Saturday, February 7, 2009

Trip to Bat Trang

Bat Trang is an ancient ceramic village in Gia Lam. It is very very famous for its ceramic products and it has become a tourist attraction in Hanoi. However, today is the first time I have been there (although it is not very far from my own village).

I set off at 8.10 am and it took me about half an hour to ride there. The weather was not as good as I expected: a bit cold and cloudy. But it was still good enough. The road to the village is on the surface of the dike on the bank of the Red River. It is narrow, winding and in a bad condition. I went past a village where a lot of guava trees are grown. On the way back, I bought a kilo of guavas.

I got to Bat Trang quite early when the people here started their new business day. After leaving the motorbike in the park at the entrance, I went to a cafe, had one cup of white coffee and didn't forget to buy a bottle of mineral water in case I was thirsty while walking along the main road of the village.

It was obvious that all the people here lived with ceramic products. Every house and flat on the two sides of the road has become shops and workshops, selling and producing ceramics. The market was about 1 km far from the entrance, so I had to walk quite a lot. But it was wonderful to walk in the art atmosphere. On the way, I visited some workshops where the owners invited me to try to make a ceramic product. I had no time and in fact I am not good at arts.

The market was divided into some sections. I started with section A, of course. It was a small market. All the kiosks sold similar things and the prices were reasonable. The products were various. I did not buy many things, just went 'windowshopping'. Actually, I got two things: a mug and a bracelet. The mug was nice with the football team name on it: Manchester United, the club I like. The bracelet was made of some ceramic pieces, each piece had a letter on it. I chose 9 pieces which formed my name: Minh Quyen. The shop assistant said that the bracelet was durable and the color wouldn't fade. I hope so.

I left the market and the village around noon. In general, I had a good time there.

On the way home, I bought some guavas. The seller was an old woman. She was with her husband, an old man. They were about 70 years old. But they acted as they were young couple. I heard the woman call her husband 'anh'. At this age, the couple often call each other 'ong' and 'ba'. So lovely. They must be living very very happily.