Mekong You Long Time

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
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110
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Trip End Aug 30, 2010


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, January 28, 2010

My US passport expired on the day we crossed into Vietnam, and with it the good luck that good travel luck that had followed me more or less consistently since my initial motorcycle breakdown.

Vietnam kinda started off on the wrong foot, starting with Yasmin's iPhone being stolen out of her bag on our first busride on day 1.  Plus we suspect she might have been fed pork in her fried rice in spite of my drawing a wonderful illustration of a pig with an X through it to indicate that it their mean was verboten.

The next day, Thurs, in Can Tho, we took a long river boat ride through the backwater tributaries off the Mekong.  It was a bit pricey, and given the long boat in from Pnom Penh the prospect of another 8 hours on a boat was a bit of a risk, but it proved to be alright.  The floating markets weren't really all they were built up to be - although in all fairness it was pretty cool to be served breakky on and from a boat - but the best part was definitely the monkey bridge.  God I hope to come back as a (non-cappuchin) monkey next time around <link: You.  You're not quite sure how the thing holds together, but it's sturdy enough to hang off of and swing about and such (hopefully it won't collapse on the next dude who comes across it.

Our guide didn't really speak much English, but she had this nifty knack for weaving stuff out of palm fronds.  She'd just stop the boat on occassion to cut them down, then a few minutes later she'd hand us a pinwheel.  Then a few minutes later a bracelet.  I don't even know how to describe the craziest contraption she made, it looked like a cross between a Christmas tree and a lolipop.  The craziest thing about it was that she would weave while operating the boat with her knees.

Fri we hit the Vin Long, where we hopped the ferry to the small island across the way for what was billed as a homestay but was really just another family-owned guesthouse with bungalows: we were expecting to be staying with in a real local home, eating dinner with the family and all that.  While we did have a nice bicycle ride around the island, especially the extremely bumpy and narrow dirt paths that threatened to drop you into mudpits if you wobbled even in the slightest, it was overall a bit of a letdown given how much people had built up the whole Mekong Delta experience.

Add to it all the searing, dry heat so far south and we were gasping for the air conditioning of the bus terminal to shunt ourselves over post haste to Saigon...

-Dave

PS: for some reason, all the places we've been staying at maintain the practice of tiling a soft pornographic photo onto the bathroom wall (along with, on one occasion, a completely non-porn Virgin Mary right next to it).  Kinda unsettling when you're trying to use the facilities in the manner they were meant for...

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