Mekong Delta...The Father, the Snake, the Guinea Pigs, the Pony and Mr. A.

Mekong Delta Travel Blog

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One of the boats I saw along the stream

The day before I left Vietnam for Brunei, I decided to end my trip there by visiting the Mekong Delta. The night before, during my first travelbuddy meet up in Saigon for Christmas celebration, I got a useful tip from Rini (TB member Rintjez) on how to do a half day trip there.

I woke up very early that day as I need to be at Sinh Cafe by 7am and get the bus ticket to Mekong Delta. The place was already swarming with anxious tourists, waiting for their buses. I bought my ticket and just to make sure that I wouldn't miss my flight back home, I asked the guy at the counter the time the bus would return to Saigon...6pm he reassured. So I was relieved.

Moving from our small boat to our big boat
My bus was due to arrive at 8.30am...I had more than an hour to spare so I went across the road to a small vietnamese restaurant to have breakfast. The food was okay, I had some bread and hot chocolate. I looked at my watch and realised that it was already 8am, so I went back to Sinh Cafe hoping for my bus to come soon. 8.30 came and still no sign of my bus...I felt a little annoyed but sleepy at the same time (I didn't have enough sleep last night after the Christmas eve meet up with the TB members..didn't get back to my hotel til after midnight) Then, while waiting, I remembered something...I haven't had COFFEE! so I ran back to the restaurant and ordered a cup...vietnamese one of course.

My bus didn't arrive on time (surprise surprise) so I waited for another hour with the rest of tourists, listening to a blind beggar playing a harmonica while his daughter steered him through the crowd, rejecting every novel offered by salespeople carrying tall stacks of books, while my eyes studied everyone around me.

hive
..funny how people behave in a crowd. My eyes squinted everytime there was a bus stopping infront of us, the sign I was looking for Mekong-1 day trip. So far all I could see was Mekong 2 or 3 days trip or signs with names of other places. I was getting nervous, it was already 8.45 and still no sign of my bus. The crowd was getting thinner and my pulse was racing faster. I CANT MISS MY BUS!! I was crying in my head. So I decided to ask one of the men who I supposed was incharge of ushering the passengers to the right bus. Boy, was I glad I did. As it turned out, he was looking for one more passenger going to Mekong Delta for a one day trip -- ME! I read the sign on the bus, and it didn't say Mekong Delta at all...it was saying somethingelse...some code or something.
boat carrying gravels
..HOW WAS I SUPPOSE TO KNOW THAT WAS THE BUS I WAS SUPPOSE TO TAKE!

I got on board and quickly made a beeline to the only empty seat available (I knew that was mine...lucky I was not in America, I would probably received angry stares from the other passengers). Sighing relieve, I rummaged through my bag and took my ipod out, trying to ease myself from the brief panic attack a few minutes ago. The journey to Mekong Delta was going to be an easy three hour ride. Ample time to numb my bum. So I thought I better made some new friends and tried to engage in a conversation with the person sitting next to me. She was a vietnamese lady and her English was as bad as my Vietnamese. The conversation quickly died before we even made it to the first hour of our trip.

there were many kind of boats on Mekong
So I returned to my ipod. My stupor mode was distracted when our tourguide started to brief everyone on board about the trip. His spoke English quite well, though his pronunciation of some words were rather funny I think. He even managed to crack some jokes that made us laugh. He referred to the toilet as "Happy room" and insisted on people who could not swim not to take the same boat with him as he could not swim too...ha ha...hey it was funny when he said it then.

Somewhere between Saigon and Mekong, the bus made a pit-stop to refuel. Everyone got off the bus to stretch legs, many of us queued outside the "Happy Room". Initially I was in the line, but I gave up eventually and walked away to the filling station. Another guy, was there too, I saw him on the bus earlier that day but didn't pay much attention.

different shapes
I wondered if he could speak English so I said hi (Hey I was really bored okay) He was American, from Boston. A very friendly one too! His name was Mr A. I told him that I was from Brunei and he said "Ahhh.." I was not convinced that he really knew where Brunei was so I asked him if he had ever heard of the place. He said yes and said that Brunei was in the middle-east...RIGHT! So, again, for the hundredth time, I gave someone in Vietnam a brief geography lesson about Brunei. Our ten-minute pitstop was up and we got on the bus again to resume our journey to Mekong.

