“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” - Lao Tzu
Thursday, 28 October 2010
The Mekong Delta
I got picked up at 8am this morning by Tan (my motorbike rider from last night). I jumped on the back of his 100cc Honda Dream and we took off for the Mekong Delta... about 2.5 hours ride away from Saigon.
Apart from getting a very numb bum along the way, it was a great ride. Lovely to get out of the city, although we were never really out of industrialised areas for the entire 150km or so. But it was still very interesting. We stopped for a drink at a little cafe along the way, and it seems pretty standard to offer a heap of hammocks rather than seats to rest in. Great idea for taking a nap in.
We eventually arrived at My Tho where Tan and a river tour operator arranged a private tour of that part of the Mekong Delta.
Over the next 5 hours or so we cruised up and down and visited four islands in the Mekong delta and I learned about some of the local industry and lifestyle. We rowed down some beautiful canals on two of the islands and had a lovely lunch at a restaurant on one, including the biggest prawns I've ever seen. I handled a python and was offered a live cobra for lunch (they cut the head off in front of you, then you drink some cobra blood with vodka and they cook the snake for you for lunch). I went for the massive prawns and an elephant ear fish which was cooked and then made into spring rolls for me. Delicious!
After the river tour, Tan and I jumped on the bike to head back to Saigon. Unfortunately with about an hour to go, the heavens opened up into a torrential storm for the rest of the journey. I think Tan must have thought I was crazy because the rain didn't really bother me much, although it was heavy enough for the raindrops to be painful when they hit you in the face.
By the time we got back to my hotel I was a pro bike passenger, super nochalont, no-hands like the locals and not squealing like a little girl when trucks sped past few inches from my head with horns blaring.