When Rice Paper is Not Rice Paper in Viet Nam

We arrived in Nha Trang via a ship’s tender to the local dock and were loaded into the bus for a trip to the countryside outside of Nha Trang.  As we entered the city’s streets we were surprised to see very few automobiles:  just cabs, buses, and large trucks. What did fill the street was a myriad of motorcycles and scooters, zipping in and out and around everyone and everything.  It was funny to see gas stations with no cars, just the scooters.

Our first stop was at the local market where everything is fresh: fresh vegetables, fresh meats, and fresh fish.  What is missing is the ice and refrigeration we would expect at our local market. It is a different way of life for them.  The women shop everyday for the needs of their families.  The market has a well-rounded inventory, including lots of plastic containers, packaged dry foods, flip-flops, and even ceramic dishes.  And the local knife sharpener rides his scooter to the market and sets up shop, literally no overhead, as he goes to his customers.





And on the edge of the market there is a wash stall so the men can wash their motorcycles while the women shop.


We paid a visit to a neighborhood school and met quite a few children, all happy to see us.









Just outside the school we found mat weavers, making all-purpose mats for use in all sorts of ways. It was fun to watch a husband and wife team working the straw into the colorful table runners and floor coverings.





We visited the Nha Trang Hand Embroidery Company.  What a marvelous place, where local women work together to create beautiful embroidery with stitching so fine that each work of art looked like it had been hand painted.






We went to see the rice fields and heard the details of how rice is planted and harvested.  We also saw a woman making rice paper. Carolyn and Mary Jane (in all their wisdom) thought she was making rice paper, paper made out of rice.  Carolyn asked our guide how they got the water out of the paper, after it was steamed, so you could write on it.  Our guide chuckled and said rice paper is not rice paper, but actually a wrap for food like tortillas. So much for Carolyn having a Ph.D. and no street smarts.  But we had a good laugh over it.

Rice Field

Making Rice Paper

Woman making rice paper in Viet Nam


Vietnamese women we met on our short visit.







One Response to “When Rice Paper is Not Rice Paper in Viet Nam”

  1. Such beautiful faces!

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