Mekong Delta Day 2

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

08:10 We Left after 7 (see the indoor parking shot), Happy Pants is grumpy again because according to her we were late. The reason we were late was that because she didn't actually tell us what was happening. We thought we would be getting on a bus or at least leaving our luggage on a bus, instead we were told at the point at which we were leaving that our luggage would be left in the hotel lobby, open to all and we'd be out for the next 4 hours. As some of us had precious items such as laptops we decided to get a locker and put stuff in, thus making us late and the guide angry. I had words with her as she ended up walking off down the street without us, and I said that she'll lose us again if she did that and that telling us at the last minute what was happening would potentially result is us making decisions based on that information and then late. 
We walked to the harbour and had an hours boat ride to the floating market. On the way we picked up the people who did the homestay.
I liked the way the Boats in the Market have a sample of their goods high on a stick above the boat.
Miss America got splashed with water again and caused a hullabaloo. I said it could only happen to her! Me and Courtney reckoned it was karma coming to get her for being so boisterous all the time.
09:09 We came to a rice noodle factory, open spinning machinery, fire, animals around the food, motorbikes, dirt, all manner of ways to injure yourself and contaminate food. They use rice husks to burn under the rice paper they make, dry it in the sun in the open with flies landing on it and chikens cramping nearby Yet ive not been ill! The burnt husks are used as fertiliser. Literally everything gets used. 2 or 3 rice papers are 1 kg and it's sold at Market for 15,000 per kilo.
09:33 Miss America saw a sticker on a fridge which she had tattooed on her ankle, it's from her tribe apparently, which was the ijibway tribe (spelt phonetically there!) which was quite confusing since I didn't expect this all American to announce she was from a tribe. We were then highly amused as she sought the meaning of the sticker thinking it was of profound importance, and asked where they got it, only to discover this symbol of great meaning came from a packet of crisps which sent the group into fits of laughter.

We got back on the boat and immediately miss America knocked over a bench and once again, made a lot of noise about it.
10:36 We went down stream a little further and off one of the side canals to a fruit farm. It feels like it should be lunch time already. It's the first time I've ever seen pineapple growing on a plant, it's quite surprising. I thought due to their weight that it would be the sort of fruit to dangle from a strong tree, not from a shoot protruding from the ground!
10:49 The Mekong river is very brown and dirty, not surprising given the black oil that comes out of the boat when it goes into reverse, and black smoke the rest of the time, and all the litter that floats in the water and is washed up on the side. There are lots of houses on sticks, next to the water, all with a little wooden jetty/ramp for accessing their boats. They are often made with wood planks for walls, or plastic sheeting, corrugated iron sheets or banana leaves folded over. There's the occasional houseboat with laundry hanging outside on coat-hangers, and hammocks hooked up inside with legs dangling lazily out. There are people out washing clothes and utensils in the water (which I've also seen people peeing into). Various trees line the banks, coconut, banana and just other normal trees as bushes and water based lilies of some sort. There are great container boats which all appear to be full of earth in middle area and are so heavy that they look practically sunk.

When we got back to dock we had 20 mins for lunch and some folk wandered off.
12:54 Dictator guide Happy Pants - or 'miss quiet' as she'd called herself yesterday was particularly angry, again, when 2 people turned up 10 mins late to the bus. Me and Courtney were already there, but when we all got on the bus she gave us a proper telling off and said that tomorrow if we were even one min late she'd leave without us. None of us like this guide at all and are all keen to leave a comment card with the tour company on our return to tell them how rude she is. So between the feisty and arrogant 'america rules yeah!' Miss America and our guide, there is tension in the air and it is no longer a relaxing tour! Thank god for the secret giggling me and Courtney do when they're out of earshot else I'd be very likely to lose my cool and shout at either one of them. Right now I'm listening to the soothing tones of Enya to calm down from the telling off by the guide we've paid, and miss America who constantly slags off England with a dreadful superiority complex which seems to be typical of Americans- in a stereotypical manner (I'd like to think they're not all like this!). That's why stereotypes happen after all! Comments have included asking why all the English girls look slutty here because they wear very small tops and shorts (we responded it was probably the only time we ever see sun), that a jumper and sweater are NOT in fact the same, and that they 'cut the fat' by getting rid of letters from words etc, when asked what language she spoke - American was the answer...keep cool now. There were also complaints about the fact it was so hard for her to get a visa to work in London. Quite honestly, I'm glad in her case that they refused! I'm also surprised as it has always seemed that getting a visa to come to England and live was like handing out sweets, so I don't know when it got more difficult, maybe they just heard her coming. Anyway, in half an hour we will be at a crocodile farm where there will be visions of pushing someone in I'm sure.
14:52 We had a brief interlude at a crocodile farm. Brief because they just don't do anything, all sit there still, and the most exciting it gets is if one opens its mouth to cool down, then an argument with miss America. She got her driving licence when she was 14. I thought this was too young, but instead of having a rational conversation about anything she just shouts you down then says 'oh my god! Forget it!' hmm. Me and courtney resumed music in ears activity.
19:52 At Dinner we had a hard time finding anywhere in Chau Doc to eat. After walking all round town we ended up in a local place across from the hotel. MA ordered vegetable spring rolls and once they arrived began to complain that they were fried. When she eventually bit into one, only after me, Neil and Courtney had eaten one first to discover they were taro spring rolls, she complained even more. She ate half of one, threw it down and then ordered what courtney was eating which was chicken and veg stir fry. It arrived sometime later and gave her even more cause for extremely loud complaint as I had pepper sprinkled on top, to which her hollers about hating pepper and then removing the whole top layer caused further amusement for me and Courtney, particularly later that night when we could free our stifled giggling.
22:56 Me and C had a really good chat and giggle about stuff and had a later night than planned. Alarms set for 6 so as not to be late in the morning. Decided that tomorrow we'll list the professions we think happy pants should and should not do.
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Mummers on

Come on guys!
Anyone know the true meaning of the fridge sticker/ crisp emblem/ American Indian tribe tattoo??

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