July 1st-My Tho, Ben Tre & Can Tho
This blog will be more visual as it is too hard to explain the sights, sounds and senses of the Mekong Delta.
The Mekong Delta has over 17 million of the 85 million residents in Vietnam(per Lonely Planet 2008), 14 provinces and we will visit 4 of the cities/villages: My Tho, Ben Tre, Can Tho and Phong Dien.
We decided to do a tour of the Mekong Delta as it seem difficult to do it on our own and I think we are just plain tired after 3 weeks of traveling in Vietnam. We went with TNK Travel and left our hotel around 8am. We stopped outside of town as the buses usually make frequent and unwanted stops that slow the trip down but we enjoyed the great tasting ice coffee with condensed sweetened milk that Vietnam is famous for. Pete laid in the hammock as they are all over the country.
When we arrived in My Tho, the closest city in the Mekong Delta to Saigon, we got off the bus and took a tour by boat. Boat transportation is the major way of getting around the Delta area
as the first major bridge was built in 2000 and the largest bridge in Vietnam just opened April 2010. It turned the 30-120 minute wait for a ferry to a 5 minute drive across the Mighty Mekong.
Agriculture is the major industry in the area as we visited a coconut farm, honey bee farm, fruit plantations and vermicelli noodle making plant. When I call it a noodle making plant think of a small US home where all the family members made noodles to support the family. They made over 300 kilograms a day=660 lbs a day. The noodles are 50%!r(MISSING)ice and 50%!t(MISSING)apioca which is a root I learned. I have always loved tapioca pudding but never knew what it looked like growing until this trip to the Mekong Delta. July 2nd-Cai Rang Floating Market
We had another early start as breakfast was served at 6:30am with a 7am departure from the hotel to walk to the boat dock about 5 minutes away. We were going to the largest floating market on the Mekong Delta named Cai Rang. On average 500-700 boats there on a daily basis selling there fruits and vegetables to others who are
wholesalers or just own a little market which they sell the goods. You can determine the selling boats to the buying boats by looking at them. The selling boats have a long bamboo stick with the produce they are selling hanging from the stick. Some boats had just one item such as pineapple where other boats had 7-10 varieties of fruit or vegetables. We got to get on a pineapple boat and for 10,000VND=53 cents have a whole fresh pineapple cut to eat. MMMM.
Being in the Mekong area was such an amazing experience and peaceful as their lives are simple. Families are VERY important in Vietnam as in many parts of Asia,. Unlike the USA where we become spread out across the state, country or even the world, as Pete and I live in China. We enjoyed being in the small towns much more than the large cities in Vietnam as it lets you relax and enjoy what is around you without all the noise of an Asian city. Way too much honking and the density of people is nothing you can explain until you have experienced it yourself.
Tonight we head back to Saigon for our
last night in Vietnam as our flight is tomorrow at 6:15am. We have enjoyed our experiences here but will be glad to go back to Hong Kong. We now have a reason to be MUCH more thankful for what we have in China, instead of always thinking what we DON’T have compared to the USA way of life.
Traveling the world really does change a person, sometimes for the worse but most of the time for the better. This year we have grown as individuals and as a couple. We also hope those of you who have followed our journeys have learned new things about Asia through our experiences.
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