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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Asian Cooking / ZWT9~ Rice Farming Challenge
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    ZWT9~ Rice Farming Challenge

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    Annacia
    Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:15 am
    Forum Host


    Life on a Rice Paddy in Vietnam


    1st day

    We arrived at our host family's home in the late afternoon, we were tired from traveling but our hosts had made a delicious dinner ready for us.

    Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry


    After dinner, the father explained to us the rice season in the Mekong Delta. Popularly known as the "Rice Bowl" of Vietnam.

    In Vietnam life revolves around the rice seasons.



    The rice-planting season in Vietnam usually starts in May. Around this time, showers signal the approaching end of the dry season, and farmers once more prepare for rice planting as one annual cycle ends and another begins.

    Since most farmers have to wait for seasonal rain to plant their annual rice crop, they are at times faced with difficulties from drought, so there might not be enough rainfall for crop growing. Farmers solve this problem by digging canals to channel water into their rice fields. Sometimes technology like the water wheel is used.



    The rice field mud walls are designed to keep the water in the paddies. By breaking holes in these mud walls, water may be moved down from higher fields to irrigate lower ones.

    Once the seedlings are planted, they are later transplanted at a greater distance apart, almost always a uniquely backbreaking operation.



    The rice then enjoys the rainfall during the green season through to around September. The rice turns from emerald, to a darker green and finally to dry gold under the strong sun.

    By late November, it is ready to be harvested. Each morning, farmers go into the fields with sickles to harvest their crop. The cut rice is spread on the fields to dry for several days before being bundled into sheaves and taken to the family compound where it is threshed, and may then be milled.

    We were so happy to learn how rice is grown and couldn't wait for the next day.

    2nd Day

    The day began with a gathering of all the rice producing families in this region getting together to celebrate the beginning of Harvest. They had a ceremonial parade and other festivities.



    3rd Day

    By the next morning we had the hang of the whole process. The motion goes something like this: a hand sweep grabbing the top 8 inches of aged harvest rice, a clinch, and then a firm taut grouping matched with the flick of the hook. The motion ends with the rice thrown in piles in front of the harvesters.



    Lunch today was Lemongrass Chicken #460444



    4th Day

    We helped out on the other end of harvest. Threshing and Milling



    5th Day

    We helped out with the family garden
    and the chickens.





    6th Day

    Our host family decided to take us to Ho Chi Minh City for the day. It was like another world after the rice paddies.

    A must visit stop was Ben Thanh Market.



    You can get anything you want at Ben Thanh Market. From freshly ground coffee to weird smelling foods to knock-off watches to t-shirts plastered with Uncle Ho’s face to Vietnamese souvenirs, Ben Thanh has it all. And bargaining is a must. Even if you’re not in the mood for shopping, it’s fun to wander through the narrow alleys (undercover – Ben Thanh is an indoor market) just looking as you’re bombarded with calls of “Pretty lady, where you from?”. Our host family warned us that the shop owners can be quite pushy and will grab your arm and hold on, preventing you from moving off. We were taught that a polite but firm “no thanks” before moving off will get you out of trouble.

    After escaping the market we went to visit Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

    lovely gardens - Picture of Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Ho Chi Minh City
    This photo of Zoo and Botanical Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Pictures of Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Attraction Photos
    This photo of Zoo and Botanical Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Pictures of Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Attraction Photos
    This photo of Zoo and Botanical Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Pictures of Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Attraction Photos
    This photo of Zoo and Botanical Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Pictures of Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Attraction Photos
    This photo of Zoo and Botanical Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Pictures of Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Attraction Photos
    This photo of Zoo and Botanical Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Pictures of Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Attraction Photos
    This photo of Zoo and Botanical Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Pictures of Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Attraction Photos
    This photo of Zoo and Botanical Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor


    7th Day


    Our last day started out really early with a great breakfast.

    Our hosts served us Iced Coffee {ca Phe Vietnam] #387691



    and Poached Eggs on Asiatic Bed #267428




    After breakfast we said our good-byes and told our host family, if they ever got to Canada they were welcome to stay at our house and learn all about the Canadian prairie farming.
    Mikekey
    Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:30 pm
    Food.com Groupie


    I will be doing this challenge-Cambodia.
    Mikekey
    Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:26 pm
    Food.com Groupie


    Day 1: We arrive in Prey Veng province by minibus from Phnom Penh. This densely populated agricultural region is located on the east bank of the Mekong River. The name literally means "long forest" in khmer, but the last great forests have gradually disappeared there over 30 years to provide for agricultural land.




