Down The Mekong

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Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta
June 14th 2006
Published: June 19th 2006
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Here I am on a boat chugging its way down the Mekong. The water is brown and muddy, and there is very little traffic. The odd boat goes past powered with a basic engine, or even just oar power - paddled in the curious backwards standing up way that the Vietnamese do. The pyjama and pointy had clad occupants tend to wave, but some choose to mind their own business. Not coincidentally 'The End' by The Doors is playing on my MP3 player. The boat chugs on.

Mekong Life
The delte living Vietnamese really do wear pointy hats. Once the main river is left small boats are everywhere going about daily life. Many fish with nets, while elsewhere on the river huge bamboo cranes lift nets from the water in an attempt to dredge for fish. The rivers edge is lined in scruffy basic huts, and a large number of houseboats are moored along the river side. Houseboat can mean what you and I think of as a house boat, but also it can mean a tiny dinghy sized boat with a tarp over the top. Just as the Phnom Penh Tuk Tuk drivers live in their Tuk Tuks, many Mekong Delta fishermen seem to live in their boats. The delta dwellers area really friendly bunch - most wave, and those who don't always seem to wave back if you start it!

Swapping 100cc for Shankses Pony
We ended the days voyage at Chau Doc - a small and very friendly town. Things seem less chaotic here than Cambodia, Thailand and even Malaysia. Somehow cleaner, and more ordered. There are fewer motorbikes too - but a lot of Pushbikes! A lot of people wear pyjamas too - and I dont mean pyjama style clothes, I mean actualy pyjamas with little teddy bears and flowers and things... strange!

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