We were free till mid morning so I decided to venture into the city streets on my own and try to buy a few little things I had hesitated to buy the previous afternoon. I must confess I enjoy any city's bustling, particularly around markets and Hanoi provided just that on almost every corner of the street.
Minh collected us at around eleven and soon after we were driving the 50 kilometres that separated us from Duong Lam, during which I just looked out of the bus window, particularly at people as they rode their motos.
Upon having reached the agricultural village of Duong Lam which is believed to have a history of 1,200 years and several houses dating back to 400 years, rice had already been harvested and the whole process of having it laid out on mats to dry in the sun was going on. I briefly pondered on the whole work involved in its cultivation and couldn't help but thinking on the huge Vietnamese productivity regarding rice as being the result of hard manual and animal labour.
Walking through the main gate entrance door meant walking into a different world of narrow alleys said to be shaped in the form of fish bones lined with traditional houses of laterite bricks and mud. Several people rode by us in their bycicles without even looking at us while many of those who sat in small groups outside their houses insisted on talking to us in their broken English or simply posing for photographs.
We strolled around the village for a while .... just trying to get the overall atmosphere before having headed towards a local family house where we had lunch.
(To be continued)