    We meet our host family and since cars are a rarity in the villages, we travel by motorcycle to their home in. Oxcart is another major mode of transportation.



    We arrive at a traditional wooden house on stilts (the stilts are nowadays mostly of concrete).



    We are treated to a dinner that includes Khmer Coconut Pork Skewers (Cambodian for ZWT-9)

    Day 2: After breakfast, which typically includes some variation of pork and rice, and today a treat to wash it down- Tirk Kos Krote Komquat (Cambodian Komquat Drink), it is out into the rice paddys. Today they are harvesting rice seedlings for replanting.





    Day 3: Today the rice field needs to be prepared (soil ploughed, water pumped in and/or out, fertilizer and insecticides manually applied, and weeds manually removed) and rice crops planted



    After a hard, hot day, a swim in the canal.



    Day 4: The village is without electricity or running water. For power, they make do with batteries. There is a central charging station that runs a generator where they take their flat batteries and exchange them for a fully charged one. Water is collected in those big earthen jars or in drums. We accompany our hosts to charge their batteries.



    Day 5: We watched some locals weaving thatch for roof repairs. Some of the roofs are wood or metal, but most are thatch.



    Then by motorcycle to the local market.



    Day 6: Today, in honor of our visit on our last full day, we are thrown a big family feast, which was attended by half the village. It included Shrimp Curry Noodle Soup (Num Pachok Kari Pakon). This is considered a holiday soup by some, served at Cambodian New Year, but our hosts serve it to us to celebrate our last day with them.








    Day 7: Time to say goodbye and thank everyone for their hospitality. We take the oxcart to the waiting minibus for our trip back to Phnom Penh
    Muffin Goddess
    Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:52 pm
    Food.com Groupie


    I will be visiting Cambodia for this challenge



    icon_biggrin.gif
    Maryland Jim
    Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:34 am
    Food.com Groupie


    For the Rice Farming Challenge I chose the country of Vietnam
    Tisme
    Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:24 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Tisme wrote:
     photo SparklePPPotPnewest_zps5281326f.jpg

    I will be doing Vietnam for my part of this challenge.

    Day 1: (Sunday)

    Tired and a little weary from the long plane trip from Australia, we arrived at Noibai airport Hanoi this morning. A very busy and bustling place!
    Tonight we will be taking an overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa.
     photo 3471493e-939f-4252-9ea8-32011f9d149e_zps96ea04a5.jpg

    Day 2. (Monday)
    This morning we are met our guide Dong ...... One thing we were told, is that you cannot do a home stay without a guide – for our safety and the safety of the families. Also because, our family do not speak a lot of English and we speak little Vietnamese. So I think Dong will be greatly appreciated. After a steep and fairly deep hike down and through the picturesque mountain’s & valley, we reached the village. Dong introduced us to the family we are staying with. They are the Lê family and they seem lovely. We met the parents and their 3 daughter's Lain, Mai and Cam, speak who speak a little English, which will be so helpful.
     photo ec639912-416a-4cfb-85d0-e4a23b744418_zps9d56de21.jpg

    Day 3. (Tuesday)
    The stay last night was rustic to say the least. We are staying in basic wooden framed home, the floor is concrete and the roof is made of tin. We are spending the afternoon getting to know the Lê family a little, before we start our adventure.
    We took some time out to see some magical scenery and also had a chance to see some rice being dried in the sun this afternoon. We looked lovely in our “Non la”...... which is a conical shaped hat worn all over Vietnam.
     photo f75365c7-146f-42da-9d8e-1a06f6e1fde7_zps67bcf215.jpg
     photo SAPA2_zpsa470134c.png

    Day 4. (Wednesday)
    It was an early start today (5 a.m.). It is the harvest season and we are helping to pick the rice plants and weed this morning. After a quick breakfast, we headed off for some work. Harvest is hell! Did we work hard this morning, the men seemed to do the heavy labor like plowing and digging, whilst we helped the women harvest the ripe rice plants into baskets given to us.
     photo 3bc181b3-2c9c-4cd3-8355-b6d5ad04681d_zpsa1f91f3b.jpg


