Day 184 – Nón lá

LGV184 2015-03-07 vietnam hoi an thu bon river boat smallSong Thu Bòn, Vietnam

A river runs through Hoi An, the Thu Bòn. It’s not a long river, starting the mountains 30 or 40 km away, but by the time it dumps into the South China Sea, it is wide and braided. It creates a myriad of nooks and crannies, routes that locals use for transportation and livelihood. Fish farming is a big thing here.

The typical Asian “coolie hats” are everywhere. In Vietnamese, they’re called Nón lá, and like most simple things, they are a marvel of engineering and practicality, perfectly suited to the environments you find them. Soak them in water, and they provide evapourative air conditioning.

I’d love to bring one home, but there’s no way it would survive another three and a half months of travel to Europe before we get home.

Nota Bene: Yerp, the term “coolie” is a pejorative. There’s a good history of the etymology of the word on NPR’s Code Switch site.

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