My Tho. Ben Tre. Cai Rang.
These are names of places in the Mekong Delta that meant nothing to me before this trip and now they are forever embedded in my memory (it helps that I did take over 1000 photographs).
Over the span of one and a half days, Mom, Wee Scotch and I covered a lot of ground (or should I say water!) in the “rice bowl” of Vietnam.
We toured new and interesting places, got dumped on the side of a road (more on that in my next post), tasted new exotic fruits, discovered even more ways of the bang trang, and witnessed a slice of life so so different from our own.
Due to the difficulties of understanding my guide through the terrible tour bus speaker system, I wasn’t sure where I was most of the time.
But as my son always says these days, “That’s okay, Mama.” I was more than fine with the not-knowing as by the time we toured the Mekong, it was during my final two days of a month-long adventure in Vietnam and I was just leisurely enjoying the last moments of one of the best experiences of my life.
Except for the fact that it was hot hot hot! Children generally have a higher metabolism than adults so poor Wee Scotch seemed to always have a sweaty head (or “Heed” in Scottish).
I took precautions with him and slathered him in sunscreen plus he always had a cold drink available (thank you Thermos Funtainer!). And the Vietnamese love children so he was always
well looked after spoiled by others.
We arrived at the floating markets of Cai Rang (in the city of Can Tho) around 8 am which I think was quite late in the day for them already. We were probably just at the tail end of the market day.
It was amazing to see first-hand the sheer size of the market and how so many day-to-day activities were done on the water.
We even witnessed a funeral procession making their way up the river with the casket in a boat.
The Mekong Delta is known as the “rice bowl” and is famous as a large rice growing area, producing three harvests per year and half of the total of Vietnam’s rice output. Vietnam is the second largest exporter of rice (Thailand is the first).
We paid a visit to a small village that makes rice vermicelli (thin rice noodles). I always thought they were dried from fresh noodles but that was so not the case.
Here is a video I filmed of the process:
This other video I filmed shows the shredding of the rice paper into rice vermicelli:
We also visited a factory where rice is hulled and bagged:
Coconut candy being made:
Wee Scotch and I crossing a “Monkey Bridge” which is a bridge built by only one stem of bamboo:
Mom volunteering to be the first to taste honey…straight out of the honeycomb!
Strolling through an orchard garden, Mom (an avid green thumb) and I coveted all the beautiful plants and fruit trees including this dragon fruit plant:
At the end of our stroll through the garden, we were able to buy some of the fruits to snack on and Mom bought our small group this yellow-orange fruit whose name I can’t remember but I’m sure my mom will Skype and tell me when she reads this post.
The flavor was rather subtle and the texture kind of chalky.
And no organized tour would be complete without the obligatory “bathroom stop” at a government-run souvenir shop where physical- and mentally-challenged workers huddle over their own hand-crafted one-of-a-kind artwork.
This souvenir stop specialized in artwork created with mother-of-pearl and eggshells.
I hope you enjoyed this Photo Tour of the Mekong Delta. As I mentioned earlier, I did take over 1000 photographs in less than 2 days and to narrow them down to just a handful to share on this post was quite challenging.
There are so many more photos I’d like to share with you – of the orchard garden, of the coconut candy-making, of the market – that I have uploaded them to an album on my Facebook page.
And in case you haven’t had enough of the Mekong Delta, there is a Part II which includes us over-nighting at a Homestay and visiting a very, very local market…