Just when you think you are getting to know the place, something jumps up and grabs you.
And so it is that on Thadeau Street just north of the Ecole Hoffet there is an ancient water tower that I rode by a thousand times.
Just to the right of that water tower is a long narrow bridge made out of iron with wooden planks. I discovered all this thanks to a very strange restaurant, but that is a different post.
The bridge spans a bit of agricultural land. Motorbikes going across it go thump! thump! thump! thump! thump! the whole way. The wooden planks shudder and shake. For some reason, your motorbike does not fall through the holes in the bridge.
On either side of the bridge as you are going across there are fields with people in pointy straw hats working in them. When you get to the other side, it is as though you have used a time machine to enter a different century.
Thump thump thump thump thump and you are in a land of long-houses and bamboo sliver walls and wells. It really is hard to believe that you are seconds away from a now-thriving (alas!) capital city.
On the island there are places to have a beer and places to eat. There are two old broken water towers that probably date back to the French that are now deep wells with pumps dangling in them.
I say it is an island, but in fact it only used to be an island. As part of the Korean can't-stop-progress rebuilding of the Mekong cornice and destruction of one of the most charming spots in South East Asia (the fools have actually set up sophisticated exercise equipment on the cornice!), someone thought it was a great idea to join the island to the mainland and so a few kilometers south of the bridge a landfill was created and you can reach the village from a wide road just across from the Indian Embassy.
Soon the beautiful old village will disappear as modern houses get built and the agricultural land gets swallowed up by the urban filth.
In these pictures you can see a way of life that is reminiscent of an earlier time, of another century. Better hurry over here to enjoy it while it lasts.