The Mekong River
We had breakfast and at 8:30 left on our Mekokg River tour with our Cu Chi Tunnel tour guide. After its 4.800 km journey from the Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong River splays across southern Vietnam in a web of waterways, exhausting itself at the South China Sea through 9 branches known as the Cuu Long (“nine dragons”). Its rivers, channels, and canals irrigate a land as large as Holland, spreading alluvium over rice fields that yield three crops per year while the rest of the country’s paddies muster only two.
We started off at Cai Be floating market and headed on our boat trip to Vinh Long. As we went along we noticed how the Mekong water was dark brown and how the hundreds of market sellers would hang their merchandise on posts on the boats so that customers knew exactly what they were selling. Along the ride we stopped off at some small land markets where Susana, Miguel and Pedro tried some snake liquor which they said was delicious and where we had the opportunity to se how the Vietnamese make popocorn using rice. In one of those markets, our tour guide offered us lunch, but to our surprise it was duck egg with a half-formed embryo inside. He cracked the egg and started eating it with a spoon as if it were yogurt. As he put the embryo in his mouth he would mix it with pepper and lemon.
When we declined his offer he gladly gobbled up the second egg with great delight.
Yummy! Duck Embryo!
We had lunch in what looked like someone’s home. As we entered we saw that they had a large Python snake in a cage ready to be eaten. Our tour guide asked if we wanted to put the snake on our necks. Daniel gladly offered himself as bait and we laughed and took pictures as he tried to maneuver the snake around. The owner took us to a table that overlooked and open sewer. As we tried to eat horrible Mekong fish, we noticed there was a burial site 1o meters away from us. We later discovered that the grandfather of the family had been buried there as a sign of respect. Well, we had it and gladly left and headed for land. However, before the story ended Leonor was bitten by a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) which as she reported was long and had big wings. We never knew what it was, but luckily there were no side effects.
Daniel and his pet Python
We returned to Ho Chi Minh City at about 100 Km an hour. The driver looked like he was desperate to get back to the city. We didn’t mind because so were we, but nothing could have prepared us for the ride of our lives. It’s hard to put it in words and is better explained if you see it with your own eyes (check out the video). During our return we were planning the amount of the tip we would give to driver and tour guide. We finally agreed to give each one of them 100.000 Dongs each (about 5 USD) which is great for the average Vietnamese that earns about 60 USD a month!
As we arrived in the city, again we asked the tour guide to drop us off at the Market and we gave them the tip. We went off to buy some more bags, t-shirts and statues and ended the day eating dinner at a nice, elegant restaurant with oriental and western cuisine. The ambience and food were great.