Trip to Unicorn Island

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Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta
March 19th 2008
Published: March 20th 2008
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In the canalsIn the canalsIn the canals

Canal about 12 feet in width, muddy water, canopy of mangrove trees (roots above ground), palms and fruit trees
Another day trip today -- into the Mekong Delta to Unicorn Island. Uncle Bin (he's been upgraded from Mister) took us down there by bus. We met up with a woman named Danh who took us by small motor boat down one of the canals where we then got onto smaller boats to go through a skinny natural canal onto the island. This area is intended for tourists -- I imagine our trip next week into the far south to dedicate the school will be much different. We were treated to amazing fruit which they served with chili salt (intended to balance the sweetness and create proper Yin and Yang). Local people played instruments and sang for us. We were guided through displays of locally made items -- embroidery, coconut wood utensils etc etc. This was hard -- not wanting to feel like an American tourist who comes to a foreign country solely to shop -- but also knowing that these people were making their living by selling these items. I think pictures tell this story better -- because there were just so many beautiful sights...

In the end -- the part that was most enlightening was talking with our guide Danh -- who was so sweet and warm. Telling us how she handles the money in her house -- so her husband doesn't overspend. Talking about the fact that she would love more children -- but is only allowed 2 -- if she has more her government salary is cut in half. She loved our kids -- getting a kick out of Helen's spunk and Will's "seriousness". She kept saying -- "and now, Helen comes home with me." I think Helen would have gone too.

Uncle Bin took us out to dinner to an old French home -- the food was beautiful -- but we were just so full (or at least the kids and I were). I think our bodies are just a little startled by the food -- not sick, but overwhelmed. I've come to realize after spending an evening with Uncle Bin -- that I totally oversimplified his war experience in my last blog. He was actually an officer in the US military -- and "lost everything" once the war was over. During his re-education -- his brothers and sisters all fled the country as boat people, his family home was taken over by the government, and he was unable to get work because of being mistrusted by his government. Again -- I am still completely oversimplifying. I hope he does get to write his book in retirement -- a story that deserves a lot more than I can offer here.


Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


getting a good viewgetting a good view
getting a good view

18 km bridge being built in the background
Amazing fruitAmazing fruit
Amazing fruit

Rose apples, jackfruit, mango, pineapple, sapodilla, bananas -- and mint tea
Mud SkipperMud Skipper
Mud Skipper

Amphibean -- cute little animal -- 2 arms and a tail -- lives in the river bank's mud

20th March 2008

Woe helen!
woe helen-i can't believe you put that python around your neck!
20th March 2008

Thank you!
We so appreciate your information and the photos are wonderful!
20th March 2008

Your stories and pictures are so wonderful and I look forward to reading of your experiences each evening. Give Will and Helen a big hug from me. I love you, Mom/Nana
20th March 2008

Those hats are sooo cute. what are they??? I also want to know are all of the houses so run down. love you, Claire
20th March 2008

Did Helen get bit by the python???? Will you bring me a pet python please?????
20th March 2008

Can't wait to join you
What an adventure. I love Will with the "stand up" fish and Helen with the Python. Was she scared? I bet the kids loved the canal ride. Tracy, maybe you can help "Uncle Bin" write his book?? Be safe. Love to you all, Mom/DeeDee
20th March 2008

Thank you.
Thank you so much for sharing your adventure. It looks like you are having an amazing time! I've been sharing with Jeff, too. We are both learning a lot. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers for a safe and amazing journey!
20th March 2008

Helen, I can't believe you held that snake! Can't wait to see you all!
20th March 2008

Helen you are so BRAVE!!
Helen- I must know, how did the snake feel? Did it feel lumpy? Did it feel smooth? Was it heavy and slimy? I also want to know if you saw any animals on the boat ride. I can't wait to read the next blog and I hope you and Will are having a great time. Love you. Tristan
21st March 2008

Snake report
Will says it felt like a scale covered muscle. Helen says it was scaley and smooth. David says he thinks it weighed about 30pounds. Tracy says he looked enormous from a distance! On the island the kids also saw a monkey, a gibbon, a turtle (all in cages). We have also seen some water buffalo grazing in the fields -- and dogs and cats running around. We miss you.
21st March 2008

I'm afraid he won't fit in my suitcase!!
21st March 2008

Elephant Fish
We ate it wrapped in rice paper. It tasted salty and squishy like chicken. And no, my Mom did not hold the python -- the rest of us did though.
21st March 2008

Hi Claire
The conical hats are worn by a lot of the women to keep the sun off of their faces. Danh tells me that she doesn't want her skin to get any darker -- so she covers her skin as much as she can. As far as the houses go -- we've seen all kinds. The houses by the river -- did look mainly like that picture. The houses in Ho Chi Minh City are all different -- but usually tall and skinny in varying degrees of repair.
21st March 2008

That a girl Helen
Thats so cool that you guys all enjoyed holding the python, if you get a snake handling urge when you get back to the states you can get together with Hodge, I just talked to him and he now has five snakes and is about to buy five more, he is starting to breed them! The blog is geat keep the updates coming.
21st March 2008

You would
Really the best you could come up with for the elephant fish was a glorified tastes like chicken what a cop-out, just kiddin, it definetly makes a good centerpiece for a meal!
22nd March 2008

Can't tell you how much we're enjoying the photos and blow-by-blow descriptives of your trip. Pieter has alway said he wants to return someday. Your blog may convince me to join him! Thanks for educating us all on this very interesting culture.

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