    After a morning spent bending in the marshy water, the heat had taken its toll. So at mid day, everyone retired for lunch cooked and prepared by Lian, the family’s daughter. Lain is an amazing cook, how she cooked this meal in her kitchen amazed us.
     photo 66115dc1-0cae-4904-9390-1ef9924b239a_zpsbb8035b9.jpg
    Thai Red Curry Chicken and Eggplant (Aubergine)
    Vietnamese Lemon Rice Vietnamese Lemon Rice
    Followed Mango on Sticky Rice (Kow Neuw Mamwaung)
     photo 7e566dbc-3812-4951-a827-dd2383bb42b4_zps29b9835d.jpg

    After lunch the family took us to Sapa Market . We had a wonderful time, enjoying and learning of the local traditions and food. Both Dong and the family were so full of information on the local traditions. The market was so colourful and entertaining.
     photo SAPA2_zps376bac49.png

    Day 5. (Thursday)
    Yet another early morning, and we helped herd in the water buffalo, they are needed to work the fields, for the new plantings of rice. We even got to ride one named “Ping”.
    I was scared a little reluctant at first but Mai showed me how gentle Ping was and just how easy it was to ride her.
     photo 48e63637-68f5-49f4-9c25-dcdd6722afbc_zpsb64a2888.jpg
    A wonderful breakfast was waiting for us back at the home, again cooked by our up and coming chef Lian.
    Thai Steamed Eggs
    Melon in Passionfruit-Ginger Syrup
    Digestive Tea
     photo cf311252-6123-46ae-b7e0-5d5f1ee869a0_zpsf717600e.jpg
    The family elders had already left early for the market, they have a stall where they sell their rice, corn, fruit and vegetables. We decided to meet them there to help and afterward, took some time out to explore Sapa. We rented bikes and rode to Sapa Lake with the 2 youngest daughter’s Cam and Mai. We rented a paddle boat, after which we visited some shops before heading home. We all had an amazing time today. I purchased some purse’s, table clothes and curry powder at the market.
     photo e25f7f5e-3de0-4634-a54d-e7e395e72179_zps0a14e7f0.jpg

    Day 6. (Friday)
    Today we helped the woman of the family with cleaning the house and also washing the clothes in the nearby small creek, washing was much needed for our clothes. especially seeing the home has no plumbing for a washing machine and since we have been working hard the last few days... not too mention the only transportation, which is trekking, our clothes are a little on the stinking side! So a creek is just what was needed!
     photo SAPA2_zps5a1ab32d.png

    After washing was a trek to the hill-tribe villages of Cat Cat, where some of the woman trade at the market. Cat Cat is home to the H'mong people, who originated from China about 300 years ago. The H'mong people are easily recognizable by their dark-blue or black clothing. At Cat Cat we all enjoyed a morning with the woman trading their wares.
     photo sapamarket_zpsdeb9f778.png
    This afternoon as a surprise, some of the women that do not trade at Cat Cat, took us to the local waterfalls, Lain had made a fantastic picnic and we lunched alongside a river. The waterfalls were spectacular and so cooling on a hot day.
     photo SAPA2_zpsd628ad18.png

    We headed for home in the early afternoon, as the family wanted to cook us a farewell banquet.
    And what a Asian banquet it was. Accompanied with a few bottles homemade wine, which had secretly been purchased from todays market, for the occasion by Dong.
    We loved everything Lain prepared and cooked and she had done so much food for our farewell banquet. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs as this young girl can certainly cook with the best! And the homemade wine, especially went down a treat, even if a little warm! We especially loved Lain's dish Hau's Vietnamese Spring Rolls and Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad
     photo 93d1b068-607f-4767-aab8-1e6d6e1f0b7b_zpsbaed9161.jpg

    Day 7. Saturday
    We packed very early and a little sad to be leaving. Before we leave, Lian’s parents have consented to let her have the day off, which is rare as during harvest, every member of the family are needed for either the fields or market work. We have arranged a Thank You suprise for Lian. Lian had spoken many times of wanting try Pizza, she had never tasted Western type foods before and so much wanted to taste Pizza . So as a suprise we took Lian to lunch at Romano’s Pizza in Sapa. Lian was speechless when we arrived.
    We ordered pizza’s spaghetti Bolognese, spaghetti with seafood, Bruschetta Toscana and garlic bread. We had wine and Lain had Juice Milkshake. She is such a dainty girl goodness knows where she put all the food she ate!

     photo SAPA2_zps07c58d55.png
    After lunch, we went to some shops, to buy some foods for a hamper, as a thank you to the family. We packed the foods in a basket and presented it to the family whilst they were trading at the market. We held back the tears as we said our goodbye’s to such a wonderful family. Nothing will ever compare to this trip and the amazing people we met.

