Floating Markets And Pretty Tour Guides: Why I Like Tours

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June 17th 2006
Published: June 19th 2006
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Another early start, another poor and unwelcome attempt at a western breakfast. Soon we were out of the hotel and on to a bus to the boat that would take us around the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta and show us what treats it has on offer.

Cai Rang: A Bouyant Market
Farmers and other traders travel from miles around the Mekong to sell their wares at the Cai Rang (and other) floating markets. They often travel weekly, only returning home when they have sold all of their stock. Their boats are large and contain all they need to survive - after all they may not leave them for the whole time they are here! These larger boats are buzzed by smaller boats belonging to sellers, and the occasional mobile coffee boat. Can't tell what a boat sells? No problem - look at the sample hanging above it from a bamboo pole.

Rice Noodles 'r us
Ever wondered how rice noodles are made? No, me neither. But I found out at the rice noodle plant! Broken grains of rice are boiled down to make a paste, which is then cooked like a huge pancake. Once cooled and dried the rice pancake is then put through what is essentially a pasta cutter to make the finished rice noodles.

Rice. Its just rice surely?
Also on the delta we visited a rice processing plant, where the rice is dehusked, polished and packed. Even though the vietnamese only eat the polished white rice none of the grain is wasted - the offcuts are used as fire fuel, fertilizer and even animal feed.

A Chug Along
Next we motored for an hour or so, an I saw the Mekong Delta as I had imagined it. A maze of small canals and waterways, muddy rown water, and peasants paddling around sheltering from the monsoon rain under their pointy hats.... Awesome!

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