Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Swimming in the South China Seas Before 7

I took a short weekend trip down to Phan Thiet.  I went there for a housewarming party the developer was throwing for a friend.  It was a pretty big party since it was in part for potential buyers of the complex.  They had a whole gourmet dinner, which included delicious grilled tiger prawns.  There was a band and karaoke and of course dancing.  What really made the trip something special, besides the free beer, was the next morning getting up at six to go for a swim in the ocean.  The housing complex is kind of out of the way and the only thing near it is a small fishing village.  So there we were swimming in the south China sea before seven along side the bowl shaped fishing boats/baskets.  They resemble large woven baskets.  The men go out in these boats at midnight and bring in the nets repeatedly until about seven in the morning.  While they toil in the sea, the women sit on the beach with their children and animals waiting to negotiate prices on their paltry catches.  The fish I saw them bring in were long and slender and looked to be nothing much at all, but I suppose they'll go towards making fish sauce, for which Phan Thiet is known.  We stopped and watched the negotiations, as they passed fish to and fro and I could only imagine how many of these narrow fish were needed to bring in one's salary.  It was us, the fishermen, the negotiating women, their children, their dogs, their motorbikes, and their cows.  It was the first time I have ever seen cows walking along beach in the early morning.  I walked picking seashells, digging up starfish, and wondering at the events in my life that had brought me there at that moment.

Tony petting his new friend
empty beach, late afternoon

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