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Sunday, 01 September 2013

Rowing Through Rice Fields - Page 3

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The locals chat to one another as they pass by. Some row their boats with their feet while others transport trays of rice stalks to their crops that merge into the shallow, brown water. One man sang as he rowed down stream, grinning from ear to ear. It's a calming, peaceful atmosphere interrupted only by the sound of the paddle dipping gently into the water.


“This is breathtaking,” said Lex as she soaked in the captivating landscape. 


We approached the first cave, Hang Ca, which is the longest at 127 meters. The roof is only inches above my head, the air cool and damp as water drips from the stalactites that hang above. The second cave is named Hang Hai and the third Hang Ba, marking the final stop on the journey. Here, a number of vendors sell fruit and beverages from their boats before tourists turn around and head back to Van Lam.


As we make our way back to the village, the old woman puts down her paddle and picks up a plastic bag. She pulls out a large white T-shirt with a design on the front and holds it up, grinning as though she made it herself. I shook my head no, so she reached back into the bag and pulled out what appeared to be a tablecloth in the style of a doily my mother had on her coffee tables in the 1980s. Again I said no.


The woman continued to pull things out of her bag that was of little interest to Lex and I. Finally, she held up a beautiful hand-stitched piece of art of a woman wearing a conical hat pushing a bike with a basket of flowers — a common sight in Vietnam.


I nodded my head excitedly with approval. The woman's wrinkled face lit up with joy. She didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the journey. Neither did I.


 IMG 1693

(c)Pamela Roth

Pamela Roth has been a journalist for nine years, currently work as a crime reporter/travel writer for the Edmonton Sun — a major daily newspaper in Alberta, Canada, and one of two national newspaper chains. Aside from being published daily in major Canadian newspapers, she's also been published in Outpost Magazine, Dreamscapes Magazine, and blog for Travelgirl Magazine. Her website is


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Last modified on Sunday, 01 September 2013

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