Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

So long since I have written, lots to catch up on. When we left the internet cafe and Len was paying the young girls was all giddy and we knew, she just giggled at his beard. The men over here pluck their facial hair, most do not shave and have very little if any facial hairs at any given time. So Len took her hand and asked if she would like to feel it, and she did, all giggly. I think he made her day. We went looking for a restaurant to eat, but all we found were street vendors. Spotted a large store and went in. I found a Maybelene cosmetic counter and asked for L'Oreal and she pointed to a huge counter, but none of my moisturizing cream, everything but.

Bought some cheese, onions and yogurt for dinner, peanuts for dessert and picked up some bread on the street. We had a package of soup mix, a company was giving out, to all getting on the ferry, so I got some boiling water from the hotel kitchen and we had soup and sandwiches for supper. The room wasn't the greatest, but we made it through the night.

Next day we had breakfast at the hotel, but mostly Vietnamese food, we did have the rice porridge and bread to drink it was wattered down tang. We thought with all the fresh fruits it would have been fresh orange juice or atleast more fruit than just bananas.

On the bus to pick up the other half of the group, they said their hotel was basic but they had omlets for breakfast!

The town is very beautiful with lots of flowers and fancy displays in the centre of the traffic circles. The trees and hedges are trimed in cone or square shapes. It appreared a bit cleaner than some cities we had experienced.

We arrived at the boats. We had two for our group, the boats had these enormous motors with a long shaft to the propellar, I guess that is so they can run along the surface or go deep when needed. We went to the floating market, where big boats full of supplies and produce were loading their products into smaller local boats to take the goods up the small and narrow chanels to other house boats or homes along the tributaries. The big boats had bamboo poles with all the fruits and veggies they sold tied to the pole advertising what they had. Watched a dog take a dump on the pineapple pile of one boat!

Then we went for miles down a small river going by farms, more house boats, or homes along the river banks. The children would all run out to wave at us, and after awhile we were beginning to feel like royality with all the waving, or Len said, maybe they have a game - "how many tourists can you get to wave?"

Amazing the homes some were living in. Lots had 2 and mostly more children in the families, always a pet dog or cat or more.

Lots of banana trees along the rivers edge. Next we stopped at a fruit farm. We got our first pictures of a beautiful lotus flower in full bloom, then onto see jack fruits, papya, mangos, bananas and apple pears. We then sat down to taste the fruit, but no apple pears as they were not ripe yet. The jack fruit was an interesting taste, but not more than two pieces.

We then met our bus and went into Long Xuyen for lunch. We sat with a couple who live 500 kms just south of Paris. Alain and Francoise, she spoke excellent English, but her husband I think understood, but did not want to speak English. They have invited us to visit them when we go through France. Back on the bus and now to get on a boat to Chau Doc. Oops, just realized that is what I called yeasterday and it should have been Can Tho. I am sure no one will notice.

By the time we arrive at the hotel it is now 7 p.m. and it is even more unpleasant than last night. We tried to change room, but we looked in the tub and there was rusty stuff coming out of the tap so we decided to stick where we were. Put baby powder on the bed to make it smell sweeter, no luck.

Off we go to dinner with the guide leading us. Down this back alley and we end up going throgh garbage. I call to him and say are you sure we are going the right way as we are just walking through garbage. He says it is o.k. and they will clean it up tonight and tomorrow the market will be here again. We have diner with a couple from Estonia who are on the tour. It was an enjoyable meal (except for the plant like cilantro they use and put in their dishes - Cilantro doesn't like me) and we enjoyed the couple's company.

After we finished we decided to walk back a different way, maybe better than the way we came. Wrong. It was the street the permanent market is on. The smell was sour, I gagged several times and could not walk fast enough to get out of there.

Once on the street I was much better and so was the air. We stopped in at a store for 2 Snicker bars. When we left someone made a comment and the people laughed. Len turned and asked what did they say. The man said they were speaking about Len's beard. Again, Len asked if they would like to feel it and they all did, most of the guys I would say were in their late teens or early 20ies, maybe even older and also the young girl who was watching all of this, she giggled. They mustn't see many with beards outside of Saigon.
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