Friday, October 15, 2010

Mekong Delta Homestay

Hi all,
I'm writing from Hanoi after an overnight sleeper train so apologies if this doesn't make too much sense as I feel a bit delerious.

Day 3-4 in Vietnam was a homestay on the Mekong Delta river. We took a bus to the port in the small town of Cai Be and boarded a boat to our homestay. Along the way we stopped at a couple of family-run businesses which included rice paper, popcorn and rice wine. At each stop they have an array of souvenirs and local produce which they are hoping you will buy as a sort of payment for intruding on their day-to-day life but nothing has interested me so far - I'm not really all that keen on souvenirs.
On our way to our homestay the rain set in and luckily our boat had cover otherwise all of our stuff would have got soaked. It was a nice trip anyway.
We arrived at our homestay and realised it was more like a camp type set up - not the real deal. We each had a room with a double bed, mosquito net and relatively clean toilets although none of us decided to shower there. Our tour leader Minh took us to the only place in the small village who served cold beer and we knocked back a few. Pat was even invited to shot some rice wine that a couple of local guys were drinking. The custom is that you drink half the shot glass and then eat something after that. Pat was rather unimpressed with his hardly-ripe banana...We returned back to the homestay and sat down for dinner and a few (for some a few too many) Saigon Lagers. We actually drunk that 'bar' dry! It was a good night where everyone got to know each other better. It was a pretty good sleep and in the morning Pat and I got up early and walked over to the local market. There were all types of produce there - fresh fish, ducks, herbs, meat plus the everyday living essentials. My fondest memory of that market was a young lady with two ducks in a plastic shopping bag hopping on her scooter ready for the journey home. I half felt sorry for the ducks - they were actually leaning on her leg as she drove off unbeknowns to them that soon there existence would be no more and someone would be enjoying them for lunch or dinner. On our way back to base at Saigon we stopped at a few more places. The most exciting was to stop at a garden and meet a 93 year old lady who was just adorable. She even invited us to a drink of snake wine - something that our leader said was very rare as it was extremely expensive. Many Vietnamese people drink snake wine as they believe it is good for your health, particularly your back. I wasn't too keen on drinking it but also didn't want to offend the lady so worked myself up and down it went. It wasn't as bad as the rice wine we'd had the night before! On our boat ride back we also saw the floating market village at Cai Be where people are selling anything and everyghing.
Pics coming soon! More posts coming soon!
Over and Out XOXO

1 comment:

J said...

Love reading your stories Pete..
Miss you!!
Can't wait to catch up when you get back xx