Mekong Delta

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2008 Trip

Journal of our trip July - August 2008

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China Beach Danang

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Hoi An

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Mekong Delta

The Alley

Around Saigon

Park, Water Puppets, Circle Sportif

Ben Thanh Market at Night

Cholon Market

Ana Mandara - Dalat

Church of Saint Marie - Dalat

Crazy House - Dalat

Around the University - Dalat

Around Dalat


Mekong Delta
One of the places that I always like to go is a tour of the Mekong Delta. This year Hoa and I went for two days. One of the really neat things of this tour is that for 7 years now we get to see interesting new things and also we see some things that never change. We go to new places that make Coconut Candy, puffed rice candy and rice paper. This time we also got to see the rice processing plant however the dust in the air made all my photos look like they were taken in a snow storm. Perhaps next time.

We took a bus to My Tho then got a boat out onto the Mekong River. These houses and businesses are out over the river on stilts.

This machine is mixing the coconut juice and sugar for the candy.

The coconut candy has cooled and is now being cut so it can be hand wrapped. All this with little mechanization.
Making Rice paper
This lady spoons out a solution of cooked rice that has a texture like milk.

After the rice solution cooks over the inverted bowl she lifts it off and places it on bamboo forms.
Making puffed rice candy
A bowl filled with black sand is heated over a fire of nut shells. Then rice is added. The hot sand makes the rice heat evenly then it puffs up.

Here we see the rice puffing in the black sand. After it puffs up it is poured through a sieve to remove the puffed rice from the sand. The sand is returned to puff more rice and the puffed rice is added to a mixture of coconut and sugar then rolled out and cut into blocks.

We sailed along a canal and saw this house.

Another house along the canal

One of many bridges over one of the many side canals.

Lady in a boat

After a while we stopped and went down a long walk to a restaurant along a road.

We are offered our choice of three entrees. These Shrimp. Eight large shrimp which we are told will serve two. The two German ladies had the shrimp. They told us they had opted to sleep on the boat. Hoa and I were a little less adventurous. We both decided to get rooms in the hotel.

And this is the famous Elephant ear fish. It is fried in oil and served in a rack that holds it as though it is swimming. This is the same dish they served since 2001 in four different restaurants.

another of those beautiful arched bridges with children playing on it.

A lady selling souvenirs by the landing.

As we leave we see the children on the bridge once again.

The ferry that took us over to Can Tho. There were 8 of these in motion over the crossing at all times, looking much like a well practiced ballet.

Behind our hotel was an alley that had many stores. This alley was mostly machinery and hardware. There were stores that sold gears, belts, bearings, and some that sold nuts and bolts, many were used, some were very used. They were just closing up when we arrived at the hotel in the early evening. Hoa and I went out to dinner down by the water front. It was very nice.

This store sold wheels and casters of all sizes.

In the morning we had breakfast in the hotel and were off to see the floating market. On the way down the river we passed many buildings on the water.
The floating market
The water was a little rough as we came to the floating market. Each boat has one of what they are selling up on their mast. This boat has several things. One is Pineapples and they were delicious.

This is Giap, the daughter of the man who took us out in the floating market. He had a small boat and we went all over the market. Unfortunately it began to rain and we got wet in spite of the raincoats the boatman's daughter sold us.

Giap and Hoa

An interesting house boat. The house looks a little bigger than the boat.

More boats and people along the water front.

At the rice processing plant there was a lady in a boat selling plants.

After the second day out on the river we returned to our hotel and sat out back waiting for the bus back to Saigon. We spent our time talking to the people in the shops. It was a lot of fun. I find that people try to understand my humble attempts at Vietnamese. Sometimes they would say something and I could comment and they were so happy. Hoa found a dog tied to a stand and asked the lady if she could play with the dog. Hoa sent a boy out to buy some pork at a stand. The boy returned but the dog would not eat. We thought that maybe he had eaten but when the lady returned she said he will eat anything except pork.

Someone said "clouds", I said Mua Qua, much rain. They all laughed. Soon it began to rain and we sat out there under the overhang from the building talking to the people and having a good time.