Friday, December 9 2016

VietNamNews

Fun in the sand

Update: July, 10/2016 - 09:00
Desert delights: A child sandboards. — VNS Photo Gia Lộc
Viet Nam News

There have always been hills made from sand in the Tuy Phong District of Bình Thuận Province.

However, in recent years when it has been so dry more of these hills, called sand dunes have come about.

The area is becoming like a desert.

Many people are having fun in the sand dunes, sliding down them on thin pieces of plastic.

By Gia Lộc

My native place has never lacked sunshine.

You could even say that it has had more of it than needed.

So it happens that Bình Thuận Province’s Tuy Phong District has extended dry periods and the highest speed of desertification.

While this can sound a bit sad, these weather conditions also set the stage for having a lot of fun when we were children, because they created big sand dunes. Imagine having your own “Sahara desert” in your backyard, which is what we called the dunes. As children we never saw the dunes as anything less than wonderful. And on the fringes of the dunes, poplar groves planted to stem the desertification onslaught made for great picnic sites.

For a long time, these dunes were one of the nation’s hidden charms, known only to locals.

Early in the morning, we got on our bicycles and took food and drinks to the dunes. Around noon, we ate the food and sang songs in the poplar groves, enjoying the cool breeze. All the stress of school and studies melted away here. When the sun stopped blazing, we ran to the highest sand dunes and held sliding races.

Cash cow

Now, the sand dunes have come into the public eye in a big way. As the sun and wind sculpt the dunes into different shapes and sizes, visitors and photographers capture the magic, which is further heightened by the 18 colours of the sand, now raw material for works of art.

Around 89,995 hectares in Bình Thuận, or 11.3 per cent of the south-central province’s total land area, has experienced desertification, mostly in the northeastern districts of Tuy Phong and Bắc Bình.

Frequent sand-storms blowing inland from the coast are creating more and more new sand dunes that can cover thousands of hectares and reach heights of forty to fifty metres.

The provincial authorities are trying to turn the disadvantage of desertification into a tourism advantage. Already, the sand dunes at Mũi Né, Fairy Stream and Bàu Trắng have become known tourism sites.

At the Mũi Né Flying Sand Dune, 22 kilometres north east of Phan Thiết City, sand-boarding, where visitors slide down on a thin sheet of plastic from the top of the dunes, has become a popular sport. The US “WondersList” ranks Mũi Né second among the top 11 sand boarding sites in the world.

A recent convert to the sport is my daughter, who has overcome initial fears and developed a passion for it. The Mũi Né Flying San Dune has become a must-go attraction whenever my family visits home on a holiday. Access to this site has become much easier now after the authorities asphalted a 26km long, 45-50m wide street along the dunes and the nearby beaches.

It makes me happy that my native place now boasts a picturesque landscape on either side of the street, with beaches, resorts and sand dunes.

Have some dông

I cannot describe my native place without mentioning its culinary specialties, the most special of which could be the dông, a kind of lizard that lives in holes dug into the sand dunes. Early in the morning, they come out for the dew and food, and in turn, take their place on the food chain. The dông’s meat is delicious and chewy. Several dishes are made with it.

For starters, it is minced, seasoned with onion, salt, pepper and chili, and mixed with vegetables to make a salad. It is also cooked with a type of melon, red melon, to make a soup. Grilled dông is special treat.

These dishes are not only delicious but also healthy, local residents assert. The increasing popularity of this meat has meant that more and more people catch them, and dông breeding farms have opened in Tuy Phong and Bắc Bình districts.

One man in Tuy Phong District told me that his family’s income has risen significantly after they opened a dông farm.

I am even happier now that my hometown has now become a great place to visit, not just for me and my family, but for thousands of people from all parts of the world. —VNS


 

GLOSSARY

My native place has never lacked sunshine.

Your native place is the place where you originally come from.

So it happens that Bình Thuận Province’s Tuy Phong District has extended dry periods and the highest speed of desertification.

Extended dry periods are long stretches of time when it is dry.

When desertification takes place, land that is not desert becomes desert.

While this can sound a bit sad, these weather conditions also set the stage for having a lot of fun when we were children, because they created big sand dunes.

Dunes are little or large hills made of sand.

And on the fringes of the dunes, poplar groves planted to stem the desertification onslaught made for great picnic sites.

The fringes are the edges.

Poplar groves are lines of poplar trees that have been planted.

For a long time, these dunes were one of the nation’s hidden charms, known only to locals.

Hidden charms, in this case, means something that is lovely that many people do not know about.

All the stress of school and studies melted away here.

Stress means pressure from things that take a lot of time and energy from you.

Now, the sand dunes have come into the public eye in a big way.

When things come into the public eye, people see them and get to know about them.

As the sun and wind sculpt the dunes into different shapes and sizes, visitors and photographers capture the magic, which is further heightened by the 18 colours of the sand, now raw material for works of art.

When the wind sculpts the dunes, it turns them into certain shapes.

The provincial authorities are trying to turn the disadvantage of desertification into a tourism advantage.

A disadvantage is something that stands in the way of success.

An advantage is something that helps make success more likely to happen.

A recent convert to the sport is my daughter, who has overcome initial fears and developed a passion for it.

Somebody who is a convert is a person who has been made to believe in something.

To overcome fears means to stop being afraid.

Initial means “at first”.

If you have a passion for something you love it so much you do not worry about how much time or money you spend doing it.

Access to this site has become much easier now after the authorities asphalted a 26km long, 45-50m wide street along the dunes and the nearby beaches.

Access to a place means being able to reach it.

If a street is asphalted, it is paved.

It makes me happy that my native place now boasts a picturesque landscape on either side of the street, with beaches, resorts and sand dunes.

Picturesque landscape is pretty countryside.

I cannot describe my native place without mentioning its culinary specialties, the most special of which could be the dông, a kind of lizard that lives in holes dug into the sand dunes.

Culinary specialities are foods that are special to a certain place.

For starters, it is minced, seasoned with onion salt, pepper and chili, and mixed with vegetables to make a salad.

When food is seasoned it has things like salt, pepper, herbs and spices added to it.

These dishes are not only delicious but also healthy, local residents assert.

To assert means to declare.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. The hill made of sand.
  2. A type of lizard that can be eaten.
  3. A desert in Africa.
  4. A meal outdoors, especially under the poplar groves.
  5. Something used as seasoning.

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Dune; 2. Dong; 3. Sahara; 4. Picnic; 5. Chili.

 

 

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