And our trip down the Mekong begins!
Trip Start Jul 31, 2007
44Trip End Dec 15, 2007
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Originally, our plan was to travel on the Mekong independently, finding boats an buses along the way, but with a little convincing from David I finally agreed to take an organized trip (which turned out to be a bit cheaper than doing it on our own anyways).
We met our tour group early in the morning in Ho Chi Mihn City and took a bus to our first stop, My Tho. We hopped on a small boat and were taken on a trip for the view of the islands and docking on Coconut or Phoenix Island. There we sampled honey tea, banana wine (not my favorite!), and dried fruit at the honey bee farm, walked over to a handmade coconut candy shack and watched them make candy and got to sample some, and stopped by a fruit orchard to have plates of fresh fruit
Little did we know that was just the beginning of the flooding! After our island hopping in My Tho we caught a bus, taking us to a boat to Can Tho. When the bus arrived at the spot we were supposed to meet our boat at, our guide did not look so happy. The entire area around us was flooded, in houses people walked with water up past their ankles and in the front yards children were splashing and swimming in what were normally very shallow canals. After phone calls and talks with locals our guide appologized and told us we were simply going to have to roll up our pants and wade to the boat, which was 2 rows of flooded houses away from us. Luckily David and I have backpacks, many others had to carry their suitcases, all of us walking with muddy water up to our knees. It certainly felt like an adventure, and this was on a tour! I was certainly glad we weren't traveling independently then!
We arrived in Can Tho to find it was also flooded
The next day was mostly spent on boat rides around Can Tho. We saw the famous huge floating produce market. All business in conducted on boats, with long bamboo poles coming from each boat hanging an example of whatever produce is sold on the boat (for example the pineapple boats hung one pineapple from their pole). I couldn't imagine buying all my produce like that, but it's how people who live along the river do almost all of their shopping! We also visited a rice noodle factory in a sleepy little town and had time to wander around the village. We met lots of friendly children, eager to greet us along our way, and saw locations that really felt untouched by tourism.
(More on the Mekong trip later)