    We are now at our hotel, craving for some sleep before we once again have another early morning trip to the airport for our departure.
    alvinakatz
    Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:26 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    The Apron String Travelers’ Rice Farming Vacation

    Day 1) Here we are in Thailand off to explore rice farming. It’s the Apron String Travelers doing what we do best: traveling, cooking, eating, learning, and working. The trip was overseen by our fabulous mentor Debbwl. We take the bus to our destination north of Bangkok into the Chao Phraya River Valley. It is basically a large plain, the place where rice cultivation first started in Thailand. Now rice is grown in most of Thailand, being one of the most important exports.


    Day 2) We got an unusual treat today. To ensure that there was a good harvest the village held a ritual called a Cat Procession. Villagers carried a cat around and threw water at it, because they believe that a “crying” cat brings a fertile rice crop. Being our captain, Bayhill was given the honor of carrying the cat around. Unfortunately, she let it go after a particularly heavy dowsing by Marcasite Queen. Then there was some debate if Alvinakatz could be a substitute, because of her name. She politely begged out of the ordeal.


    Day 3) We started the day with a great breakfast, giving us enough energy for working the paddy. Thai breakfasts consist of the same dishes served at lunch and dinner. Maryland Jim convinced our hosts to let him spread his prize winning basil jelly on top of Crispy Thai Omlet by Chef Jean. We were also served Iced Coffee {ca Phe Vietnam] by katew and Rice With Coconut Milk by lazyme. That was a great taste of the jasmine rice that is Thailand’s specialty.


    Day 4) Our hosts explained to us that jasmine rice is a lower yielding rice, but because it is so delicious, it can command a higher price. Recent innovations in farming technology, especially irrigation and seed, have really led to dramatic increases in yield. We go out into the paddy to help transplant rice. It is grueling labor and we are greatly pleased when lunch shows up. MiainGermany is particular unused to the heat and humidity. Normally only fruit is served for dessert, but today, because of all our hard work, we got a special sweet treat with our meal.

    Lunch is delicious with:
    Pad Thai With Tofu by Mikekey
    Thai-Style Skewered Chicken by Nancy’s Pantry
    Thai Sticky Pudding (Kanom Nam Tan) by mersaydees

    Day 5) After our long day working in the paddy, dinner was particularly welcome. As usual, we sit on mats to eat. Our palates are now ready to find each dish’s balance of sweet, salty, sour and bitter. The dinner menu was:
    Thai Pineapple Salad by JackieOhNo!
    Jasmine Rice With Caramelized Green Onions by cookgirl
    Country-Style Curry With Ground Beef and Green Beans by ck2plz using Sharon123’s Thai Red Curry Paste
    Vegetarian Panang Curry by Sofie-a-toast


    Day 6) More working hard. Loof cheated by taking photos of all of us working instead of transplanting rice herself. However, she took one step too many back and fell into the khlong,a small canal which waters the paddy. Luckily she tossed her camera up just in time and it was caught by the agile domesticangel.
    After such a harrowing day, we were all glad when Momluvs6 flung together some Siamese Sour by momaphet. It was welcome. Who know she had snuck all that alcohol into her luggage!


    Day 7) Our last day. Before getting on the bus back to Bangkok we were all given some of the rice from the fields we had worked in. We also learned a bit of the history of pricing rice in Thailand. To promote urban growth in the 1950’s the government taxed the rice industry and used the money in big cities. In 1953, tax on rice accounted for 32 percent of government revenue. The government had a monopoly on exports and kept domestic prices low for Thailand. These policies were called the "rice premium," which was in place until 1985 when the government abolished it due to political pressure. With the end of the “rice premium” rice farming shifted from peasant rice farmers to more of a modern-day, commercial industry. Most of us felt lucky to have been able to stay in one of the peasant farms, but ChefPotPie was wondering if we would have gotten air conditioning, had we stayed on a more commercial farm. With that we said bye-bye to our farming family and left for the bustle of Bangkok. But after all that labor, one thing is sure; we won’t be wasting a single grain of rice ever again.
    evelyn/athens
    Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:12 pm
    Forum Host


    DAY 1
    Today is my first day in Thailand! I arrived by Thai Air in the wee hours and took the early bus to the village of Pak Rong (which means 'Mouth of the River Rong'), where I met my host, Peansiri Vongvipanond, and his family. I was here to experience the harvesting of the rice with this gracious family, and it is an experience I very much look forward to.


