Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cruisin the Delta

This trip has been exhausting so clearly I got super behind on the blog updates, but I shall begin them again. We woke up early and began a long bus ride outside of Ho Chi Minh City into the Mekong Delta.
View at the beginning of our journey 
We floated through the river and saw a floating market. It's a wholesale market primarily of produce, the merchants buy the food from the farmer and then float up the river to sell to merchants on land. The sellers put what they are selling up on the top of a bamboo pole so customers know who they can go to. 

Floating Market 
 We then got off the boat and ventured into a little town. We stopped by a gorgeous Catholic Church built by the French in the early 1900s, visited a rice paper factory, coconut candy factory, and popped rice and noodle facility. We then had the opportunity to try some of these snacks and I of course bought some coconut candy how could I resist. While we were there we also caught a glimpse of a local specialty snake wine. It was some scary looking stuff. We didn't get to try it because our guide basically said no, but we did try banana wine, not great but not terrible. One of the best parts of this venture was when our guide, Phuong pulls out a python kept as a pet and begins to play with it. Our professor took the snake and pulled out a little Southern Religion move pretending to snake handle. Those of us who have taken that class all died. It was hilarious.

Coconut candy production 

mushroom wine, snake wine, banana wine

Phuong and the snake 

Dr. B and the snake

After that venture we climbed back into our boat and once again floated down the river. Next thing we know Phoung announces it is time to row. We all didn't believe him, and even Dr. B said thought Phoung was joking once we saw the row boats pull up beside our boat we knew he was serious. I got in a boat with Melissa E. and Andrew K. and thus began one of the best journeys of the trip. We paddled down a canal and got to see how people in the Delta lived on the canal. In addition we just got to be in the quiet of Vietnam and just take it all in. In addition we got to wear some pretty cool hats. 

After our venture we got back on our big boat and headed to lunch. We went to this little place called a homestay and ate really awesome food. After our meal we got to hear some local performers sing and play traditional Vietnamese songs. A welcome song, two love songs, and then a goodbye song.
Delicious Fried Fish that became part of Spring Rolls at lunch 
After lunch we returned once again to our boat where there was a whole coconut waiting for us. Coconut water straight from the source and man that stuff is so good.

Coconut water from the source
After we got back to Ho Chi Minh some people wanted to go to the market. That is not our thing we were on the hunt for some traditional Vietnamese Coffee. I don't know if we ever be able to return to the way I drink coffee in America. They drink super strong coffee with some sweetened condensed milk, mix it, and then pour over ice. So good.
Vietnamese Coffee!! Hybrid between french press and  pour over. 

Iced Coffee
We finished our night with a motorbike tour around Ho Chi Minh City. Motorbikes are the way to get around the city. In a city of about 10 million people there are 6 million motorbikes. They are the only way to get around the city. 

On the Vespa 

Me and Phoung my motorbike driver 

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