So, when I last left you, Marta and I had just completed our cooking class and were preparing for the rest of our day. This would involve a visit to a rubber tree forest, a traditional village making rice paper and the Cu Chi tunnels. Our first stop, our wonderful guide told us, was to be the traditional village. One quick bus ride later (I think Marta and I fell into food comas as neither of us remember this part of the trip), and we were told the plans had changed slightly. We would be beginning with the rubber tree forest.
We got out of the bus and crossed a quiet country road (a nice, if not weird, change from Ho Chi Minh City) and were stood on the edge of a large looking forest. Each tree had blue ribbons tied around the trunk
Each tree was covered in claw-like gashes and our guide explained they were cut to harvest the sap. The sap would leak from the cuts into a spile and then into a small bowl, made specially for collecting it. Our guide warned us that we could not go in too far as this was private land, owned by the government, but they allowed visitors around the outskirts. Our guide also insisted that Marta and I take a picture together. I am glad she did, as this was one of our only photo together for the whole trip.
After the picture was taken, we were told that we could go to the traditional village. This was actually a small hut across the street, but was one of the best parts of the whole trip. Outside was a traditional machine for sifting the rice. Stepping inside the hut, we saw a woman sat on a little stool. She had some watery batter in a little bucket and was next to an old-fashioned steamer. Scooping up the batter with a small ladle, she would spread it evenly over the hot surface of the steamer, cover it with a wicker lid and then, about twenty seconds later, would effortlessly roll it onto a drying rack. Marta and I tried, with no where near as much success as the woman and it makes you realise just how talented she is to not only do it but make it seem so easy too.
After finishing up here, it was time to go off to the Cu Chi tunnels. But that tale will have to wait until tomorrow, dear readers.