Chips & gravy all round & get Corrie on the telly

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, June 12, 2010

We grabbed some pastries from the bakery for the last time - the girls in there looked genuinely upset when they saw us with our rucksacks this morning - they had been so used to seeing us everyday.  We made our way round the corner to our tour agents office and waited for our bus to the Mekong Delta.  It was only 7.45am but it was getting really hot already so when it finally arrived I couldnt wait to get on in to the air conditioning for a cool down. Our group was made up of two French, two Flemish, three Brits and a Vietnamese.  It was strange as we had noticed a group of guys waiting for another bus who we had shared a hostel with in Xi'an in China almost two months ago - has nobody round here got a home to go to?

It took us two hours to arrive at our first stop of the trip, Cai Be, to see the floating village and some of the local villages.  We all boarded a boat at the harbour and sailed out to see the traders selling fruit, vegetables and fish, to be honest we expected to see more people trading but maybe that was do to it being a Saturday, we werent too sure.  We were then taken to a bee farm right on the side of the river where we got to see the bees in their hives and sampled tea flavoured with the bees honey which was absolutely delicious.  We sat around the table drinking the tea that had been specially set out for us, with bees buzzing around then in the corner I spotted a couple of live snakes in a cage with snakeskin belts and wallets draped over the top - all a little surreal.  

Next we were taken to see sweets being made from coconut milk, the whole process was explained to us and we got to sample the sweets afterwards - still warm coconut caramel gorgeous.  Then we were shown how rice cakes and rice 'pop' is made (also sold as candy).  We were amazed at all the industry going on under basically one roof.  The rice 'pop' was essentially sugar puffs and it was made in a very similar way to pop corn.  Before we left Andrew had a coconut juice straight from the shell, apparently it is one of the most refreshing and thirst quenching things you can drink.  We needed it it was roasting.

We all got back on the boat and travelled along the river for about an hour observing daily life, it was facinating.  We stopped for lunch at a river side restaurant and had a meal of rice, salad and pork with fresh fruit then we had a walk around and stumbled across a crocodile enclosure.  There were a couple of other tourists there already who were dangling pieces of raw meat from make shift fishing rods from a platform.  The crocodiles all circled around under the meat until one would just pounce and all the others would thrash around.  We were then 'treated' to some traditional music where the waitresses from the restaurant 'sang' along with a couple of very old men playing guitar.  It was more of a screech really and they acted out a story at one point embracing each other while one of them stroked the others hair.  All a bit weird.

After all this we took the boat to Vinh Long where we picked up the bus and drove 3 hours to Chau Doc where we would be staying for the night.  On the way we stopped at another hotel and picked up Julia from Old Trafford!  After a chat on the coach between the 4 northerners discussing the football, chips and gravy and Coronation Street we got to the hotel and after the warning that we had received from the guide about a couple who had eaten in one of the local restaurants and were rushed to hospital as some wash the food and cook in river water, we decided to skip dinner and try to get an early night as we wanted to get up at 1am to watch the England game.

The alarm went off, we woke up and we wished we hadnt bothered.........

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