"Words have no wings, but they can travel a thousand miles" (Korean Proverb)

Welcome to Flying Words, Jon and Aileen's blog of our adventures in South Korea! We will be in South Korea for a year, starting in mid-July, teaching English in a private school. We just graduated from college this past May, and are looking forward to having some adventures before continuing our education. 
We started this blog to keep all our family and friends updated and to share our photos and stories. We hope this is entertaining for you! We will miss you all, and are very thankful to have the internet to keep us in touch. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vietnamese Cottage Industries 101

The next morning I woke up at dawn to the sounds of various farm animals, which was fine since we were slated to take a sunrise boat trip on the lake to "see how the local people are living," in the oft-repeated words of Mr. H. More specifically, the myriad ways of fishing which are practiced on lakes and rivers in Vietnam. There's the traditional casting of a net, and of course the even more basic casting of a line. Or there's smacking the water with oars to scare the fish into submission. And then, the ever-mysterious giant net floating above the water on poles, rigged somehow to fall at catch fish after attracting them with its waving in the breeze.

After the boat trip, which was conducted, incidentally, in a dugout canoe that Native Americans would've been proud of, it was time for breakfast. The French, who colonized Vietnam, left a legacy of architecture and baguettes. And Laughing Cow cheese. Unfortunately, the baguettes are crusty and a little too airy. But still better than Korean bread, and a good thing to have around for a snack, or breakfast.

The morning was spent on another lovely ride through the countryside, punctuated with stops to observe brick-making, quarrying (a roadside operation involving 3 guys, some chisels and hammers, and huge chunks of rock recently blasted out of the nearby cliff), sugar refining and rice noodle making. The rice noodles are made much the same way I used to make Play-Doh spaghetti-- a dough put into a giant press, which is, of course, pressed, and the noodles are squirted out into hot water, where they are instantly cooked.

For lunch, we ate a picnic of fruit, baguettes and cheese at a park before visiting some waterfalls. I got to swim in a beautiful, primordial pool where there was no sign of humans or human influence. Then it was back on the bike. We got to the hotel around dinner time. I had a nice room, nicer than most places I'd been staying, with air conditioning and cable and a big, comfy bed. Which is really nice after a long day on the back of a motorbike. After a glorious shower and rest, I met Mr. H. in the lobby to head to dinner. We went to a place where you roll your own spring rolls, which was super fun, and delicious. They used strips of lettuce, pork, noodles, cucumber, starfruit and green banana, which we wrapped in fresh rice paper and dipped in a peanut-y sauce. Yum.

When I got back to the room, there was a baseball game on. Yankees vs. Red Sox, but I still watched it, and found out that the Mets game was on the next morning, starting 1 1/2 hours before I was supposed to meet Mr. H. for breakfast. So, I set my alarm and fell right to sleep.


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