We made it to Mekong Delta three hours later. The weather was fine, though the sky was slowly turning grey, promising heavy rain sometime that day. But that didn't deter the enthusiasm of the people in my group, everybody was smiling with glee, taking pictures of whatever they found interesting and unusual to their eyes.

different colours
The drop-off point was actually a pier, well-built to welcome every guests there. Two souvenir shops could be seen from outside, one of them was called "Coconut Candy"...cute name, made me hungry somehow, but I had not a clue why it was called that until later that day.

I wasn't sure where I was suppose to go from there, but I noticed that people were making their way between to the souvenir shops and to the jetty so I did what everyone else would do...follow the crowd. I met Mr A again, and we decided to stay together throughout the journey, noone else (except for the tourguide) could speak English so we thought it would be a good idea if we kept each other company.

Something about Mr A...

He was in his mid 30s, single, and was travelling around the world before starting a new job in LA.

This boy was only 14..
From the way he sounds, he was a family kinda guy, very close to his mother and was a tolerant brothers.

Back to Mekong story...

Our journey started with a boat ride. It was a wooden boat that could load possibly around 30 people at one time. We sat at the very back to avoid getting deaf from the sound coming out from the speaker that was nailed facing forward right where the passengers sat. Mr A and I had some nice conversations...I guess it is true what people say, we tend to be open when talking to strangers. Suddenly we could hear our tourguide talking again through the speaker "MY FAMILY!" (he was referring to us the passengers) and he went on with his elaborate explanation of the activities that he had instore for us. Mr A and I were laughing when we heard him calling us "My family" so we gave our tourguide a new nickname.

One of the big bridges along our way to Mekong
.The father.

Our first stop was a restaurant across the river. It took us some 20 minutes to get there (the boat was cruising slow). The restaurant was nice and we were served with some rice and chicken (eggs for me). Mr A and I sat together at one table and was chit chatting about our lives when The father came up to us and asked us if we wanted to have a special cuisine which made up of a deep fried fish (the fish look like it was still alive when it was fried! it had that scary look) we both turned it down (because of the look). Then out of the blue, Father asked Mr A and I if we were single, we both said yes, then he said we both should date! I turned red and I could see Mr A looked embarrassed too but he kept his cool and smiled anyway. To get over the embarrassment quickly, we told him that we just got married and that was our "honeymoon"! we all laughed and he walked away to entertain the other passengers, leaving us both in a rather awkward silence (still smiling haha).

Pimp my ride!
Mr A was quick and started a new topic to talk about (are all American men this thoughtful?! haha) He was a real gentleman indeed. He didn't order any beer to respect me and bought us soda instead. (I was screaming inside...are you that perfect?)

After lunch we walked back to the jetty and got back on the boat. A few minutes later, the boat made another stop, this time to a Longan farm. To those who don't know what Longan is, it is a local fruit, with brown skin and white flesh. It has black seed and taste sweet. I don't really like the taste. We walked for a few minutes and then we reached to a big hut that looks like a small hall made of bamboo. There we were entertained by some local singers singing folk songs of the people from Da Nang. According to our tourguide, the people from the highland went to work at the river in Mekong to earn money.

Coconut Candy souvenir shop
They left their families for a long time because of that. To entertain themselves, they sing love songs to remember their loved ones back at home....how touching. There was another souvenir shop in the hut, so I went to look what they had to sell. Handbag made of coconut shell (that was interesting), some shirts, and chunky jeweleries made of wood. I remembered Mr A telling me that he was looking for something for his brother. I suggested one of the necklaces with a star pendant made of wood. He liked it too so he bought it ... (at this point, I realised that he was going to say yes to everything I suggested lol)

We left the hut and walked through the jungle until we reach a small road. There were modern houses there made of concrete, looking at the road, it made me wonder how they moved all the cement and sand to the building site.

I forgot where this was
We reached the main road a few minutes later and I couldn't believe what I saw then...PONIES! they were going to be our transportation to the next stop. With a very heavy feeling and guilt, I climbed up the carriage, apologizing profusely to the pony.

Our next stop was another surprise for me. There were a 3 metres python, bees and guinea pigs. Some of the tourists took pictures with the python, I was too scared and Mr A was too disgusted (i think he was scared too lol) our tourguide were showing a beenest with bees still on it. I watched with cautious not to get stung by one. Before we left there, we saw two guinea pigs inside a cage (suddenly I felt like I was in a zoo). Mr A came up with a morbid theory that the guinea pigs were probably the snake's meal.

