A Travellerspoint blog

Fun in the sun

Rickshaw Ridding

Our morning excursion started with the usual boat ride. Just a short one to a fish farm on the Mekong River where thousands of red snapper are farmed mostly for export. It was strange to walk across the floor boards and see the fish swimming beneath your feet through the cracks. The fish are fed pellets to make them grow. The feeding frenzy starts with the first shovel full of food through the small opening where they come to feed. Can't believe I went back to the boat and had red snapper fillets for lunch!

We went on to a raffia mat weaving factory but not much was happening as they had a power cut, but at least the shop sold cold beer!

The fun started with the rickshaw ride to the next venue, the silk factory. 17 of us in convoy played havoc with the local traffic. Our rickshaw drivers were very competitive and some of the group incentivised the ride by offering extra cash to their drivers. Add to this 3 local wedding parties and mayhem ensues! We did all arrive safely and an interesting tour of the factory made the trip worthwhile. Another retail opportunity too 👍
We thought we were walking back to the boat, but no, the rickshaws were waiting for a second round of road rage Vietnam style. Several us witnessed a crash en route but none of us were involved thankfully.

After lunch back on board, afternoon at leisure. Well that makes a change! We played a hilarious card game and made so much noise we had the lounge to ourselves. Then the boys did the on board tour of the bridge, engine room and all things technical. Then we all attended a cookery demonstration and some of us made Spring Rolls. Just what we wanted, more food! So much for a relaxing afternoon.

Dinner and a screening of "The Killing Fields" completed our day.

Posted by China reunited 06:32 Comments (0)

Sa Dec

Love in the afternoon!

The afternoon excursion by boat to Sa Dec started at the Cao Dai temple where Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism and Catholicism all worship together. Hung our guide gave a very clear presentation on how this practice had evolved. Back on the boat for a short ride to the local market. A myriad of sights sounds and smells assailed the senses. Some not always pleasant! In particular, many live fish kept in oxygenated bowls to keep fresh, but many gasping air was not good to watch. Live frogs, legs banded to stop them hopping away, didn't make a pretty sight. The fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers were a delight and Hung was on hand to explain all those we had never seen before. The stall holders started calling out to passing shoppers in an effort to sell off perishable produce at "very cheap price"!

On to the Chinese House, also known as the House of the Lover, due to the association with the famous book by Marguerite Duras "The Lover". A film of the same name had been made by her son, Jean-Jacques Annaud, to tell the love story between Marguerite and her Chinese lover, which was socially unacceptable to both families at the time. Brian made our guide laugh when we were all admiring the solid mahogany bed inlaid with mother of pearl. Hung said it must be hard on the back but Brian quipped also on the knees! Hung collapsed into giggles and called him a naughty man!
Later that evening the film was shown and enjoyed by many. Possibly a romantic version of events and I feel the book may be more accurate. Have to say a fair few fell asleep during the performance. I put it down to tiredness. I managed to see it through. A late night by recent standards.

Posted by China reunited 06:20 Comments (0)

Cai Be

Floating Market

Our early morning trip to Cai Be took us up the Mekong in a small boat. Life jackets obligatory and very hot . Its well over 30 degrees at 8.45 am.
Even the breeze is warm. There is a sense of deja vu as we visited this place with our city guide Kitt 2 days ago and some of our group gave it a miss. Our new guide Hung does bring a new perspective and further interesting snippets of information. It also gives another opportunity for retali therapy.
The boat ride through the floating market which is just for the locals is fascinating. Amazing what you can buy from a boat!
Back on board to cool down in our air conditioned cabins before lunch.

Posted by China reunited 06:19 Comments (0)

Mekong Prestige II

Life on board

After a lovely breakfast on the terrace and a stroll around the grounds we left the riverside paradise of the Mekong River Resort. A short coach journey took us to the boat dock and our floating home for the next 7 days. It was heaven to unpack our suitcases, rather than living out of them. I discovered clothes I'd forgotten I'd brought!
The cabins were very well appointed, if a little compact. Plenty of storage space, a comfy bed and great shower. Even had a small balcony with 2 chairs to sit and watch the Mekong flow by. What more could you need?
Lunch followed by arelaxing afternoon was a pleasant change after all the sightseeing.
We were tempted to attend the briefing for the next days itinerary with the promise of exotic cocktails but the information was useful and we got to meet the crew members. All the crew were lovely, so friendly and could not do enough for us.
After an excellent meal we were entertained in the lounge by local musicians. Interesting,but perhaps... not to everyone's taste!

Posted by China reunited 16:39 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Goodbye Grand Hotel

Magical Mekong

Before departing Saigon we visited the History Museum and saw a water puppet show, which we had missed on our first day in the city due to post flight fatigue. Not the high point of the trip so far in my view.
Back on the coach for a 2 hour drive to the Mekong Delta. The motion of the coach sent many to sleep as the suburbs of the city flashed past.
We arrived in Cai Be in time for lunch and were transported by a small boat to a lovely local restaurant. A variety of interesting local dishes were served. The highlight for me was the rice paper wrapped fish which the waitress made for us at the table. Desert was jack fruit which was delicious and a bit like chewy melon.
A short trip back to the village to a local sweet factory which the enterprising locals run as a co-operative. We had demonstrations and lots of samples of the sweets including toffees and a rice based popcorn. No hard sell and lovely friendly people. Many of us bought things to help support the local economy.
A short boat ride later we arrived at the Mekong River Resort for an overnight stay. First impressions were good as the location at the rivers edge was stunning. Our rooms were little straw roofed Eco lodges. The grounds were full of lush vegetation and beautiful flowers which defy description. Photos to follow upload permitting. Just time for a refreshing dip in the pool before dusk and dinner. The downside of the lovely location is the mosquitos. We are sleeping under a mosquito net tonight!

Posted by China reunited 18:43 Comments (0)

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