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Published: November 18th 2013
Over the last three days, Stuart and I have been making our way from Phnom Penh in Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon) in Vietnam. We opted for a boat and bus journey so that we could see some of the famous Mekong delta.
Our journey started In Phnom Penh, where we were told that we could not do the whole boat trip as the night before the propeller from the boat had broken. We weren't sure if this was to do with the tropical storm that had been going on over night. It was terrible. I woke up in the middle of the night and heard loads of noise. The wind was coming in from under the door, through the windows and seemed to be howling! I looked outside and it was pouring with rain and every minute there was a lightening flash. I was scared but Stuart just reminded me we do have this type of weather in England too so I tried to get back to sleep.
Instead of a boat all the way down the Mekong, we had to take a bus to half way down the river in Cambodia and board an express boat
to the Cambodian-Vietnam boarder. The boat journey wasn't as good as I thought it would be but definitely safer than the buses we have been on!
Our first stop was Chau Doc, Vietnam. Here we stayed on a floating hotel for one night. There wasn't much to see in Chau Doc but we got to try some Vietnamese food finally! On the street, they sell all sorts of cakes for really cheap. I think this is the country for me! When we walked around the street, children shouted 'Hello!' at us and waved. It seems they enjoy the fact foreigners are there!
The next day, we went to a floating village. Here, people own their own fish farms which are contained underneath their floating houses. We watched the fish being fed and they go crazy for the food! After that, we went to a Cham village. The Chams are an Islamic community. There we met a lady selling cakes made from a pan. The were coconut flavour and delicious! We then went to a cave temple which had been built into a hill. It wasn't too exciting here but I liked looking at the statues. Some were even
made with sunglasses on. Very random! We then went to our hotel in Can Tho. We decided to look on Trip Advisor for something to do and we came across a young man called Phuoc. He is a 19 year old university student. He used to work in a restaurant in Can Tho and realised that people didn't know where to eat etc so decided to create his own tour, bringing people round to try different Vietnamese food and showing them how to eat it.
Phuoc's girlfriend, Thao, picked us up from our hotel and brought us to our first stop. Here we met Phuoc and we were shown how to make a type of fresh spring roll with pork (Nem Nuong) that you rolled yourself. It was so delicious with so many different ingredients. We were then taken to a pie shop. In this shop they only sold the same pie (Bang Cong)- but this pie was so good! Looking at it, we probably wouldn't have tried it but we are really glad Phuoc brought us here. It was a type of mashed pork pie with beans and a shrimp on top. To eat this pie you got
a large lettuce leaf, put some fennel leaves inside and a bit of the pie with your chop sticks. You then rolled it up and dipped it into a light fish sauce! So yummy! We are definitely going to be looking out for these pies again. We are really glad we looked on Trip Advisor as Phuoc and Thao were lovely people and it was good to try some Vietnamese food we probably wouldn't have tried by ourselves.
The next morning, we went to a floating market, a rice factory and a noodle factory. We went out on a boat to the floating market. Suddenly, a smaller boat would approach the boat, attach themselves on with a rope and ask you if you wanted to buy anything. There were all sorts of boats selling things: pumpkins, pineapples, soft drinks, sweet potatoes, watermelons...the list goes on!The way the traders were identified was by the large sticks that protruded from the top of the boat, to which they attached the produce they had for sale. The reason they have the floating market is so that they can come straight from their village with their produce, transport it down the river on
the boat and sell straight off their boat, instead of offloading it into a shop.
We then went to see how rice noodles were made and how white rice in processed. This part of the tour was quite boring. We were shown the machines and the processes. Not much to report there! We then made our way to Ho Chi Minh City by bus.
The weather since we have landed in Vietnam has been either dramatic downpours or glorious sunshine. I just hope the sun days outweigh the rain days while we are here in Vietnam. My mum emailed me last night and told me that there are floods In Hoi An. I have seen some pictures and it looks quite deep in some places but then other places don't seem that bad. We will have to see next week what the situation is and then decide where our route will take us. Fingers crossed we can go as I have heard it is beautiful there.
Overall, it was nice to see the floating market and meet Phuoc and Thao in Can Tho but we wish we had gone straight to Ho Chi Minh City as we
thought the tour could have been a bit more exciting!
Hope everyone is well! Em and Stu x
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