This morning…

Published: May 2, 2005
Updated: May 2, 2005

...we went for an early walk along the beach in front of our cottage. There is a village of people directly next to Little Mui Ne Cottages whose main income is from fishing and possibly the secondary source of money would come from the coconuts that grow in such profusion along the beach front here. Vietnam is a land of extreme contrasts and if you ever want to experience direct opposites, this is the place to do so.

imageThe two of us are comfortably housed in a quite luxurious bungalow complete with air conditioning, ceiling fan, television, room service and a marble lined bathroom sporting a quality porcelain flush toilet. We are surrounded by luxuriant tropical gardens that include a well maintained swimming pool for a quick dip and a bar at which to relax and shoot a game of pool. Not 20 metres from us these people are living in huts made variously from timber, tin and palm thatch with no running water and no toilets. (We know there are no toilets because we had to dodge all of the fresh fasces lining the waters edge at that time of the morning). Their huts are surrounded by sand with chickens children cows and dogs wandering through the midst of it all.

We met up with Mr. Thanh, his wife and family. I had met Thanh on the beach on Friday night not long after we arrived and had been invited into his house which is situated in the middle of this community. There I met his wife and some of his children and sat drinking coconut milk in his tiny living room that also contains the main hard timber bed in the house. Thanh?s son was dressing getting ready to go and train at Tai Kwon Do and his wife was busy rounding up her flock and getting ready for the evening meal. Thanh has a spare motorbike and we agreed that I would drive it back to the hotel there and then and keep it for getting around on until Tuesday morning. It is a brand new Honda and he is charging me US$6 per day.

This morning Thanh was fishing from the sand with a bamboo pole and his wife was looking on. Two of his children were crouched next to him on the sand busily plucking a small sea bird that they had somehow captured. The bird was still alive and was about half plucked by the time we arrived. It struggled feebly from time to time as the feathers were pulled from its body and the occasional pathetic peeping came from it as gradually it was denuded.

The children smiled proudly and held the tiny bird up so that I could take and image of it and they indicated that they would cook and eat it as soon as they had finished removing the feathers. The head was the final part to be plucked and the tiny morsel was carried off still writhing and peeping to no doubt be skewered and barbecued. Meanwhile, we went back to the restaurant for fruit juice, coffee and a buffet breakfast complete with freshly cooked eggs of your choice.

Clicking on the thumbnail will bring up the usual slide show. Be warned though, I have placed images of the tiny seabird being plucked alive there.

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