Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vietnam: Mekong Delta

Another day tour was to the Mekong Delta area. On this tour we got to see the countryside and how the river villages live. It was a bit rushed and hokey as tours can sometimes be, but still gave us a different view of Vietnam from the city of Saigon.
Lots of bright green rice paddies on our trip to the delta. The weather was a little overcast so the color isn't quite right, but you still get the idea.
This is the boat we used to travel the delta area.
A barge carrying sugar cane. The photo below shows the front of the boat. The sailors paint eyes on the front of the boats to scare away the snakes in the water. We didn't see any snakes so I assume the eyes were working. ;)

Our first stop was a little island that sold honey, jams and candies to the tourists. The whole area was really a tourist attraction so I'm not sure how authentic any of it really was, but it seemed honest enough and we did see some bee keepers and honey combs. Here we were served honey tea with bee pollen and got to try some royal jelly and a few snacks.  And then, of course, were urged to buy all of it to take home with us.
The next island stop was to taste the fruits of Vietnam and listen to some local music. The music was very Eastern, high pitched and whiny to our ears. We didn't care for it much, but was interesting to hear. The fruits were interesting as well and we were impressed to find that we had seen all but one in Abu Dhabi.

The next island stop was were they make coconut candy. Above is how they remove the outer casing from the coconut. Below is the coconut candy caramel that they lay out to cool in this grooved tray.
The candy is cut into pieces once cooled and then wrapped first in rice paper (that you can eat) and then in wrapping paper. All by hand. It was pretty good and we ended up buying some to take home.

I'm not really sure why they had a python in a box, but when we were offered a chance to hold it for photos, Brian stepped right up! I decided to pass on the experience.
After lunch, we had a nice boat ride on the river. It was beautiful and really peaceful. We each got a traditional Vietnamese hat to shade us from the sun and while stunningly attractive, we resisted the urge to bring a pair back with us. :)

It was a fun day and gave us the opportunity to see another side of the Vietnamese culture.

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