Ho Chi Minh City • Mekong Delta discovery
After breakfast, we journey outside of Ho Chi Minh City to discover Vietnam's famous Mekong Delta. We'll drive to Cai Be, a small village surrounded by fruit orchards and home to a floating market, and take a motorized boat ride along the Mekong River. We'll discover the tranquil like of villagers in the Mekong Delta region when we board a small paddle boat for a brief cruise along one of the local canals. We also stop to enjoy lunch at the garden restaurant of Ba Kiet, an old house built in 1924 that represents the typical architectural style of the Mekong Delta region. After driving back to Ho Chi Minh City, we have some time at leisure before regrouping for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
Return to U.S.
After dinner we depart for our midnight flight back to the U.S.
Wake-up call 6 am, departure 7:30 am.
The breakfast place in this hotel is so nice. The flowers on the table are left from the wedding the day before. Lovely.
The bus ride will take longer then 2 hours. Traffic in Saigon is something else. There are millions of scooters swarming around. I am trying to capture it in a video but are not really lucky. It needs to be experienced.
After about one hour we have a problem. A flat tire. The two guides and the bus driver try to figure out what to do. The solution is pretty good. Ole contacts another OAT group which does a different trip but does the same as we today. They are 15 minutes behind us and stop to take us with them. They have plenty of empty seats like we do on the bus.
We all have lively conversations and fun.
We do have a happy room stop and coffee break. Everywhere left and right on this highway are these coffee places with hammocks to relax. We are shown how to get in. James has no problem with it.
The coffee is made a very special way. Pressed? Well, no thank you. Not sure what water they used. I am told the coffee is strong and they use condensed milk.
Farmers are on their way to sell their stuff.
We take advantage of the floating market and sample some of the fruit.
Durian! Yes, we tried it. It has the reputation of smelling very strongly (bad) but tastes nice. I love durian ice cream but didn't have any on this trip.
The farmers all have tied samples of what they were selling on a high pole so potential customers would know.
We made a stop to look at what some local entrepreneurs were doing. This lady made something like sweet crisp wafers. A sample is always offered. I took it (as always with mixed feelings). Wished I wouldn't have to be so conscientious.
Her neighbor was making a popped rice treat. First course sand is heated with a little oil and then the rice popped.
He shakes the sand back into the kettle and the husks onto the floor. The husks are burning material for the fires.
The popped rice.
His partner is cooking coconut milk and palm sugar and some other things and then the popped rice is stirred in.
We sat down and had samples of rice liquor. Actually I felt that as a disinfectant that was a good idea. Of course there was also an opportunity to buy some stuff.
Back to the boat and a little further we get out again. The tide is very low so we have to walk a little to our lunch. It was quite nice and we looked at the houses and gardens.
Look at this bridge!
The story about Mr Kiet 's historic house is that it was disassembled and buried somewhere when the owner was afraid that the French colonists would burn it down during some conflict.
The widow of Mr Kiet's descendants is heading this restaurant business now. She came out of the kitchen to greet us.
Grilled elephant ear fish. Very traditional food. We had it 10 years (?) ago.
Piece of the fish is wrapped with greens in rice paper.
Filled pumpkin flower.
Fishes waiting for their turn to be lunch.
We were also able to go inside and have a look at the historic house.
And then single file back to the boat.
This lady had the right idea. She was fast asleep.
On the boat our dessert was waiting. Fruit and a cup of tea.
Sonyeon was not impressed with the tea.
Any of the fruit with peel was eaten.
I guess it was time to check the fish traps?
And yes, our bus was repaired and waiting. Another 2+ hours drive back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Back at the hotel James and I had about 2 hours to pack and get organized. Then the bus would take us all to our farewell dinner.
These deep fried rolls you should eat by wrapping the salad around it.
This is a yam which the soup is made from. It was rather bland.
After four weeks everybody is ready to go home but it is still strange to say good-bye to all. We were 16 in the group plus Ole (for 3 of the weeks) and the local guide in whatever country we were in. It had been a great group.
Ole had a great surprise for all of us which he gave us in the bus. I show you in the next blog.
James and I were the first to leave. After dinner we had 40 minutes to change and the local lady guide brought us to the airport in the great big bus. A taxi would have done. The airport was full with people but everything went fine and easy. Our first plane was scheduled to leave at 23:55 for Seoul Korea.
Virginia, here we come!