Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vietnam, June 2010.....exploring by sampans.

In the Mekong Delta with numerous inter-linked rivers, streams and canals...the traditional Vietnamese sampans is an important mode of water transport. Having come this far, our programme included being ferried on sampans to our next destination. We proceeded to the end of the hamlet jetty and found the sampans waiting for us.

Each sampan is manned by two at the bow and the other

at the stern. The oar or paddle is similar to those we have seen in S'pore.
Many of the paddlers were ladies.

Mrs Lim H H seated in her sampan waiting to move off.

The sampan moving from the main river into a smaller stream.

The current was quite strong and was going against our direction of

The others slowly and gently getting into their sampans at the jetty.

My sampan following the lead craft.

The current was so strong that I took the extra paddle to help

We were traversing in a typical setting where many river ambushes
were carried out by both sides during the Vietnam War.

"Dayung Sampan, dayung dayung sampan".,..could be heard as
we slithered through the waters.
At journey's end, I was to experience a most excruciating and incredible pain. The
sampan I was in berthed by the side of the jetty. And as some of those in my boat
stood to get ready to get off, the sampan suddenly tilted to one side. Instinctively,
as I was still seated, in a purely reflex action, I counter-tilted to the other side placing
my left hand on the sampan's side for balance.
At that very moment, the next sampan came at speed ( very, very carlessly ) and
"banged" right onto my left hand fingers.
My fingers were completely sandwiched between 2 sampan brows. Electric shocks
went through my body! It was that painful. I thought my fingers were crushed.
Everyone around near me was quite shocked too.
I quickly dipped my injured hand into the river water to "cool" it.
The injury was quite 4th finger was beginning to turn blue-black in only
minutes. It swelled to twice its normal size.
Someone managed to get some ice from our next hamlet where we had a tea break.
Nothing further could be done as I wrapped my finger in cold ice.
[ About 5 weeks after this, and after I went to doctor, my entire finger nail came off .
I keep the shell of that finger nail as a "souvenir" of this trip ].

During the tea break, we had the villagers singing and performing
traditional songs to entertain us.

Special blend of their honey tea.


PChew said...

Travelling on sampan in Vietnam reminded me of an incident there. I and my Viet friend went on a sampan through a narrow stream to a fruit orchard. The person i/c promised us good durians. Later he came back with only one. We proceeded to a table to eat the fruit. He objected and pointed to the mud floor where we should eat the durian. The reason, we must patronise his cooked food to use the table. We had an arguement and finally he relented.

unk Dicko said...

So how was the durian in taste?
The guides we had were frank and honest when I asked them about their local durians...said not as good as what we are so used to in Sg and M'sia.

PChew said...

It was not ripe. I paid for the durian and left the place.

unk Dicko said...

As expected. Following the honest comments from the guides, I avoided the very few durians at the market. The lychees and longans were heavenly though!