The Mekong Delta: Day 3 Saigon
It was a long trip to the Mekong Delta. We drove out in the (thankfully) air conditioned bus through the busy Saigon roads early in the morning. There were motorcycles everywhere with their riders wearing all sorts of helmets … even baseball caps with straps on them! I doubt I could drive with so many motorcycles zooming every-which-way, darting left and right!
We got to a rest stop which had the most amazingly beautiful lotus pond. I spent quite a while, just taking photos of the glorious blooms, which looked so beautiful as they opened in the morning sun.
We traveled on until we finally reached the jetty where the Team all piled into a river boat.
The attendant opened up coconuts for us to drink whilst we went past fish farms and fishing boats… we spotted shrimp boats, recognisable with their huge lights, which they use to attract the shrimp into the nets.
I was reminded of my dive trip in the Similan Islands, Thailand, where on one night, our live-aboard dive boat anchored amongst these shrimp boats which, like on a slilent cue at the stroke of midnight, turned off their lights to lift up their nets full of shrimp … it was a beautiful sight as the sky lit up with diamonds, as suddenly all the stars seems to switch on in the black, black night.
We reached one of the islands in the middle of the Mekong River … yes, the river is 3km wide! There, we got to see how the Vietnamese candy was made, mainly by hand, and then was serenaded with traditional songs whilst we ate the local fruits … nangka, mangoes, watermelon and drank the local tea.
The girls managed to get some more souvenirs here too, as there were plenty of little stalls selling their craft. These nurses are compulsive shoppers!
Once we were ready to explore again, we started walking into the jungle. The next stop was to a bee farm, where my son, Shahbir, held up a huge python for the girls to stroke … he was totally unafraid!
Shahbir is used to snakes, as he has been a regular volunteer at our local zoo. He works with the animals, feeding and cleaning the cages of hippos, bears and yes … snakes … so Shahbir was totally cool with the python wrapped around his shoulders!
I stayed far, far, far away … snakes are a big feature in my ‘favourite’ nightmare! I DO NOT like snakes!!
We drank fresh honey tea with bee pollen and I bought some pots of pure royal jelly … the lady said that it was the most nutritious food for the Queen Bee … hmm … if the queen is fed it, then I’d like a taste!
Onward we went, deeper into the undergrowth until we got to a stream.
Wow!!! We were going to get into sampans, wear those hats and go down one of the streams, back to the boats!
Lynn almost capsized her sampan when she lost her footing and stepped on the edge instead of the plank!
The sampans whizzed past the villagers’ homes as the lady who paddled for us manouvered the waters … what an exciting ride we had back to the river.
Later on the bus back, the girls couldn’t stop talking about the sampan rides … that was the highlight of the Mekong Delta adventure!
We headed back again with a brief stop at a Lacquerware Factory, where we got to see how they made those beautiful bowls and pictures using mother-of-pearl, egg shells and paint. It was laborious work but the pieces once made, were so, so, beautiful.
To my utter surprise, I bumped into one of my parent’s friends at the factory … obviously Vietnam is a popular spot for Malaysians!
Tired, we were … but there was more!
The last stop for the day was a Water Puppet Show!
We trouped into the darkened theater … it reminded me of the cinemas my dad and I used to go to … and waited impatiently for the show to start.
The singers and musicians sang whilst the puppets danced and told a tale. Unfortunately it was in Vietnamese so we didn’t understand a thing!
The puppets moved through the water which was as muddy as the Mekong Delta!
After the show the puppeteers came out to the applause of us all … we left trying to figure out how they moved the puppets, making them dance across the water.
What a day!
We still had the energy to do more shopping though!
Thank goodness the hotel was just a few meters from the girls favourite shopping destination …. Ben Than Market!
So back to the hotel for a quick rest and off we went again … I needed to get new suitcases to bring back the stuff I bought!
What a holiday!! :0