Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Life on the river. In search of Vietnam. Memories of Vietnam
Water played a big part in the life of the Vietnamese. It is unlikely, except for those living in the major towns, that it came out of a tap. In my house in Saigon of course we had hot and cold running water. But when I had first arrived in Vietnam and was living in the provinces such things only existed in the American bases, although on the one I was first posted to we used a hose pipe to shower with.
In my first house up country I had a well. This usually had some water in it but I never trusted it enough to drink, I didn't even like my maid cooking the rice with it. In the rainy season the rain from the roof was caught in a fifty gallon drum. I would get a bucket of it and shower with an old coffee tin. When no water was to be had the maid would hire a young boy to carry buckets of water from the nearest public tap a few hundred yards away.
Of course there was water a everywhere and many Vietnamese lived and worked on it. Without the major rivers and monsoon Vietnam could not have existed as a country. The problem for me was to find drinkable water. I mostly drank tea or beer.