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[Photos] A Visual Excursion to Past Bac Lieu, Home of Cải Lương Master Cao Van Lau

Tucked just below the Mekong's main aquiferous arteries, Bac Lieu Province serves as an interesting case study of how humans can thrive in swampy, steamy surroundings.

These photos, maps and postcards of the province that were taken from 1896 to 1930 depict daily life in the province's capital, Bac Lieu City, and surrounding areas. Before modern roads and bridges, people traversed the region via streams, canals and rivers, as exemplified by waterways clogged with traditional wooden boats and bustling ports. The area's rich soil makes it ideal for rice growing and a few factory photos show how its cultivation adapted to industrialization.

The different groups of people and governments that swept through modern-day Bac Lieu left some interesting relics. Khmer script on a building reveals that ethnicity's historic presence in the area. In later years it became a popular area for rich debauchees who lived in lavish Western-style vacation homes. During both World War II and the American War, foreign soldiers were active in the area and can be seen interacting with locals in a couple of shots.

Take a look at this unique and often-ignored corner of southern Vietnam in the decade-spanning photographs below:

[Photos via Flickr user manhhai]


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