A different kind of travelogue. As an avid young traveller I often wondered what would it would be like when I got older, gathered commitments, created children and accrued debt. This is what it's like.
It took an hour of dragging the kids out of bed and out of the bedroom but we got there. We got there later than I had hoped and it was getting very hot. It wasn’t looking good and then it was looking good. It was looking like a huge area of intensely maintained vegetable gardens. Only hours and hours of weeding and hand planting and watering can make a place look like this. The permaculture part of my brain started pulsating.
Between Hoi An and the Beach at Ah Bang is the village of Tra Que. It is literally on the way to the beach. There are a load of tours that include a visit to the “Vegetable Village”.
I seem to have some sort of phobia. A fear of Tours. I can’t find it in the dictionary so I’m making it up; Tornophobia. From the Greek Tornos. It’s not so much a fear as an aversion. Either way; I don’t like going on tours. We found our own way to Tra Que. It is not hard. You could walk it, ride it, get a motorbike, get a bus, get a taxi and probably a boat. You do not need to get a tour.
It was getting hot but the calm of the gardens soothed my brain and settled the grumpiness of the kids down.
Necessity is the mother of invention and the folks around here are not letting any resource go lightly. Tidy rows of germinating plants under reused plastic bottles, fallen palm fronds as partial shades, neat compost piles and collected seaweed on the perfect vegetable patches.
For the first time on the grand tour I missed my garden. I felt a little bit like Bilbo Baggins. The kids still looked like members of the Company of Dwarves but they had softened to become a less misanthropic pair; more Bofur less Dwalin.
The gardens at Tra Que are part of the supply for the town of Hoi An and if you could be sure that your lunch came from here you could start feeling good about the “Food Miles” accrued by your food. Especially if you are vegetarian. Of course the success of the same town and the nearby beach means that Tra Que is right in the firing line for developers.
We found only one large resort type development that seemed to be in the vegetable village but given its position and the fact that a river runs right through it I imagine the fields will be covered with concrete. Tourist accommodation will rise and the green oasis will fall.