Meandering along the Mekong Delta
Trip Start Mar 14, 2009
214Trip End Ongoing
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Why did we agree to this ungodly hour? We asked ourselves in the pre dawn, while struggling to get out of bed.
Our Boat Lady met us at the door of our hostel and guided us along the streets with vendors already setting up for their market stalls. Along the way she asked if we were hungry, it was to early for food so instead she handed each of us a hot beverage followed by a bag, for later she told us. Upon inspection we found breakfast our usual Vietnamese sandwich, as well as lots of fresh fruit. With that she shuttled us onto our little boat for the day, flipped the out board motor over the side and away we went.
Even at this time of the morning the river was in full swing. We made surprisingly quick progress along the river passing small villages, factory, restaurants, et cetera before we hit the floating markets. Our Boat Lady switched off the engine and our boat went into manual mode, our Lady used two large oars to slowly manoeuvre us into the heart of the action.
We were expecting chaos and colour, what we got was nothing like it. These markets were all on large boats that advertised their wares on the top of a bamboo pole at the stern of their vessels. It didn't take long for Dino to join in on the action of the market. He soon hailed over a coffee boat and started the haggle. He ended up with his favorite white coffee in one hand and somehow with some fried rice paper in the other.
From there we headed further up stream to another larger floating market. It was pretty much the same as the first market but on a much larger scale with barely any tourists. After having a quick look around our Boat Lady took us off the main river and into the back water canals, which feed the Mekong.
We were the only tourists on the backwaters, but there was plenty of life amongst the locals, transporting there goods, bathing, washing and gardening. We hoped on and off the little boat to walk amongst the banana trees. We were fascinated by some locals making make rice paper and noodles. We soon saw something that stirred our curiosity, frozen ice blocks, well okay it was kind of a cross between ice cream and frozen yoghurt but better then either. It was light and refreshing, just perfect for the heat and humidity of Vietnam. This is how we spent the next couple of hours and made our day so special. A life floating on the Delta is one we could really get used to.
We soon found ourselves back on our little boat heading back to town, our little Mekong delta trip was over.
Arriving in town we raced to our hostel, packed up our bags and unwillingly onto the back of some motos. We were dropped off at the bus station and then crammed into a minivan. Our minivan driver must have been behind schedule as he raced along the road more often than not on the other side of the road, overtaking in impossible places at break neck speed. Dino not once but twice saw his life flash before his eyes and it was with great relief when we finally arrived in Chau Doc.
We checked into our hostel and booked our tickets to Cambodia for the next morning. With only an evening to spend in Chau Doc we headed straight out to see the sights, well considering there really isn't anything to see we ended up just wandering around. For light entertainment we were hassled for 30 minutes by a tuk tuk driver just dying to take us somewhere anywhere. We declined and retired back to our little ramshackle hostel.