For my second day in Hoi An, my new Canadian friend, Adina, and I took a bike riding tour through the islands off of Hoi An.  We took a ferry with several local commuters and their bicycles as well as motorbikes.  The weather was a bit over cast which I welcomed since it was humid and warm out.  Our biking trip began at 7 am and ended around 1 pm and cost us about $6 plus tip.  Adina did all the research on the organized bike tour and I am grateful for her enthusiasm because I woke up doing something I never would have done on my own.  

During the course of our tour we visited and learned about:

  • A craftsman hand making a wooden boat.  This is a dying tradition.  Generally generations of families train the next but now families would prefer to send their children to school and not have them endure the manual labor.   
  • Family temple.  Large families document their ancestry and use temples as gathering points for celebrations and prayers.  Learned all about the five key elements in Earth and color significance.  I’m writing this blog entry five days later and cannot recall what I learned.  I do know Unicorns, Dragons and the phoenix are highly revered animals in Vietnam.  Yes, I said Unicorns.
  • Rice paper making.  Some of the nicest people I have met in Vietnam.  This husband and wife showed us how to cook rice paper and cut it up then they made a sesame seed rice paper treat for us to snack on that we dipped into fish sauce and chili peppers with garlic.  Tasty.
  • Straw Mat making.  The women we met could make one sleeping mat in about four hours.  After giving it a try, certainly not the most ergonomic machine, really hard work.
  • Wood carving.  Men are generally trained to be wood carving artists and team up to create designs under a master artist.
 
It was a fun adventure with Adina and our guide.  I can’t recall his name but he was a student on summer break.  He was so enthusiastic and really wanted to share facts about his country and practice his English.  Biking through the island we were away from all the tourists in Hoi An and were able to see more of the local life.  In the midst of our tour on a path with two different rice paddies on both sides Adina and I spotted a local fish seller who was happy to take a minute and let us pose with her bamboo carrier thingy.  Is it horrible I don’t know the name?  I needed a photo of me with the rice paddies.  After a relaxing ferry ride in perfect weather back to Hoi An, I went to Little Menu and then back to Yaly Couture for a fitting of my tailored clothes.  

Taking our bikes by ferry to Cam Kim

Handmade Wooden boats

 

Step 1 to making rice paper

Step 2 to making rice paper

 

Making rice noodles

Making straw mats

Weaving Machine

Weaving Machine

Wood Carver

 

Taking fish to the market