Foreign Tourists Clean Up Trash After the Storm in Hoi An
A special form of tourism
Although the super storm No. 4 has passed, due to the influence of heavy rain lasting from the night of September 27 to the morning of September 28, flood water from upstream has poured everywhere, causing the water level on the Hoai River to rise. Many roads in the ancient town of Hoi An (Quang Nam) such as Nguyen Thai Hoc, Bach Dang, and Tran Phu have been flooded.
In the pedestrian area in front of the Cau Pagoda, the water rose nearly 1m above the road surface. In many parts of the old town, people have to travel by boat.
Along the Hoai River, there are many low-lying roads, the river water rises causing flooding more than 1m deep. The area of the wooden bridge connecting Cong Nu Ngoc Hoa street (on the left) with the Bach Dang - Nguyen Thai Hoc junction (in front of the Bridge pagoda) is completely obscured by the rising river, which is very dangerous for people. They can't wade because they risk falling into the fast-flowing river.
To ensure the safety of the people, tourists, and means of transport, the authorities and the police force of Hoi An City were on duty very early to organize instructions, divide the channel, and put up warning signs that read "Flooded areas, dangerous for people and vehicles”.
However, the high water level of the Thu Bon River and flooded riverside streets have unintentionally created a tourist experience during the flood season only in Hoi An. Especially, foreign tourists are very excited when they get to wade in flood water, ride bicycles up to half a wheel, or row boats along flooded roads to see the street.
Despite the red warning sign "Flooded area, dangerous forbidding people and vehicles", many foreign tourists still carefree cycling along the Hoai River.
When asked, Mr. Le Van C (32 years old, living in Minh An ward, Hoi An city) said: In the rainy season, everyone in Hoi An can wade on the street. This attracts tourists, especially Westerners. Thanks to this activity, people living by rowing boats on the Hoai River during the flood season have more income. With boat rental from USD 6.31- USD 8.41 per turn for 3-4 visitors. On average, a day of flooding helps boat owners earn thousands of dollars.
Similar to Le Van C, Mr. Bay (63 years old) continuously rowed a boat to carry passengers from 9:00 a.m on September 28 to 16:00 p.m on the same day. There were 2 groups of Westerners waiting for their turn to board Ong Bay's boat to cross the flooded roads along the Hoai River in less than 20 minutes/turn.
Bay said: “I just rowed close to the road to carry passengers. I don't take the boat out too far, or in the middle of a fast-flowing river, I'm afraid." He also said that he has been living for decades by carrying passengers by boat on the Hoai River. He has a lot of experience with fast, shallow, and deep water, so he doesn't let visitors have any problems.
Traveling to Hoi An, experiencing the feeling of wading and watching the old town sink in the flood season is also a strange thing that attracts tourists, especially foreign tourists.
However, according to the Hoi An city government, it is illegal for people to voluntarily open a boating service or rent a bicycle to wade through floodwaters because it is necessary to ensure the safety of human life. The fact that the owners of boats and ships arbitrarily leased to foreigners, waded through floodwaters in recent times has been repeated, which is very dangerous and does not ensure traffic safety in waterways. But because of the needs of tourists and because of greed, many boat owners and cruise ships still defy the regulations.
Among the foreign tourists wading in Hoi An, not everyone is doing it just for fun. A group of foreign tourists is busy cleaning up trash and clearing the flood that is flowing through a bridge across the Hoai River (a tributary flowing in the heart of Hoi An ancient town).
After Typhoon Noru made landfall directly in Hoi An city, trees fell and many places were devastated. The garbage from all over the floodwater overflowed into the city center and got stuck on the bridge walls.
Faced with this scene, a group of foreign tourists were not afraid of the strong flood water, they quickly worked together to clean up the garbage and purify the flowing water in the heart of the old town.
Max Devlieger (from Belgium) shared: "We went to the North, then we planned to visit the Central and the South, but got hit by a storm. Vietnam is a beautiful country, the people are very kind, so we want to contribute a little effort to make the city beautiful again. This is the first time we've been hit by such a big storm. I live in Belgium, where we don't have hurricanes or anything like that. We want to help the people of Vietnam weather this storm."
Max Devlieger's group has more than 5 members all from Belgium. Their garbage removal activity was not planned in advance but stemmed from the fact that the group was on a journey to explore the Central region but got stuck in Hoi An because of Typhoon Noru.
Thijes Renso, another member, excitedly said: "We want to help a little bit to clean up so that the city can be greener. This storm is probably the biggest storm we have ever known. I hope no one is injured or killed."
Currently, the flood water level in Hoi An is still rising, it is expected that in the next few days, this place will continue to be flooded. Many tourists are also not afraid to experience the feeling of sailing to visit Hoi An during the flood season.
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