    Peansiri lives in a small hut along with his wife, 4 children (3 sons and a daughter) and mother-in-law. I was humbled and thankful that they found the room, both in their home and in their hearts, to make a stranger feel welcome.

    Angkul, Peansiri's wife, informed me that the family had already eaten their daily breakfast of joke, but that she had set a portion aside for me. Joke[/] is a thick rice porridge that is served piping hot with an egg cracked in the middle, some pieces of pork for flavoring, and garnished with slices of ginger and parsley.


    I was starving and ate it all up. Good simple food that fills a hole in your stomach and prepares you for a hard day of work in the rice paddies. Peansiri was kind. Seeing how tired I was from my long flight, he suggested I take a nap to recover from my trip and not start work in the paddies until the following day. I took his advice. I fell asleep looking at the most wonderful view.




    [i]DAY 2


    I woke up with the smell of frying eggs at 6am this morning. Angkul was outside, using a propane burner and making Crispy Thai Omlet (by Chef Jean). Another simple and appetizing dish. After breakfast, Peansiri gave me a rice hat, and it was off to the paddies for my first day in the rice fields. The rice hat proved invaluable in a battle with the sun and its menacing rays!

    I am making many friends harvesting rice in these fields. We can not speak the same language, but have no difficulty in communicating. They take turns to show me, to teach me, and then the race is on: together we work, talk, smile, and help each other, we feel the heat of the day, we throw out our backs. Our hands and feet are scratched by rice plants and bitten by relentless insects. Our faces are sunburned, and the heat makes us incredibly thirsty, but the simple peasant folk around me never stopped smiling, or cracking jokes, for that matter. According to the Thai, in every aspect of work, in every action, there has to be 'sanuk', meaning fun or interest.


    DAY 3


    You realize that the heat increases, that you are getting thirsty, and you turn your head to your colleagues. Among bowed heads, hidden by the rice, you see faces, sparkling eyes and smiles, people moving back and forth from one plot to another to lend a hand to a neighbour, lips parted in a laugh. You are listening: there is laughter everywhere. The paddy field is alive with activity, and benevolent people call out to you: “Pakphon mai?” (Do you want a break?); “Ron mai, ao muak mai?” (Are you hot, do you want a hat?). You think of the heat and feel the water in the paddy tickling your feet, a rough plant might scratch your legs, but it reminds you that you really are there in the rice field, with your dirty trousers and long-sleeve (!) shirt sticking to your skin, and dryness in your throat.

    Then you turn around and enjoy the scenery and let yourself be surprised: a hand, a smile that reveals a flash of white teeth, a soft voice that seems far away, an arm shaking from the weight of the water they have brought for refreshment. You are thirsty, but you smile. You take the time to smile and once again look upon this world where you feel alive, before taking the water can and saying “thank you”—the thousandth time you have said those words today. This is the water that you were thinking of, that you drink every day. But today, you appreciate every drop. You drink greedily, and again you smile at the child who gave you this little draught of happiness, and you see that the child is smiling back…

    The child is Peansiri's eldest, Jarun. He has brought us our lunch. We find some large stones to sit on by the river bank and dig in to bowls of Mango on Sticky Rice (Kow Neuw Mamwaung) (by smellyvegetarian), Thai Cucumber and Pineapple Salad (by Pan Nan), A-Jaad - Thai Cucumber Cool Down by alvinakatz, and Spicy Grilled FIsh Pieces (by morgainegeiser). Nothing too filling. Just enough to refresh you, revitalize you, and allow you to work another couple of hours, until the afternoon sun gets too hot to make work possible.


    DAYS 4 and 5

    One day blends into the next at this point. Endless harvesting of endless fields of rice. Breakfast and lunch are pretty much the same every day - I'm not at the Four Seasons - but sharing the simple food of simple people, letting each day take its inevitable course, laughing, laughing, laughing, has done me more good than any spa retreat ever can.

