Good Morning Vietnam

Trip Start Feb 22, 2013
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Flag of Vietnam  , England,
Sunday, March 17, 2013

We berthed over night in Ho Chi Min City.
We didn't go to the cultural show & dinner last evening as I had felt a little bit sick most of the day but after a good nights rest I was ready for our trip to experience Life on the Mekong Delta.
The Mekong river originates in Tibet and flows through 6 countries, China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam. When it reaches Vietnam it divides into 9 tributaries as our guide explained like a dragon spitting out water, forming a huge fertile area.
Our coach journey to My Tho even on a Sunday had plenty going on in the streets, the usual assortment of passengers on the mopeds, you might just spot in one of my photos a couple on a moped with a plastic bag and inside 2 live ducks - lunch I guess!
The electric and telephone cables look a tangled mess alongside the roads but that's the way things are and power seems too get through.
We saw in farmers fields what looked like memorial graves, it fact they we just that. Despite Vietnam being a communist country farmers own their own land if it is ancestral land which means that if your ancestors are buried on the land it will never be taken away from you.
We arrive at My Tho, time for a comfort stop, it was our guide described as a 2 star convenience, I would have given it at least 4 stars.
We were now ready to board our ornately painted boats for our journey of approx 30 minutes to one of the 5 islands for the next part of our adventure.
The river was busy with all types of craft from dug out canoes and barges to houseboats and larger vessels carrying gravel, coconuts and all type of produce.
We passed fish farms, small huts set in the water and sectioned of areas for catching and drying the fish. The fishermen live on these small floating houses and were happy to wave as we passed by.
We reached our destination an island of fruit gardens, first though we had to get into the flat bottomed sampans to be taken through the canals. We were 4 people to a boat , we had to stand in the centre and then sit one by one to ensure stability, with a local at either end with their paddles we set off.
Our journey lasted around half an hour as we twisted and turned through the narrow canal, I was at the front of the boat and often the boatman would turn and give a huge smile, he had no teeth but it Was a great smile as he paddled us through the tranquil waters.
Water coconut palms formed a shady canopy, the canal edge looked rather muddy and the water also quite brown, just hoped there wasn't anything lurking beneath !
The boat would sometimes list to one side but it all added to the adventure.
We reached a small landing stage, actually 4 steps at the side of a muddy bank, there was the tiniest elderly lady,probably late 80's, from the local area helping strapping gentlemen out of the boats, she came just above my waist but insisted on helping me out of the canoe.
Honey tea was served as a refreshment and we then set off walking through the fruit orchards of papayas, grapefruits, pineapples and many more not familiar to us. A beautiful lotus pond and Celosia growing almost wild.
More refreshments of delicious fresh fruit & tea before we boarded the large boat back on the Mekong River to our waiting coaches.
Another memorable day.
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