On Thursday afternoon May 28, Bruce and I continued our Vietnam trip via an overnight boat tour of the Mekong Delta. Here we are embarking in Vinh Long…thank goodness it was shaded.
The boat tour consisted of a series of stops, the first a local Vinh Long brick and pottery factory.
Guess who these were made for?
The next stop was a nursery, featuring a huge number of varieties of fruit (this is the ubiquitous jack fruit)…
…and of course tea!! (We had tea every fifteen minutes it seems on this tour.) Our tour guide, Tuyen, is at left, and the owner of this property in the background (he offered us two kinds of rice wine, one about as smooth as nitroglycerin).
We were told that many boats have two eyes in the front to see better and to ward off evil.
Heading up one of countless canals in An Binh Island north of Vinh Long.
Roman Catholicism is still here, along with a wide variety of other religions in Vietnam.
We disembarked from the boat to take a walking (and bike) tour of a portion of the island.
Many small alters like this are found facing the canal.
Here is clearly a tourist magnet: drape a (surprisingly droopy) python around your neck! You can see that Bruce was a bit less enthusiastic.
Off by bike…
…and then by rowboat!
We saw this beautiful rainbow, but failed to predict…
…the thundering rainstorm that ensued. Here we are drying off in our big boat -- so much for the romantic (but uncovered) rowboat.
As you can tell from the size of our boat (and from the many similar boats docked in the canals), this is the off-season, tourist-wise: one reason was the heat/humidity. I think I didn't stop sweating.
Eventually we made it to Mr. Muoi's boarding house on a Delta canal (where our LC students also stay during their tour of the Delta), and Bruce and I settled into this room.
Here's the boarding house the next morning.
As usual, we were fed a fantastic meal: here's Tuyen teaching us how to make fresh springrolls with a variety of ingredients including the elephant ear fish.
While we relaxed, our Saigon tour guide Kwe chatted with Mr. Muoi's family.
In the morning we were greeted by our boat…
…and a quick game: how can you turn this one water buffalo into two by only moving two sticks?? And if you get that one, how can you turn it to face the other direction by moving only two sticks? (Ask me if you can't get it.)
On Friday May 29 we said goodbye to Mr. Muoi and headed along other canals, past overloaded boats toting rice husks…
…and purveyors of Delat building piles…
…and Delta traffic…
…into one of the major Delta channels, and across to Cai Be and a few more tours.
First, the floating markets of Cai Be, mostly wholesale to land market dealers.
A few features of this landscape on the delta were seen throughout our tour. First, those with means are as of the last few years under no compunction to hide it, hence tall and narrow homes of the better-off were found everywhere. Also, note the television antennae, also ubiquitous.
Our next tour was of a coconut candy factory: the green comes from a locally available plant
Next we stopped off and walked to a restored old house.
Like all homes, it harvests rainwater, a no-brainer in this climate (and given water quality of the Delta).
Here our tour ends in Cai Be.