Floating markets

Trip Start May 19, 2011
Trip End Dec 21, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Vietnam  , Cần Thơ,
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Tuesday, we had a relaxing morning because we didn’t have to meet our bus until 3 pm. We packed everything up and headed to a cafe to wait for our bus. We joined up with a tour group that was heading to Can Tho and then further on to Chau Doc (our destination). The first stop with this group was Vinh Trang Pagoda. Turns out wherever we were yesterday was not Vinh Trang Pagoda. In fact we don’t know what temple it was at all. But it was beautiful so we are happy we found it. The actual pagoda was very nice. They had two huge statues of Buddha that were very impressive. After the pagoda we were dropped off at a rest stop to join with another bus. Another rider was dropped with us and it turned out he was a wonderful british man that we chatted with for quite some time, even exchanged emails. After a bumpy ride and dropping off our new friend in a different town (Vinh Long) we made it to the hotel. Guillaume and I made it to our room only to find four twin beds. We thought that we might have roommates, but it turned out to be just us. It was obvious that we joined the group late. After dropping our stuff we headed out to find dinner and then came back to pass out. It was definitely an interesting day. We have gotten farther and farther out which has provided for some awesome scenery.

On Wednesday, we got up early after a crappy night (noisy room, uncomfortable, beds, etc...) to have breakfast and walk to the docks (with the tour group) to see the floating markets. It was interesting to hear our guide discuss about how the floating markets are going away. Why get up at 3 am and row your little boat to the floating market when you can hop on your scooter and go to the supermarket? It was definitely fun to see the various boats tied together or moving through each other, buying and selling their goods. Our boat stopped at another boat selling pineapple and we stayed there for awhile as everyone bought themselves some yummy pineapple. After our sweet stop our boat headed over to an island so that we could see a family that makes rice noodles. It was another example of a dying art. Two women work in a building all day creating sheets of rice noodles. But it's difficult to make money at it when there are factories doing the same thing faster and cheaper. As we were walking around the family home we passed a chicken coop right as one of the chicks got excited and fell out. There were quite a few people trying to grab the chick and put it back but it went behind the coop which was right on the edge of the water. I decided, backpack and all, that I would follow the chick and try to catch it. As I was inching my way along the back of the coop my foot slipped and I grabbed the fence which began to pull away from the supports, luckily it held, but I thought I was a goner. And I didn’t even catch the chick, it ran past me and someone else caught it. There were more farm animals there, pigs which were hoping to be fed, geese which were mean, and of course some dogs. We then moved further down the island to a fruit farm and walked through the orchards. There were signs all over saying you would be fined if you picked any of the fruit. It was interesting to try and decide which tree produced what. At the end they had built a nice restaurant type place that served the fruit they grew there. Guillaume and I didn’t buy any, but it was nice to have a rest. After our break we were rounded up and loaded back onto the boat to head back to town for lunch and then join our ride to Chau Doc. Once back in town Guillaume and I decided to eat at a little place right across from the docks. Unfortunately, though the food was good they took a long time and Guillaume only had ten minutes to eat his pizza. We rushed back to the hotel and loaded into a “mini bus” (Sprinter van) and began the three hour ride to Chau Doc. We had one stop midway at a crocodile farm. It was an interesting place, the grounds were very nice, but there were too many crocs per cage. I guess that is ok though when they are being bred for slaughter. They also had two monkeys. Me being me and not thinking decided I would help a monkey that was trying to get leaves from a branch out of reach. I picked a  few leaves and held them out without thinking how long the arms of a monkey are. Instead of going for the leaves he went for me and grabbed my hand.  I snatched my hand away quickly and everything turned out fine, but it was not one of my brightest moments. After another hour or so on the bus they dropped us off on the side of the road about 4 km from downtown Chau Doc. We had to pay for two guys on motorbikes (xe óm) to take us to the hotel. The receptionist at the hotel was very nice and spoke english well. Once we dropped our stuff we did a quick walk around the market and got some food and then retired for the night.
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