Picture post from Tam Coc, Ninh Binh Province Vietnam taken January 2015
The second in a 4 part post, this one The Block Maker & The House Builder, in and around around Tam Coc in the Ninh Binh province of northern Vietnam. Often described as Ha-long Bay on land, in fact most of the limestone karsts rise up out crystal clear waters of the small local lakes and a meandering 2 kilometer stretch of the Ngo Dong river. I have spent 3 nights on a Halong Bay tour in 2013 and this was a very different experience but both worthwhile for different reasons. At the time of year we visited the the air hangs in a misty eerie adding to its magical ambiance. The town of Ninh Binh itself is of no great interest with little to see or do so recommend you do as we did and stay in a shack by the side of one of the limestone karsts overlooking a small lake, magical. Nguyen Shack run by a Canadian and his Vietnamese wife its a wonderful place to stay.
click this link for their homepage Nguyen Shack
The Block Maker
This is hard heavy and hot work and these women will put in 12 hours shifts starting early morning and working 6, sometimes seven days a week, but in comparison to other forms of work it is outdoors and being very well paid allows them to provide a good living for their families.
One of the block makers pictured in front of the drying stack of previously molded block
The pulverized block and soil mix create a monotone and surreal landscape.
The block making is carried out by the 2 women pictured. Here the woman in foreground takes a filled block mold to the stack for drying
The block works factory at the foot of a limestone outcrop. The location of the block making factory sits on land that was once the base of a Limestone outcrop now pulverized and turned into block.
The House Builder
A house built of brick and bamboo. In the background a house being constructed of poured reinforced concrete. This one in the background is also more expensive to build than the block built in foreground which is constructed using locally manufactured blocks. The problem, many of the Limestone Karst are simply being blown up and torn down in order to make powder for block making. Unfortunately this is not sustainable as there is a finite number of Limestone Karst and the blocks produced will only last for 15 years. An environmental travesty.
Husband and wife building their house as a team.
This post its contents and pictures is the copyrighted property of David Keegan 2015 ©
All pictures taken large format 320 DPI Picture quality is reduced to preserve copyrights.