesh

which this lady hooked out with a somewhat mediveal tool.

Where ever you look there's coconuts.  Coming or going I've no idea, but I saw them here!

Parts of the shell are dried in the hot sun.

And when the palm leaves are dry and old they're carefully stacked like whale bones ready to be used as cooking fuel.

Wish plastic bags were as versatile.  It's so depressing to see them littering the countryside.

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