What an adventurous, fun-filled day traveling around Phan Rang!
I’m going to post this photo again, because, well really, because this was the morning I actually shot the photo. The morning of all mornings, the morning we started our epic adventure around all of Phan Rang and the neighboring villages. This was the day of all days, a day I will truly never, ever, ever forget…but I have already said that before, about so many of my days on this trip! It’s hard to come up with new superlatives when every day is even better than the day before it, only because it is the day that is NOW. Past days are just that, they are awesome, amazing, unbelievable, but the day you are actually doing it, the time when you are in the moment, that is where the WOW is. It’s too bad we all get into ruts, and those wow days, those days that are happening, that are what life should really be all about, they just don’t happen enough. This was actually one of those very special days…and now, on to the story of THIS day.
We woke up on this morning, very early, before the sun was up. It was still dark and the rest of the house was still sleeping. Ha, her aunt, and I sleepily walked the few blocks down from her aunt’s home to the beach. We had been wanting to get some shots of the sun rising over the sea, and this was the morning we would get them. As we walked, I noticed a stream of motorbikes cruising by us, and people walking beside us, as we headed down to the ocean.
When we got there I was surprised by just how many people went for this early morning swim. There had to be hundreds! It was such a wonderful feeling seeing all the families with their children, older couples, young lovers, all down at the beach waking up early and watching the sun rise as they swam in the warm ocean water. What an incredible way to start the day! And, to top it off, everyone, almost every morning, could wake up, go swimming, and see the spectacular sunrise I posted at the top of this blog. That is the way all days should begin!
The three of us took our time, enjoyed the sunrise, and lazily paddled around in the ocean. Most everyone had left by now and gone on with their lives by the time we finally made our way back to Ha’s aunt’s house. Now it was time to pick up the pace. We had a pretty busy agenda, so Ha, Ha’s uncle, Hoa, and I set out on our exploration. First stop was the Ninh Hai marina and fishing village. Ha wanted me to see where we could pick up some fresh fish if we were so inclined, from the fishermen that were bringing in their catch and untangling their nets after being out fishing since the wee hours of the morning.
I loved walking around the pier, taking in the smell of the salt water and the freshly caught fish, while admiring all the boats painted in beautiful shades of blue. We smiled at the ladies as they were stitching up the nets that had been damaged earlier, and playfully waved at the children sitting on the boats with their fathers.
I was so happy that Ha had suggested visiting this place, even though we would be doing too much traveling and weren’t able to buy any fish.
I look forward to traveling back to this sleepy little fishing village again, in the future. Sitting alongside peaceful Phan Rang Bay, I can’t wait to see what delicious types of fish will be in store for us the next time. Seeing what was available in the fresh market the day before, I am sure there will be a wide range to choose from!
Next up was about a 10 kilometer ride from the outskirts of Phan Rang to Bau Truc Pottery village in the town of Phuoc Dan. The village has been producing pottery since somewhere around the 12th century, and is one of the two oldest villages to be producing pottery in South East Asia.
The story has been told that back many, many years ago, even perhaps thousands of years ago, a man from the Champa empire named Po Klong Chanh and his wife began making pottery in this village. The clay used for the pots comes from a local river called the Quao River.
There is only a two week period that the clay is of the proper consistency, and the people then collect as much as they can store. It is a silt from the river that is especially soft yet tough. The clay is mixed with local sand, and the craftsperson then uses the age old technique of walking around a stand instead of using a turntable or pottery wheel to shape the clay.
Once the clay is formed to whatever the artist wants it to be, it is first put in the sun to dry, and then covered with straw and dry wood. The straw and wood is then lit on fire to burn and heat up the pottery, rather than the typical way of being put in a kiln. This method assures the pots will continue to look like the pots of yore, in the Champa tradition. Here is a short video showing the traditional Cham methods for making the pottery.
The more I learned about the Phan Rang area, the more fascinated I was becoming with the people here and their culture. From the temples I visited the day before that had roots possibly dating back almost 1,000 years, to the pottery traditions that might be even older, how could one not feel a sense of awe with the surroundings. And, to think, the day was only half way over! What more did Ha have in store for me? Well, come back and see, I can promise you the afternoon and evening was just as awesome as the morning was! Please keep following me for more of my amazing adventures around Vietnam and Thailand, and thanks for any comments anyone might like to post, either on my website or my Facebook page. Also, if you like my stories please don’t forget to share them for me with your friends on any of the social medias. Never forget, life is too short, so make the most of it, and travel like there is no tomorrow!