Chau Doc Travel Blog› entry 172 of 254 › view all entries
After a quick breakfast, we hailed two Xe Loi and got dropped at the bus station. From the minute we stepped off, we were mobbed by crowds of Vietnamese, all asking "Where you go?" We were hussled to the ticket office by a woman who was quicker than everyone else, and then marched to her minivan, which can only be described as a rustbucket. We all had a seat however, and it didn't seem to be too crowded.
Two hours later, and we arrived in Chau Doc, the nearest major town to the border with Cambodia. We each got in a cyclo, our first of the trip, a very pleasant way to travel, despite the poor blokes who have to pedal! We checked into a smart guest house, a bargain for $10 a room.
After a quick look around a local temple and a bite to eat at an authentic cafe (Nicola was very brave and ordered bitter melon soup, which actually tasted reasonably good!) we headed for the river and another short boat trip. The boat was smaller this time, and rocked alarmingly as we all boarded. Our boat lady took us across the river to see a floating village, where all the houses are built on oil drums and anchored in place. Unlike the small houses built on stilts in other parts of the delta, these are quite large and spaced out. People were sat on their verandas, looking after children and doing household chores. Lots of young children waved at us as we floated by. Many of the houses make a living from fish farming; the fish are raised in metal nets underneath the house until they reach about a kg in weight. Overall, about 15,000 tonnes of fish are exported from this part of the delta annually.
We decided a treat was in order tonight and had cocktails and dinner at the Victoria Hotel (in our defence, we had attempted to eat at a local cafe of the plastic chair variety, but the food did not appeal, and there were no vegetarian options) - credit cards come in very handy.