Friday, 27 September 2013

Heigh Ho. (Tra Que Village near Hoi An)

You know how after a hard day's work you fancy a swim and a massage, well today I got both.  This was the day I had been dreading all holiday and it turned out to be the best so far.  After breakfast we turned up to be given our bicycles.  We had a quick practice then we were off.

  I gave a cheery 'good morning' to anyone who caught my eye.  I shouted 'Ding ding' to those in my way as I had no bell.  I was soon enjoying the thrill of cycling Vietnamese style.  Traffic lights are great.  You see the green ones counting down, so pedal like crazy to get across, ignoring traffic coming over the red lights!!  I just followed my dear Mum's tactics.  Blind in one eye, she would hurtle across the road on the premise 'They can see me better than I can see them, so I just keep going!'  It worked for me.  Now traffic lights on red, we lined up like the start of the Grand National.  Count down.  Press down and push hard.  We were away.  No casualties at this one.  A few Wobblies but everyone over safely.

The breeze and feeling of freedom was exhilarating.  I didn't want to stop for a photoshoot until I saw the water buffalo.  At last.  All was going well until someone overtook me and wobbled, putting me off course into a small pile of sand.  Off I toppled.  Nothing hurt except my pride.

We turned into our work place.  We were given a welcome drink that looked like frog spawn but tasted yummy.  Made from ginger, basil, lemon grass, turmeric, rice flour and water.  Very refreshing.  

Then our task master took over. We donned our conical hats and work tops.  I was given a rake and Loretta the hoe.  With a 'Heigh Ho, it's off to work we go' , we headed to the fields.

  Hubby was set to work ploughing a trench.  Frank took up the challenge.  UK versus Australia.  It was neck and neck for a short while but then my little Hubby took second place.  He'll always be my gold though.

When neatened, we added the algae seaweed for fertiliser and to hold the moisture in the sandy soil.  We took it in turns to carry the balance pole.  I felt and probably looked like a rider in a dressage event.  Seedlings were planted and the area watered.  We had all just paid to do the farmer's work.  A little like those people who buy food to feed the animals when they visit a farm.  Still, it's fun.

The weary workers plodded back to soak their feet in tubs of lemongrass.  I took the added bonus of a foot massage.  I have grown quite fond of this punching, squeezing and beating you up technique.  The masseuse must have liked me.  She added back, neck and head for free.  I did fear the top of my skull was about to be lifted off and added to a stockpot at one point!!

Now we had to make our lunch.  Somehow, and not by choice, I found myself in the first set of sous-chefs.  Fire extinguisher close at hand, we set about making rice pancakes.  If you want the recipe, I will email it.  Two dollars please. It wasn't the extinguisher I needed, just a defibrillator as the flames almost singed my eyebrows.  Flipping heck!  (Pancakes.  Flipping.  Did you get it??). Pancake made, I sat and ate it.  Still hungry.  Others joined me and felt the same.  No worries.  After everyone had cooked, a veritable feast wended its way from the kitchen.  With fresh herbs and vegetables, simple food was transformed into a sumptuous banquet.  But spare a thought for poor Pete.  Asleep in the corner, he really was not a well man.  

Time for home and back on the bikes.  Like the Grand National, we had a few fallers on the way home.  I managed to keep out of harm's way this time.  Poor Rose made a mess of her leg but brushed her injury aside bravely.  Gemma had a couple of tumbles.  Her last one hobbled her and she had to be taken back in style on the motorbike.  Pleased to report no major injuries to any of the Happy Family.  Not quite sure about the other road users and roads in Hoi An though. 

My competitive spirit took over on the home straight.  I made a burst for the final finish but was beaten into silver place by the very fit looking Win (what is his name?)  We high-fived to show no hard feelings.  Well, he low-fived as be must be 6'4''.  A fine race.  

Win must have thought it had taken too much out of me because he offered to collect our laundry.  What an excellent job had been made of that.  Not only was it sweet smelling, it looked ironed a d she had removed the varnish from an M & S t-shirt, damaged whilst drying on a newly  varnished chair in Laos.  Shame we're not stopping longer.  

A dip in the pool then off to sample the free eats in the hotel's garden.  A guitarist played well-known tunes in an unknown way.  We played 'I'll Name that Tune' in between munching our way through numerous goodies.  We had to stop ourselves from over-indulging as Happy Family had a night out planned.

Wearing my best bib and tucker with flip flops, we joined the rest in reception.  Many wore new shoes or clothes purchased here.  Someone remarked that Tanya's lovely footwear looked like 'Follow me Home' shoes. This was a new expression for Hubby and me.  We enquired as to its meaning and rather wished we hadn't.  So the next time you want to attract a man, you should buy yourself a pair.

The Old Quarter was all in darkness.  What a disaster.  Our restaurant was candle-lit but the lack of air-con did not heighten the romantic atmosphere.  The chef came out to talk about the problem and the menu.  Try as I might, I could not decipher his words.  Then Gemma noticed two of our happy family were missing.  In the dark we had not noticed.  Whizzing Wind shot off in pursuit of Rosé and Loretta.  Fortunately they had the good sense to stand under a street lamp on the lit side of town.  Like ladies of the night they waited until Wind rescued them, like a knight in shining armour.

The lights came on.  I could have my watermelon juice (No electric, no juicer!!)
Peace and harmony restored.  

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Trish... I love the humour and style of writing. Can't wait to read about the rest of your travels. Just 2 corrections with regards to the names. Win=Selvan and Wind=Nguyen (sounds like Wind the way the Vietnamese pronounce it). Safe travels and take care x