This picture is a little blurry but I like it anyway. On my second day in Vietnam we went on a boat tour of the Mekong Delta. We had to get up early so we could make it in time to see the floating markets in action. Despite out early departure the river was already buzzing with activity. We weren’t far into our journey when we came across this man checking his fishing nets.
When we arrived in the Mekong Delta it was late evening. There was an old lady sat in our lobby who offered to arrange a guide for us in the morning. I was a little suspicious of this seemingly too convenient option, particularly as a guy who had been on our bus repeatedly tried to direct us to the wrong hotel just before our arrival.
But, it was late and we knew we needed an early start to get to the markets so we decided to go for it. She didn’t let us down as she escorted us to meet our guide who would take us out for the day. She picked up a load of reeds on the way and spent most of the day making little handicrafts for us as she meandered through the markets and streams that make up the Mekong.
While on a boat tour of the Mekong delta, we stopped for a coffee in a small waterside guesthouse before visiting a rice paper factory. Upon returning to our boat, we came across another boat guide deftly dissecting a pineapple with a big knife. After exchanging what seemed like some cheeky comments with our guide, he finished removing every ounce of skin from the pineapple, while seeming to preserve 99% of the fruit. Then he handed us half, which we gladly accepted.
As we kick off the 2017 working year, it seems fitting to post a photo of the lady that got my Vietnam trip going for me. As I was sat, tired from the long journey, and queasy from the small boat I was in on my first day in the Mekong Delta, my mood was lifted by my first Vietnamese coffee. It was delicious and gave me a jolt of caffeine that set me up for the day. It also resulted in me talking non-stop for the next hour, as my travel buddy can attest.
The coffee is being served by the lady in the small boat in the middle of this picture, who stopped to deliver her wares to each boat at the market. She had everything she needed to make hot or iced coffee on board, and blend it with super sweet, condensed milk. I’m pretty sure my face looked a lot like the kid on the left before I had a cup too.
Today’s photo follows on from the photo of the rice paper drying in the sun. This is the bow of the sampan that we hired to take us out to the Mekong Delta’s floating markets. We had based ourselves in Can Tho and arrived there the night before we planned on going on a tour. We turned up without anywhere to stay booked and no real idea how to book a boat for the next morning. Using our trusty guidebooks we decided on a place right on the waterfront and were happy to find out they had a room available. Shortly after checking in a very smiley old lady who had been sat quietly in the lobby approached and asked if we were interested in a tour. She had a book of photos and a map of the route. Unsure how we’d go about getting a boat at sunrise the next morning we decided to assume her price was fair enough and book. We went to sleep happy in the fact that we’d found a boat for the morning.
Sure enough, the next morning we were greeted in the street by the same lady who escorted us to our boat. We did realise that had we waited until the next morning to find a boat we’d have been fine. The waterfront was abuzz with locals as soon as there was a hint of light. This included numerous other old ladies offering boat rides to every Westerner within earshot.
We were happy with our tour guide, who drove the boat while constantly weaving reeds into various bits and pieces. The “roses” you see here were particularly impressive!!