When we were in Vietnam in 2008 and saw children fording the rivers on the back of water buffalo, I ached to join them- it looked like such fun! And this time I got the chance to do it, and it WAS fun!
The first tour we took was Wet Rice Farming, and as a picture speaks a thousand words, and I have a thousand photos, I'll pretty much let them do the talking!
Once we got to the farm we had tea, and then took off our shoes and changed into "farming clothes", and began to learn about traditional rice farming by actually DOING it! We first learned how to ride a water buffalo, which was incredibly fun! I found it SO much fun, in fact, that they let me keep riding him, around and around the pond! Then we learned how to till the mud with the buffalo (getting a "mud spa foot treatment" in the process!), taking turns leading the buffalo and plowing. Then we raked the mud smooth, and prepared it for sowing by "water buffalo surfing" on a wooden plank, holding on to the buffalo's tail! . Then we sowed rice, and moved water by swinging baskets in unison- which is a Lot harder than it looks! And finally we learned how to harvest and process rice the traditional way, using a foot-pedal thrasher, a stone grinder, and baskets for tossing and winnowing!
|Getting ready to farm!|
We snacked on traditional banana-leaf wrapped sticky rice rolls dipped in salt, and made Vietnamese crepes with bean sprouts, and then went inside for a wonderful lunch. Our only disappointment was that we were looking forward to riding the bicycles back to town- and working off that lunch!- but the trip back was by car!
|Dan rides a water buffalo!|
|Dan buffalo surfs!|
This was an excellent and truly unique day, and definitely worth doing, especially if you really want to learn something about traditional Vietnamese agriculture AND have a great, fun time doing it! Our guide and the farmers who worked with us were super nice, incredibly patient, and obviously enjoyed the fact that we were having such a good time trying to do everything correctly! Jack and his guides are doing something really excellent, both for tourists and his community, by sharing their knowledge of and love for the traditional and extraordinary things the area offers. We highly recommend Jack’s tours and wish him much success!
|Elisse having WAY too much fun!|
|Dan and Elisse plow the rice field...|
|...Dan leads the buffalo while Elisse plows...|
|Then Dan plows...|
|...while Elisse leads the buffalo!|
|Elisse, buffalo surfing!|
|How it is SUPPOSED to be done!|
|How WE did it!|
|Elisse, harvesting rice...|
|Rice Farmer Dan!|
|Thrashing the rice...|
|Pounding the rice...|
|Winnowing the rice...|
|A snack of "sticky rice rolls" & salt...|
|Grinding the rice...|
|Dan is VERY good at this!|
|How it's done...|
|Making Vietnamese crepes with bean sprouts...|
|Chef Dan & his crepe!|
|Sites along the way to the farm...|
|On the way to the farm...|