    DAY 6

    My last day in the fields. I have to leave tomorrow, and I know that Peansiri and Angkul are preparing a celebration for my departure. All the village has been invited. How can I thank these people for their unbelievable hospitality? I sneak off to a village farmer and pay him his asking price for 3 chickens. I also pick up some shrimp at the new-fangled 'super' on the main road. Angkul is delighted with my contributions, and I see the thanks shining in her eyes. She will cook us a feast! Many of the neighbour-women come to help her. We are having Thai Fish Fillets and Shrimp in Coconut Milk (by Karen Elizabeth), Thai-Style Spring Roll Salad With Red Curry Shrimp (by Muffin Goddess), Sweet Chili-Glazed Tofu With Bok Choy - America's Test Kitchen (by Debbie R.), Crazy Chicken - Rice Noodle Stir-Fry (by LifeIsGood) and Shrimp in Spicy Lime Sauce (by JackieOhNo!), and the liquid refreshment will be Tamarind Water (by Chef Jean) and Thai Iced Coffee - 12 Hour Brew Technique (by Debbwl).


    DAY 7

    I'm making this entry on the bus heading back to the airport. I leave Thailand in just under 5 hours. Peansiri and his family have made my brief stay here unforgettable. I will never, EVER, eat another grain of rice without thinking of this family, the grueling hours they put in to planting and harvesting their rice, and the smiles that never leave their faces. Bless them.

    FINAL ENTRY, back home

    Of course, these few lines only describe the experience of a Westerner in the paddy field, a brief immersion in the laborious work that millions of Thai people and many more across Asia do every day. Although I saw the positive side, this life is also one of pain, sweat and fear. Working the rice paddies also includes the preparation of muddy fields invaded by leeches that will chew up your legs, the tough hoeing that requires brute arm strength to cut weeds, the sun burning your exposed skin, the battles against invading crabs that tear grains of rice from the plants, your back bent for hours, and the fear of floods or drought.

    The rice paddy is the mother of rice, and here, rice is life. If the rice paddy is damaged by animals, by too much or too little water, it means that the farmer, his wife and his children have lost their livelihood. Once again this year, Thailand was ravaged by floods that damaged cities, homes, businesses, temples and countless rice paddies. One more misfortune in a succession of setbacks. But hope still prevails, because in Maepon everybody knows that the next harvest will be bountiful.

    I think of this hard life, and the family I have left behind. Just as I'm about to close my journal, a picture of Peansiri's and Angkul's children that I took on my last day falls out....

    Happiness.
    Maryland Jim
    Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:39 pm
    Food.com Groupie

    Rice Field Challenge Journal for "The Apron String Travelers"
    Host Country: Vietnam
    Flag of Vietnam

    Day 1: Arrival! Upon our arrival at our host's small farm in the Province of Bac Lieu in the Mekong River area of Vietnam, we were provided with some bowls of rice, tea and some delicious spring rolls with rice and herbs. We sleep well from our travels that night.
    map photo mapofvietnam_zps17874705.png




    Day 2: Learning the surroundings. After a restful night, we awoke to the smell of Pho cooking.
    Pho photo Pho_in_Saigon_zps40bb41b6.jpg
    Dish of Pho
    After a traditional breakfast of rice, Pho and some tea, our host announced that we would be getting a tour of the farm and "getting into the fields".
    rice farmer photo RiceFarmer_in_Vietnam_zpsf4c2762a.jpg
    Farmer in rice field

    Day 3: Helping on the farm! Our hosts thought we might like to "try our hands" and working the fields today so we were shown how to plant rice seedlings. I sure hope the ones I planted grow!!
    planting rice photo plantingrice_zpsb392e947.jpg
    Planting rice in the "field".
    The evening meal today consisted of Vietnamese Stir-Fried Vegetables 490178 and a huge bowl of rice.

