Mekong Delta

Trip Start Nov 06, 2007
Trip End Jun 26, 2008

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, December 14, 2007

 Gooood morning, vietnam!  (as Robin Williams once said in that film that Dad wouldn't let me watch).

And hello water.  There's plenty here and life in the delta (unsurprisingly) completely revolves around it.  There is so much water on the Mekong river that it has 2 tides a day.  The silt it lays down feeds the countryside with nutrients (the locals even pull up buckets of mud to put on their gardens as fertiliser) and so there's plenty of fruit and lots of varieties here not to mention this is the rice capital of Vietnam - feeding the rest of the country.  We've been on a few boat trips (unsurprisingly) and a cycle ride around narrow lanes next to the canals and so on.  Good clean fun although it is rather hot.  We had jack fruit (a bit like papaya but nicer), longan (like lychee but smaller), rambutan (spikey fruit but part of the lychee family) and also saw pineapple, papaya, watermelon, coconut, water coconut and strawberry, mango and mangosteen trees - all sadly out of season.  We also saw "pop rice" being made.  Basically pop corn, with rice not corn.

The vietnamese people (apart from the odd scammer ("no the buses don't go there today, you should stay here, I know a good hotel")) are very nice and friendly.  Some of the touristic people (e.g. hotel staff) speak very good English - certainly better than anyone we met in Cambodia.  All the kids know English too.  Well they all know one word: hello!  And they shout it at us (in a friendly manner) wherever we go.  We must have had a 100 kids doing so today - some even running from their houses to say it and we did high fives with a small posse as we rode past at one point.  After our 1 GBP dinner tonight in a road side diner (makes it sound far fancier than it was!) a toddler waved and eventually said hello and then toddled towards us, eventually blowing a kiss - much to his mum and the surrounding stall-holders' amusement.  They can be a bit cheeky too.  Whilst asking for directions for somewhere showing the footy, one kid tried to lick Sarah's ice-cream, right in front of her.  Repeatedly!  Like the rest of us, he now knows it is a lost cause with her.

Tomorrow we're off to the big smoke - Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) although the locals all call it Saigon apparently.  Nice as the delta towns are, it will be good to have some "proper" civilisation for a change although the weather is forecast to be heavy rain and 31C - which should be interesting.
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