Towards Can Tho and Back to Saigon
Trip Start May 04, 2004
13Trip End May 20, 2004
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Leaving the brick factory we headed for land and a car to drive us closer to Can Tho and the floating market. The air conditioning was wonderful for the hour and a half ride. On our way, we took a ferry across the river. Countless touts surrounded the car selling drinks, fruit, and lottery tickets. The lottery seems quite popular here. The drinks were tempting, but we opted to keep the windows up and thus avoid encouraging the sellers. The ferry left the dock so smoothly that we didn't even realize we were moving until we docked and were getting off.
From the ferry, we drove to Can Tho and boarded a boat for the floating market. I'm sure the market is more busy in the early morning, but there was still plenty of action when we got there around ten, much more interesting than the Bangkok floating market, in my opinion. Boats, big boats, too, navigated up to close to each other and traded goods. Vegetables were tossed out windows as people haggled back and forth. The large boats had what looked like bamboo stalks running up in the air tied to which were all the vegetables they were selling or trading. I don't really know how much of each was going on. Some boats sold only onions, for example, while others sold a whole plethora of vegetables. There were also some boats trading in meat, but they were the minority.
Leaving the market, we continued up the river through various small canals lined with water coconuts, a plant I had never heard of or seen before. They were like just the top of a coconut tree sticking out of the water. I assume they sprout coconuts, but I'm not really sure.
Continuing up the canals, we got to a point where they were constructing a bridge and the boat couldn't get around so we had to get off. I assumed we'd just walk around the construction and get in another boat. Wrong. We were going to put in at a completely different place with a completely different driver. It was a twenty minute walk away and yesterday being the first day it's been sunny, it was hot. My skin slowly changed from pale white to bright red, the sunscreen having been, regrettably, left in the car.
We stopped momentarily at the "Tourist Resort Fruit Garden." Offer the visitors fruit you've picked off local trees and coerce them into buying refreshing western soft drinks. Fine. We eventually made it to the new boat and putted around canals some more. We saw some locals carrying a live pig out of a boat. Amazing that they kept their balance, and my wasn't the pig making a racket. Shortly, we returned to Can Tho and went to a restaurant in town for lunch, stopping to admire a shiny statue of Uncle Ho on the way. He's everywhere, along with posters promoting the latest five year plan (2004-2009) and informing the population about AIDS and the perils of over-population. Vietnam is home to about 80 million people and everyone we talk to approves of my parent's having two children. Two children they say is just the right amount, three is too many. A stark contrast to many other developing countries.
After lunch we began the four hour drive back to Saigon. Made a short stop along the way at another bonsai garden (no alcohol this time) We watched some very cute spidery monkeys frolic about and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere. Took a group shot of Nhan, Quan, and myself, too.