25 May 2010

The River Runs By Hoi An


I stumbled on the flood marker quite by accident.  It was our third day in Hoi An.  Jane and I were having a lazy day browsing the shops & galleries, enjoying the serenity of the temples

Intrepid_ Vietnam-12

and making sure we took enough breaks to taste the cafe culture and make a few last minute purchases.  image

We couldn’t resist this particular tourist trap.  “Same, Same - But Different” – how often have we heard these words in South East Asia :) !   

Soon it was lunch time and after a bit of shopping around we find a cafe with a five course imagemeal for the price of a few dollars!  We are astounded..and decide to feed our IQ :) !

We popped into the art gallery quite by chance.  I was intrigued when I realised the art work was all hand embroidered and stepped in for a quick imagelook, although we were already running late. 

The flood icon caught my eye as I walked in..and yes I was quite thrilled at this discovery!  I went looking in search of someone who could give me the low down.  The first girl I spoke to obviously didn’t know much English and ran off to drag her manager out of her office. Am I glad she did!  We got the run down on what happens to this little town each year when the river floods.   The rains around October/November dictate that part of this town shuts down for business as the buildings are immersed in a few metres of flooding! 

Furniture from the first floor is carted upstairs to make ‘Room for the River’.  The flood waters could take a week to subside and from what I gathered they do have a pretty good warning system to ensure they are prepared for the onslaught.  Each year, they faithfully record how high the waters get and the icon you see here is a historic record of the high water mark since 2000.

IMG_8736 We learnt the masks depict the mood of the people in Hoi An depending on the severity of the floods.  Small flood..Happy face.  Big flood….You get the idea.

Intrepid_ Vietnam-14 

2007 was obviously a bad year…(:IMG_8750

What a great icon to record the flood history but how amazing as well that they live in complete harmony with the river that runs through their town! 


Visiting this town really brought home to my why the Vietnamese community in Australia is so at home with flooding and why some of them are not at all interested in applying for the grants we offer to raise their houses.  Communities here have been living with flooding for generations and are at all fazed by a few metres of flood water!

As I walked along the town I could see the high water marks on the outside of buildings and we found more flood markers in the older houses in this city.  It appears to me that floods are almost celebrated here..and certainly there is no question about property values being reduced due to flooding.  The town floods…that is just a part of the life of this city and life goes on in complete harmony with the universe!


Wandering re-establishes the original harmony
which once existed between man and the universe.
-Anatole France

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