Faces In Vietnam

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“What do you like most about the new park?”

“I like that the children have somewhere to play, I like seeing their smiles.”

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“I don’t care much about modernisation, as long as it keeps growing in a sustainable way.”

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“Can we take a picture of you?”

“Yes, but I want the beach in the background.”

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Tan, who runs his own sustainable bamboo shop, talking at the round table meeting –  “Step by step I’d like to encourage more people to live like this, that’s how I want to make an impact, that’s the path that I chose.”

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“Is it better for things to be easier?”

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The Local Bamboo Shop

Today I woke up in Hoi An, and cycled through the town to get to the local community centre where I’m doing my course work.  The weather is wet, and warm, and nothing like winter in Canberra.  I absolutely love it here.

We spent the morning doing quizzes and preparing some interview questions, before conducting an interview with a local NGO worker.  Then in the afternoon we cycled out to a shop, run by a man who believes that anything can be made from bamboo.  He reminded me of my dad.  Growing up I’ve watched my dad create an array of objects out of odd bits of wood he finds out in the bush, when he walks the dog.  The man – Tan – at the bamboo shop had a similar attitude, but I guess on a larger scale.  The shop was really his home, and pretty much everything inside his house, including the house itself was made out of bamboo.  Bikes, ipod holders, children’s toys, ornaments, phone case covers, furniture, cups, plates etc. etc. etc.  Outside of running his bamboo business, his home is also a home stay for tourists, and he told us a lot of them spent time at his shop learning to carve, and create things out of bamboo.

We were very lucky, as Tan showed us how to make bamboo cups, and then listened to us ask questions.  He also took us for a drive in his car – did I mention it was made out of – you guessed it – bamboo!  If you’re ever in Hoi An, stay at his house ‘Taboo’ – it will be an experience like nothing else.

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Hoi An, Taboo – Entrance to the shop

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Hoi An, Taboo – Tan, the bamboo man

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Hoi An, Taboo – Tan’s workshop

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Hoi An, Taboo – One of the bikes Tan has made

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Hoi An, Taboo – Back of Tan’s workshop

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Hoi An, Taboo – Sitting and working on the cups, Tan showed us how to make

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Hoi An, Taboo – The cups, some made by Tan, some made by us (guess which)

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Hoi An, Taboo – Proud moment!

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Hoi An, Taboo – Tan’s car

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Hoi An – Lunch on the side of the road, from a local villager