“Paddle Boating” the Thu Bon River

May 6, 2013, In: Asia, Travel, Vietnam
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I’ve never started a blog with “I felt like a mom.” Probably because I very rarely feel like a mom… the no kids thing contributes to that. But on this particular day in Hoi An, Vietnam… I felt like a mom.

Brian, Eric and I had been traveling together for a little over a week, when they had a “great idea”. This came before their “great idea” to trade the chick (me) for a chicken (Boots) as a travel companion. (That story will be recounted in detail one of these days), but for today… Here is the story of another “great idea” that I still can’t believe they pulled off.

The Thu Bon riverside is lined by boat owners. They call out to you at every step, “Boat? Boat?” Think Venice, minus the romance. No crooning gondolier or ornately decorated seats- just a conical hat donned river guide who will float you up the river a half hour, then turn around and float you back. We ignored these tourist traps without exception… until this day. “Boat? Boat?” they asked us. “Yes. We want a boat.” The boys answered. “But we don’t want you in it.” Now this conversation doesn’t lend itself to easy translation. “We both want our own boat and our own paddle for 30 minutes. Oh… And we want the small boats that are stuck in the reeds over there.”

I’ve written before about the language barrier we encountered almost everywhere we went. Let me tell you, this conversation was no exception. Brian took one side of the river, Eric took the other, looking for someone who would give them a boat. I stood on the bridge in the middle, shaking my head and taking pictures. Nobody had a clue why these two white boys wanted to go out alone- and in such small boats, but luckily, money is a universal language, and after a while, a shop owner came over to help with a rough translation.

The guys paddled around the river for about 20 minutes, and I promise you I thought the two boat owners (who took a while to locate, but were impossible to get rid of afterward) were going to wade into the middle of the river and physically sit the boys down. They paced back and forth calling and motioning for the guys to “Sit Down!” I tried to help by explaining that they were “Paddle Boating”, my own word.

I guess if you keep a beach boy off his board for long enough- this is what you get.

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Hoi An-82

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