Blossom and Waterwheels on the Vietnam-Laos Border

Thatched house and huts on hillside with blossom across the picture. Springtime in a hillside village in Houaphanh Province, north-eastern Laos Travelling from Vietnam into Laos involves passing over the line of the Trường Sơn mountains, it is these that give to Vietnam its characterful S-shape. Along this 1,300 mile (2,130 kilometre) border there are only a handful of crossings. Maybe the most picturesque is the road which follows the River Mã Go to another page. through the mountains. This page has images of two features of that road: the waterwheels on the Vietnamese side of the border and (in February) the plum blossom on the Laos side. The pictures below were taken following Highway 217 in Viet Nam, and then along Routes 6, 1 and 13 in Laos, so leading to Luang Prabang - and the next page. Vertical view looking up the valley with three large waterwheels and their barrages. ...areas of northern Vietnam. Their function is to raise water from the river to the level of the surrounding fields One of these small barrages diverting water to the wheels. Above, one of the barrages which keep the waterwheels supplied. These wheels are a common feature of the landscape in the more fertile... Closer shot of the same three wheels. As the hut to the right shows, the wheels are of considerable size. The rudimentary scaffolding supports a pipe which conducts the water from the top of the wheel. The force of the river turns the wheel and the water is raised to the top by buckets on the perimeter of the wheel. In this way water can be distributed to fields that are some 30 feet (10 metres) above the river level Horizontal view of the wheels and the valley. These flat fields, a few metres above the river, are able to produce wet rice with the help of the wheels, but that does not make the back breaking... Women bent double planting seedlings. ... work (above) of planting the paddy seedlings into the water any the less arduous Water filled fields with two buffalo ploughing. The fields are prepared for the planting by ploughing while still under water. A patch of seedlings in the foreground wait to be planted out. To the delight of photographers buffalo are still the norm for this work Street scene with small Thai type houses and logs lying around. Village street on Route 1c in Luang Prabang Province Woman in local garb sweeping dusty earth. Sweeping dust - hopefully to some purpose! View across the width of a village street, two chickens in centre of the road. A village with tarred road is a welcome site after some three hundred kilometres of poor surfaces. A similarly challenging road to the south can be seen on: 'Laos - Dust and Karsts' Go to another page. Five early school age children variously looking at the photographer while holding various objects. A spectrum of reactions to strangers. A wooded hillside with a plum tree in blossom among them. A single plum tree in blossom stands out against the forest green Small grove of plum trees with hut. While above, a grove is formed Larger grove of plum trees. These trees are much prized in Vietnam for the New Year celebrations, which are usually in early February. So prized are they, that locals have to be weary of 'raiding' parties crossing the border in search of good specimens like these Three huts in foreground with plum trees aross the road on which is the Jeep. Above to the left there is evidence that the Jeep was there. Thatched houses, plum blossom, children playing. Here, as Route 6 winds through the... Large thatched house with plun trees around it. ...Province of Houaphanh, south of Sam Nuea, the country provides that rural idyll that makes this part of Laos so uniquely attractive. But it is hot. At this, near the coolest time of year, we had stopped at 10am to put the roof on the Jeep - to keep the sun off View across hill with mist surrounding it. Coming up into the mountains from Thanh Hoá in Vietnam, the mornings can be cooler allowing the moist air to form mist in the valleys in this easterly part of Houaphanh Province Looking down to fields below with mist clearing away. Views down into the mist... Valley with mist stretching out to distant hills. it clears at around 8am Here is a slightly vain attempt to capture this scene of peace. If you are somewhere quiet, and turn your volume up full, you may just be able to hear the gentle sounds of the dawn as the camera sweeps round over the Laos jungle Trailers... Main street in the town of Luang Prabang. The next page continues down this road to Luang Prabang. Maybe a little invidious, but a good candidate for the world's most pleasant town. Other nomination? Statue of Ganesha in the Champa Museum, Da Nang. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Ganesha'.
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Saturday 12th September 2020 Murphy on duty to this site

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