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Trip Start Jan 22, 2007
75Trip End Ongoing
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Compared to China we expected the language to be easier since it is written in a "latinised" alphabet and was invented by a French missionary back in the 18th Century
The Mekong Delta is a series of islands something like an archipelago where the river runs out to the sea. It's full of lush greenery, fruits and rice, in fact it produces enough rice in its three harvests to export to countries like China. The fruit is cheap, you can get 1kg oranges or 2kg watermelon for 50 cents/Euro, however for meals you have to hunt around since they are into exploiting the tourists by artificially inflating the prices or pricing in dollars. Prices in foreign currencies should be banned, if you don't print it then you shouldn't use it.
We fitted in My Tho (the gateway to the Delta) with the Viets our visit took in the river, several islands, rowing on canals, fruit, honey, bannana wine and sweet tasting. The most amusing island holds the "coconut monk" temple, a normal guy until his 50s when he ate coconuts for 3 years, took nine wives and converted 200 monks
Further down the Delta in Vinh Long we met a Belgium guy, Didier, who we accompanied to Tra Vihn, he was as fanatical as any asian with his photo taking, snapping every person we passed during the day. He could also be quite handy communicating by gesture, imagine the sign for drinking followed by pointing at your transport - it means petrol required :) We visitied one or two temples of Khmer structure here and chatted to the monks for a while, they told us how their religion is the same as in Thailand and it seems the architecture is similar too.
On our way to Chau Doc we had to put up with a sweaty bus, fermenting fish until finally the odours gave way to roasting coffee. There is a fairly substantial Cham community on the river here, they've built several mosques to worship in and appeared really friendly. The women wear flowery dress and the men sarongs, kind of Malay or Indonesian. A number of floating houses are peppered along the waterside, in theory they don't float away, however it's unlikely that they could withstand a real storm. At some 200m elevation Sam mountain (more of a hill) offers views of the rice fields and perhaps, on a clear day, Cambodia (4hrs by boat), the land is really flat which reminds one of Australia.