I was drifting off to sleep after our busy day when my body starting sending signals that something was amiss. I spent the rest of the night making frequent trips to the bathroom, sweating, shivering, tossing, and turning, and feeling miserable. The worst was over by daybreak, but I still had a fever and spent the next 24 hours in bed. While I rested and recovered, I urged Karel to carry on with our original plans for the day: a bicycle ride into the countryside to visit a farm, followed by a boat ride on the river. I missed my chance to ride a water buffalo, but I was extremely grateful that this was a rare “stay-put” day with no required travel to a new destination. I was in no shape for travel, whether by bus, bike, boat, or buffalo.
It was some kind of flu; a nasty, 24-hour bug that afflicted several members of our group and was going around town. By the following day, I was well enough to get up and about. We rented bicycles (for $1! for the entire day!) from a shop (Mrs. Tho, who also did our laundry) across from the hotel and pedaled into the old village to the tailor’s shop.
Ack! How wrong can you be? I must have already been hallucinating due to fever, because one of my fabric choices was a disaster. Fortunately, the solution was not too difficult, and it wasn’t too late, despite missing my appointment the day before. The áo dài was turning out to be more strikingly Oriental than I’d planned, but it was still going to be a beautiful dress. We left matters in Quyen’s capable hands and went looking for museums.
Here’s a quick museum synopsis. In spite of being five centuries old, and in spite of annual flooding that completely inundates the first floors to a height of two meters or more, these buildings are still beautiful, sound, and occupied. When rainy season comes, the residents prepare by moving everything to the second floor. Flooding usually lasts a few days, during which everyone takes a little holiday and camps upstairs. The flooding may repeat several times during the season. Then the people move back down, clean up the mess, repair the damage, and repaint. These old buildings are made with huge, ironwood timbers, which are very durable.
At nightfall we found an outdoor school teaching folksongs to local children. Then we observed a game being played on a pavilion at a busy intersection. It appeared to be like bingo, except there were two MCs who sang a story about the symbols selected at random from the container full of sticks, to the accompaniment of live music.
Our clothes were ready next morning. Then it was off to the airport for our flight to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).This entry was posted in Honeymoon 2013