    Day 4: Meeting with neighbors! After a breakfast of more pho, apparently the word had gotten out to the neighbors that there were foreigners in the fields yesterday making a spectral of them selves, so some of the neighbors stop by to meet the visitors.
    rice farm photo Rice_farm_in_Vietnam_zpsa8452a1e.jpg
    Rice Farm in Vietnam
    Day 5: Travel to the Mekong River. As we talked with the neighbors yesterday the discussion came up about the huge catfish that are often caught in the Mekong River, not far from where we were staying. So after much discussion about these fish, our host decided to take us down to a local river dock to see if any of these large creatures had been recently caught.
    market photo CanThoFloatingMarket_zpse6271744.jpg
    Market Place on the Mekong River
    We discovered that the Mekong Catfish can grow up to 10' in size, but has recently been declared to be a "critically endangered species", though the locals still occasionally bring one to shore. Unfortunely we did not get to see any of these monsters but all the talk made for very interesting conversation with the local fishermen. Before we left the dock area, there was small food stand selling Spicy Grilled FIsh Pieces 504331 which was very tasty and satisfying.
    cat fish photo mekong-giant-catfish_zps12e8137f.jpg
    One Big Catfish
    Day 6: Special Dinner: As our time with our gracious hosts, draws to an end, we were treated to a very special dinner. We enjoyed
    Lemongrass Chicken
    and
    Caramelized Black-Pepper Fish with bowls of rice and mixed vegetables.
    But the best of all was a delicious dessert Vietnamese Sweet Stewed Bananas Recipe 283694

    Day 7: Day of Departure: Our final morning in this lovely setting we again enjoyed the morning serving of Pho and rice. But we will not soon forget the amazing people, places and most of all the food that we have been blessed to have experienced.
    Susie D
    Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:55 pm
    Forum Host
    Annacia wrote:


    Life on a Rice Paddy in Vietnam


    1st day


    After breakfast we said our good-byes and told our host family, if they ever got to Canada they were welcome to stay at our house and learn all about the Canadian prairie farming.


    Lovely job Annacia! icon_biggrin.gif
    Susie D
    Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:57 pm
    Forum Host
    Mikekey wrote:


    Day 1: We arrive in Prey Veng province by minibus from Phnom Penh.


    Day 7: Time to say goodbye and thank everyone for their hospitality. We take the oxcart to the waiting minibus for our trip back to Phnom Penh


    Great job mikekey! icon_smile.gif
    Susie D
    Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:01 am
    Forum Host
    Tisme wrote:
    Tisme wrote:
     photo SparklePPPotPnewest_zps5281326f.jpg

    I will be doing Vietnam for my part of this challenge.

    Day 1: (Sunday)

    After lunch, we went to some shops, to buy some foods for a hamper, as a thank you to the family. We packed the foods in a basket and presented it to the family whilst they were trading at the market. We held back the tears as we said our goodbye’s to such a wonderful family. Nothing will ever compare to this trip and the amazing people we met.

    We are now at our hotel, craving for some sleep before we once again have another early morning trip to the airport for our departure.


    Great story! icon_smile.gif
    Susie D
    Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:03 am
    Forum Host
    alvinakatz wrote:
    The Apron String Travelers’ Rice Farming Vacation

    Day 1) Here we are in Thailand off to explore rice farming.

    Day 2) We got an unusual treat today. To ensure that there was a good harvest the village held a ritual called a Cat Procession. Villagers carried a cat around and threw water at it, because they believe that a “crying” cat brings a fertile rice crop. Being our captain, Bayhill was given the honor of carrying the cat around. Unfortunately, she let it go after a particularly heavy dowsing by Marcasite Queen. Then there was some debate if Alvinakatz could be a substitute, because of her name. She politely begged out of the ordeal.

    ]


    I'm still rotfl.gif at the cat photo. icon_smile.gif
    Susie D
    Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:05 am
    Forum Host
    evelyn/athens wrote:


    DAY 1
    Today is my first day in Thailand! I arrived by Thai Air in the wee hours and took the early bus to the village of Pak Rong (which means 'Mouth of the River Rong'), where I met my host, Peansiri Vongvipanond, and his family. I was here to experience the harvesting of the rice with this gracious family, and it is an experience I very much look forward to.


    .


    I enjoyed the family focus of your story very much. icon_smile.gif
    Susie D
    Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:08 am
    Forum Host
    Maryland Jim wrote:

    Rice Field Challenge Journal for "The Apron String Travelers"
    Host Country: Vietnam

    We discovered that the Mekong Catfish can grow up to 10' in size, but has recently been declared to be a "critically endangered species",
    cat fish photo mekong-giant-catfish_zps12e8137f.jpg
    One Big Catfish
    .


    Can you imagine a 10' catfish? icon_eek.gif
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