We have spent two days now on the Mekong Delta in a combination of being on the water on the boats and on the land whizzing to new destinations along the way via mini bus. The hotels we are in are 3 * so we have also regained some luxury which has made us all feel special and made the long days nice to end in white crisp sheets.
So yesterday, we left Saigon at about 8am and travelled for a few hours along the main highway of Vietnam. We then boarded the boat and saw a smallish floating market (we will be seeing a bigger one tomorrow and much earlier so will be able to see more trading happening) we then went on the water for a while and saw a small village, tasted honey tea, saw rice paper being made, saw Vietnam's version of pop corn (from rice) being made, was introduced to a few phythons and then we headed back to the shore line to board small rowing boats. There were four of us to a boat and we went through the most peaceful and beautiful part of the river before hitting land to taste local fruit. After a short walk and another small boat trip we landed at our lunch destination, where the food was prepared in front of us. We all tasted Elephant Fish which was de-boned and then made in to spring rolls in front of us.
After lunch we boarded the mini bus to take us to our overnight destination and hotel in Chau Doc (Did I mention the hotel was rather nice!!!)
After a lovely breakfast this morning we boarded the minibus to take us to the foot of the mountain in Chau Doc (Sam Mountain) we climbed this (only about 2km) and witnessed spectacular views - at the very top we were able to see Cambodia. (Chau Doc is only 4km away from the boarder). Climbing down the mountain was harder than going up it, 2km worth of stairs downhill and not all of them stable! However it was worth it!
After the mountain, we boarded two boats and saw a mosque, fish farm and spent about an hour on the water. Again the experience was really good!!!
Lunch soon followed and then back to the minibus to take us to our overnight destination. Ben has been the leader today and did a very good job of herding us. Tonight we ate in a western style cafe where burgers, chips and pizza were on the menu. (Happy faces all around!)
Tomorrow an early start to see more of the Mekong Delta and then back to Saigon. Not long till we will be home, eating through the various shopping requests that have been made and sharing the photos and memories from this trip. We have all missed home comforts and family, though have bonded as a group well. This experience has changed us all in some way - either being more confident, able to try new things, more adventurous with food and developed a love of travel of the beaten track.
Will be back in touch when we hit Saigon and our hotel (I will leave the students to explain about the decor on the walls of the Saigon hotel upon their return home!)
With love to all, Weeksey and Paddy xx