04.03.2011 28 °C
We just arrived back in Ho Chi Minh City after a day excursion to the Mekong Delta. The Mekong River flows through China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and just before it dumps into the South China Sea, the river branches off into many different sections, forming the Mekong Delta.
The day began with an early morning bus ride to the river, where a small boat awaited. Our river navigator and tour guide was a local man named Bay and his son Lan, who gave us incredible insight about life in the Delta. Because of the waterways are so abundant and boats are easy to make, the river literally acts like a highway between cities and villages in the region.
The city of Can Tho is the “capital” of the Delta region and is located along the river. We travelled through the city and past under the newly built Can Tho Bridge, which is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Asia. We took a brief stop at an outdoor market to buy fresh local fruit – mango, pomelo, and jackfruit. Delicious!
It seems that life in the Delta revolves around the resources that the river provides, and it was quite amazing to see thriving villages situated along the many waterways. We made stops to purchase local crafts, taste local foods and interact with the interesting people of the Mekong Delta. My favorite part was the stop at the floating market, which is an interesting take on your average shopping experience but proof that the river is a lifeline for these people. It was organized chaos at its finest! We also stopped for an amazing meal upon a small barge and learned a very important lesson about eating with chopsticks – Never leave your chopsticks standing vertically in a rice bowl, it resembles the incense that are burned for the dead and is seen as highly offensive to Vietnamese.
Our day ended with a bus ride back to Ho Chi Minh City. Tomorrow is our last day in this amazing country, and I think we’ll spend it further exploring Ho Chi Minh City and doing some last minute shopping! Our tour guide suggested Ben Thahn Market because of its central location and has a wide variety of merchants, selling all sorts of things. Looking forward to it!