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Hunting for the Black Silk of Tan Chau

Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell continue their adventures in Vietnam, where they've been exploring villages on their own, without guides, away from the tourist spots. They'd heard that Tan Chau was where Vietnamese black silk was produced, so they set out with a map and their motorcycles -after  three ferry trips across the river.   

Properly motorized, we headed off in search of silk, stopping in a few towns where, to judge by the dumbfounded stares we received, foreigners are not an everyday occurrence. And nobody could help us. In fact, the famous black silk of Tan Chau didn’t seem to be all that famous in Tan Chau. Scouring the map, we decided to head to Long Chau, which looked like the region’s largest town. It was also the furthest away; if we struck out here, we agreed to give up.

Pressed right up along the river, Long Chau was cute, but we weren’t here to see the sights, dammit. We directed ourselves to the town’s central market, to look for silk vendors. If anyone knew where to find a silk manufacturing center, surely they. The owners of the first silk store were friendly but weirdly insistent we go to “Tân Châu Xứ Lụa”, which Google identified as a restaurant. “No, you must misunderstand us. But thanks anyway!”

But they eventually found a silk factory, and got some really neat pictures and video, which you can see at For 91 Days.  


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