When Eric(a) eats a banana.......she becomes.....

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Le Le Guest House

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, June 14, 2010

I woke early, very early, to traffic noise and announcements over the town tanoy system, it was about 5:40, so I decided to read the blog done last night. Erica was also awoken by the noise so we were packed and ready to go at 6am.  A quick breako of rice and coffee for me and Erica had bread and Jam. We got on the bus at 7am and left to get to the port.  We arrived and quickly embarked on a 3 hour boat ride down the delta to a floating market.  Much better than the first one with lots of trading going on and all kinds of things available, including fast food, haircuts as well as the usual tropical fruits and rice.

We then headed down in to the subsidiaries of the main Mekong and soon found ourselves spending about 2 hours plodding through tiny little streams with everyday life happening all around us, lots of excited children who a bit like in East is East you can imagine the children screaming "quick quick the white people are here" and they all come sprinting out to wave and shout and somersault into the water next to the boat.  The people here and in particular the children are just fantastic.

Our first stop was a rice mill.  I know, strange.  We were given a guided tour of the place and the different types of rice grains were explained to us.  There was a very strange man there who had the most ominous looking expressions.  At one point he pointed at Erica then me and made the gesture of a telescope - clearly it was a total looking show.

We then went to an orchard which farms all manner of tropical fruits and flowers.  Lots of funny bridges built out of a single log (I'm sure everyone has heard the tale of Erica crossing streams on single beams down in Cornwall), however today passed incident free.  We wandered through the orchard with the guide explaining different fruits to us and which part of the fruit are used for what, then we came to a section where absolutely everything on the trees were covered in plastic bags, I mean every single fruit, to avoid the use of pesticides, wonderful.  This culminated in a free tasting of Jack Fruit, Mango, Baby Banana, Papaya, Pineapple etc.  We then headed back to catch another bus to head toward a market in the town of Vinh Long. 

 Well Vinh Long has been a place we were supposed to stay at least a day at, although there is not much to see here...... except you can ride Ostrich’s, yes actually get on its back and let it loose.  Unfortunately we are quickly realising that we are on a very tight timescale as we now only have about 3.5 weeks before we fly out of Cambodia.  Yes yesterday we were about 5 miles from the border but we have to travel North up Vietnam then across to Laos before coming back South to Cambodia.  

After a quick bit of haggling at 3 or 4 stalls I managed to pick up another second hand t-shirt for less than a quid (although it has a bit of ink staining on it, its almost a Ralph Lauren so it must be worth that).  I expected the woman selling the shorts that I wanted to chase after me after we couldnt agree on a price less than a pound, she wasn’t for budging and she wasn’t for chasing after me, so I still only have two pairs of shorts.  Any normal human being would need to wash these ever two days but I am getting a week and a half out of each pair before washing and with no underpants needed under my shorts they kind of smell a bit fruity.

Erica Edit: To say the least.

We then began our journey back to Saigon through the monsoon rain.  Its something I don’t think we have mentioned but for about 1 hour each day it is absolutely chucking it down.  Its nice and it feels a lot less humid after the rain.

Oh yes we also stopped for a loo break on the way back to Saigon where we found some bargain basement ice creams (about 10p each if you are interested) however we both got yellow ones (no idea of flavour) that tasted initially of fish, then strongly of garlic followed finally by the strongest taste of the boiled egg yolk you could imagine, we both nearly puked and the burps have been repeating. I feel ill.

Erica edit:  We had to get value though so we couldnt just throw it away.  Maybe not such a good idea I knew I should have had a cornetto.

We are wanting to leave Saigon as time is of the essence and we are now thinking about missing out the mountain town of Da Lat and trying to get up half way in Vietnam to Hue and Hoi An to spend a few days before heading up North.  I think we are going to have to start rushing around Asia a bit more now as currently our flight from Singapore to Australia is due to leave in about 5 weeks and we still have about 7 countries left that we want to visit.  So as I sit on the bus we have no idea if tonight we are getting on a bus, a train, staying in another budget hotel or what.

We still haven’t actually got lost anywhere yet, not in the sense of not knowing where we are, but where we simply disappear and just don’t move for a few weeks to throw any remaining plan we have into pure abandonment.

Well I suppose this concludes our trip into the Mekong Delta, the Mekong is the 12th Longest River in the world but contains more species per km2 than the Amazon (another amazing and boring fact from Wikipedia).  Traditionally the people here have always been very poor however the fertility of this place makes Vietnam the second highest rice producing nation in the world and possibly the human growth capital as we have been told the average family has about 10 children (it was suggested because until a few years ago there has been no electricity).  We have thoroughly enjoyed the contrast to Saigon as the pace of life here is much slower and much, much, more basic. Vietnam continues to throw up beautiful surprises and long may it continue.  So far another fantastic country of South East Asia.

Well we decided to stay in Saigon, and we are getting a bus to Nha Trang tomorrow for a one day stop over before heading onwards up North. We bargained a travel agent to let us stay in his room for 10 USD a saving of 33%! Anyway not much to report other than we know where we are going and we need to get a move on. Oh yes and our room is full of Gecko’s but Erica is asleep already so its 5 USD saved well. It is also larging it on the rain front tonight. About a 9 hour bus journey tomorrow followed by a 9 hour overnight journey the next day. Fabulous.
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