(Day 322 - 324)
09.10.2010 - 11.10.2010 38 °C
Steph and I really wanted to stay off the tourist path in the Delta and as mentioned in a previous post, we changed our plans at the last minute to take a tour instead from Saigon. This was a 2 day-1 night trip departing from the city. Even though the tours are much easier than battling on your own in there, and really cheap (we managed to bargain ours down to $18 per person for 2 days, transport included and some meals.), we were sorry not to be able to have done this alone as it was very very very touristy (as we had expected). The places we went to were My Tho, Ben Tre and Can Tho
The Mekong River splits into a labyrinth of channels & islands and for some the only transportation possible is by boat. Life centres on the river here. Large boats are used to transport wood and soil/sand, medium-sized ones are for deliveries and then there are the smaller ones for people to get around. There are even floating petrol stations in the middle of the river.
During our trip we visited: A coconut candy-making shop where they also had rice and snake alcohols (we did lots of sampling of candy there – yum), a honey-making shop (where we only got to sample it in tea, no visit to the actual honey farm), we had the opportunity to also take rusty bicycles and explore one of the villages nearby which was nothing memorable. After lunch we were made to sit down and watch some Vietnamese folk singing, which really was not nice at all, the singers just looked like they wanted to get out of there ASAP and bored of performing to each group that comes along. (Martin also got to get a snake wrapped around his shoulders!)
After this awkward 20min, we were taken back to our boats on smaller little wooden ones through the mangroves and water-coconut plantations. This was quite nice, except for the pouring rain for part. I would say this was the nicest part of the day
By the time we got back to Can Tho and headed out for dinner, the roads were flooded with all the rain and rising river-water which added a sort of eerie feel to the town.
The next morning was the most anticipated visit to Can Tho’s floating market. Martin and I split from the group and left at sunrise, hoping to get some better shots and a more peaceful experience. It was definitely better at 5h30 than at 7h30 when we were leaving and the tourist boats were all arriving. Can Tho’s floating market consists of many medium-sized boats anchored along the bank, each hanging their product at the end of a long pole so you know where to go for each product. Smaller boats then zigzag amongst them and complete their shopping. Some for personal use, some for their restaurants and many buying in bulk for resale on land. We were happy to be the only tourists there during that time.
We caught up with our group again for lunch where Martin sampled snake with noodles that one of the Aussie guys had ordered. I ate my non-reptilian food in silence with my back to the snake-tank. This wasn’t the worse, they also had rat on the menu, no jokes.
That night we returned to Ho Chi Minh slightly disappointed but better a touristy tour in the Mekong Delta then none. In any case we had more pressing matters to handle as we arrived to more flooded roads in the city, this time the water in the streets was mid-calf high and it was quite disgusting seeing garbage, cockroaches and the likes floating around us! We did at least 3 rounds of soap-rinse, soap-rinse when we got back, Steph would have used pure Dettol if she had any!