Yen Duc – Stepping Back in Time in Vietnam

Yen Duc is a tiny village seeping with culture and history halfway in between the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, and the waters of Halong Bay to the east.   Here, you are able to detach from the bustle of the big city and engage in a chilled out atmosphere.     I was very impressed with our guide Tea and the rest of the staff that worked hard to provide an incredibly unique experience.

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btyNothing beats riding around the countryside on a bicycle.

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I was quite impressed with our room.  On the entire large property there was only one other family during our stay so it was incredibly tailored and tuned for getting deep into the local area.  Most Vietnamese do not have the luxury to sleep in places this nice but all the folks we met were the kindest people.   We were grateful for our stay.

I learned a new instrument and jammed with the local musicians.  The music scales are considerably different in traditional Vietnamese music, but the fretboard is similar to a guitar in a way so it was rather easy to pick up.   Get pickin’!

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Water puppet theater is an ancient art-form, said to be more than a thousand years old.   They manipulate puppets that dance on the water from behind a screen.  These puppet shows tell the stories of struggle and realities of family life in rural Vietnam.   They pass the stories down from generation to generation.   Obviously, this is more now a “tourist attraction” but it is important to remember the history and how people lived and engaged in the expressive arts.

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Rice is the staple food of the Vietnamese and for most other peoples in Asia.   There is a long process that takes time and manpower to make rice.  I tried my hand at it!

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Food!  I already miss Vietnamese food!   You cannot get this stuff in China or the USA.

Cooking class!   Aimee don’t burn your fingers!

This young lady has a very long family history.  She was kind enough to let us into her home and discuss Vietnamese family history.

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This is an original of a very famous photo.  Her relatives with Hoe Chi Minh.

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Time to go fishing, Vietnamese style.

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Off to the market.   Aimee has found a new job.   Carrying things.

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The more money you have, the nicer your plot is.   Respecting the dead and cleaning the tombs is a critical part of rural Vietnamese culture.  Unlike American / Western culture, where we bury our passed on, have a funeral and get on with life, many Vietnamese respect and remember every year.   Some families even excavate the dead, clean them, move them to a new burial site.

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This part of the trip was a considerable departure from the lonely beaches and awesome waters of Halong Bay.   I look forward to getting back to Vietnam at some point and continuing the exploration.

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