The vietnamese village – at Bo’s


This visit to the Vietnamese countryside is a good example that one has to determine very little when planning travel in Vietnam as an individual. At Bô’s I had promised my favorite student hang to visit them in the summer holidays on her village, because otherwise we could not see each other before I flew back to Germany. My challenge was then to find the way to a completely unknown village somewhere in the province of Nam Dinh. Hang could not say which bus company breaks forth there, because they will always be picked up by their parents from Hanoi and therefore never took the bus. How easy this would have been in Germany! Besides the fact that there are detailed timetables, bus cards and talkative staff at stations, in Germany you don’t even have to leave the house to plan a trip, you can easily book a ticket ONLINE! Lacking such a luxury in Vietnam, I did nothing in the first few weeks of the summer holidays and told everybody that I was still to visit Hang, in the hope that there would be someone who would help me. Eventually there was Bo, a boy from the band at the school for the blind and knew not only to help but to take the rains of my whole trip: “Big Sister Laura You want to visit Hang? That’s great! Hang lives right around the corner of my home! You just get me to my village and then my father brings you from there to hang, okay? “. Well I had previously had little contact with Bo, but what could I do other than agree? So we started three days later to the way to the bus station. The advantage of traveling with Bo compared to traveling with Tinh was that Bo had a good deal of vision, and I did not need to take him at the hand, literally. The downside was that Bo unfortunately one of the kind of “Hey Look, I’m with a foreigner!”. He obviously enjoyed that I was dependent on following him. He talked to me and showed me how great it would be if we both could eventually go together to Thanh Hoa again. It was clear that, because of its lack of vision, he also was dependent on me. Thanh Hoa is the home province of Mai, who had died in April in the school for the blind and had been Bo’s secret girlfriend for two years. Of course I knew that Bo now needed any assistance which he could get, and even if I did not like how he treated me, I told him that we would try to drive’s to Thanh Hoa, Mai’s native village, together. Unfortunately, we never managed to do this, because we could not set up the time. We arrived at Bo’s home village at lunchtime. I was expecting that I would be introduced to only some people before I would travel on to Hang. Also I wanted to link this trip ti visit two girls from the second home that also were with their families in Nam Dinh. But whether that would work, would only turn out on site, as I had aleady learned about Vietnam. I introduced myself politely in Bo’s house. His family was rather well off, they had the whole garden full of Topiary. The extra money seemed to come from the pig breeding, because apart from the pigs in the backyard, the family was no different from other rice farmers; when we arrived, the father just spread the freshly harvested rice to dry on the ground, so that it could later be separated more easily from the sleeve. I was very grateful that Bo had made it possible to me to get there and that I could have lunch with his family, but slowly I began to feel as if he had just used me as an opportunity to come once again in his home village and then also to bring a Westerner, because he made himself comfortable at home and seemed to have not told anyone yet that I actually was here to visit Hang. The thought overcame me that he used me to pay for everything. I willingly paid the full price on the bus for Bo, but it seemed unusual to me that he didn’t even try to stop me, as the Vietnamese people usually do. So I went to Bo and asked him urgingly, when and how I could get to Hang. He had a brief phonecall with her, talked with his parents, then he came back and said: “We go to Hang tomorrow, okay”. Baam. No justification, no alternative proposals, no discussion. Plans are in Vietnam always made FOR you, not WITH you. I really had not planned to be a long time with Bo, in three days I had to be back in Hanoi. Again I felt immature and powerless, as so often this time in Vietnam, but I dared to plead, after all Bo was for me not a respect person, but one of my “little siblings”: “But I can also travel by motorcycle-taxi, when it is not possible for your parents to take me there.” “No, no, tù tù, you stay here and then tomorrow we go there together.” Tù Tù, take it easy, the Vietnamese love to say that. I was angry, not just because Bo with invited himself to Hang, alsohe had stopped callling me Chi Laura (BIG sister Laura) during the bus ride and called me only by my name, which I considered quite disrespectful (until I found out the next day that this apparently is a habit in Nam Dinh). So I was forced to spent the evening at Bo’s, he showed me around proudly and seemed to enjoy the extra attention that he got by me. We sat up till the night with his aunt and drank green tea. I marveled at the starry sky, while ​​Bo explained to his cousins our plans for the next day. His aunt produced till late in the evening Keo Vung, a sesame candy for selling. The whole court was full of ingredients and doughs, next door the pigs were grunting . The next morning, I was very eager to quickly get to Hang, but when I spoke to Bo, he replied. “We’re going now to my grandmother, who wants to get to know you. She lives on the way to Hang.” I sighed and prepared for spending another half a day with Bo’s family. I was set on a motorcycle towards Grandma with Bo on the back. Although Bo could not see enough to drive himself, it was enough to tell me when I should turn. The grandmother lived two villages away in a wealthy two-story house with an oversized image of Ho Chi Minh and his famous quote on the wall “There is nothing that I have so dear as the independence and freedom”. In the same house lived an aunt who spontaneously took me with her to the market, where I had a dramatic experience with a dying fish. Back at the house Bo told the assembled relatives everything he knew about me, and all started working out a plan, how and when exactly we would get to Hang. Only I was not asked. It was as if I was not there. I drew the attention to me and gently brought into the discussion that I also had in mind to visit two girls from the second home near the provincial capital. Then I let them work out their plans. It was clear that my presence would be superfluous, so I snuck out of the house into the yard. The reason why the grandmother and the aunt could live here so prosperous, was the rice noodle production, which was in full swing in the back yard. All cousins ​​and younger uncles of the family were involved. It was always interested in how the BUN-noodles are made and I watched the process for a while. The family seemed to have invested a fortune in the machinery. Lauras Blog: Vietnam und Ich