The drop off point cum jetty
..okay that was disgusting.

The last segment of the trip was a slow boat trip down a stream. Mr A promised me that he would save me if I ever fall out of the boat (how sweet...earlier I told him that I couldnt swim...I really cant) the boat was rowed by an old woman and a man. They were really strong as there were like six of us in the boat altogether. The boat glided gently down the stream..I felt like I was in Italy on a gondola hehe. The boat took us to the first boat we got on to and climbed back on it.

Time went really fast when you are having fun. Before I knew it, it was almost four. We returned to our bus...Mr A and I decided to sit together. We reached Saigon around 6 (good timing) and I quickly got off the bus to find a taxi. Arthur volunteered to accompany me (what a gentleman!) When we finally reached my hotel half an hour later,  we said our goodbye and ended our "honeymoon" with a handshake .

Mr A
.. (why didnt u kiss me dammit! lol)  

My flight to Brunei was at 9 so I had to rush. I made a mistake that day and didn't pack my stuff earlier (silly Nikie!) so I ended up just cramming all my clothes in my backpack (this is why it is important to organise your stuff in your backpack, my backpack looked like a bolster pillow about to explode! LOL) and quickly ran down to the receptionist and asked her to call for the taxi. The taxi arrived minutes later and just when I thought everything was settled, the road to the airport was absolutely packed! (PERFECT!) I reached the airport some 45 minutes later. I read the meter and paid the driver the amount, I didnt have the exact amount to give so I gave him a round note...taxi driver didn't give me the change (f***!) I had not shower, my backpack looked like a bolster pillow and I was on the verge of missing my flight, and now my taxi driver was ripping me off! NEVERMIND! I said and took my backpack and walked quickly into the airport.

Poor little guinea pigs

Soon Nikie...soon you'll be in your plane and fly back to Brunei...back to my boudoir, I miss my car, I miss clean air (must detox!) and I miss my family. I checked in my backpack, and was about to get through immigration when the lady at the counter told me that I needed to fill in the immigration form first... now how come nobody told me that?? So I walked back outside and saw some people filling in forms (that must be it) but no form around..so I asked one of the man at the check in counter...he gave me the form (I was curious why the lady at the counter where I checked in my backpack didn't give me the stupid form) so back to the immigration I went, the lady who I met first at the immigration already left her counter, so I went to the only available counter, two men in uniform with very unfriendly look stood behind it.

Nope thats not bob marley
He got through my passport, looked at me once, twice, then his friend joined him, looked at me, once, twice, thrice (I was standing there trying to look like how I look in the passport...I looked stupid in the passport)...I think they were curious why it was written "M" in my passport, took them like five minutes to figured that out. Then he asked for the cutting of my immigration entry form (the one that I filled in some ten days ago! how the heck should I know where it was...Ive been travelling, and that paper was soooo small). So I asked them if they were not going to allow me to go back to my country without that that small paper...they smiled and said of course you can...THANK GOD!. They finally let me go...I didnt want to turn back, worried if they might want to stop me for further "interrogration".
work in progress
It's hard being a "woman" like me.

When I finally made it to the gate, I heard the announcement saying that my flight had been delayed...WHAT?! I was tired, dirty, HUNGRY! and my flight was delayed... I didn't deserve it. So I sat there at the waiting gallery.. trying to pull myself together. I started thinking about what happened in Mekong Delta... Father the tourguide, the scary look snake, the innocent guinea pigs, the tortured ponies...and the sweet and charming Mr. A...oh well...you can't have everything...

 

 

borneonikieta says:
LOL ... In June my dear... wait till June hahah
Posted on: Jan 16, 2009
rintjez says:
Tell me more about Mr.A! Hahaha!
Posted on: Jan 15, 2009
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One of the boats I saw along the s…
One of the boats I saw along the …
Moving from our small boat to our …
Moving from our small boat to our…
hive
hive
boat carrying gravels
boat carrying gravels
there were many kind of boats on M…
there were many kind of boats on …
different shapes
different shapes
different colours
different colours
This boy was only 14..
This boy was only 14..
One of the big bridges along our w…
One of the big bridges along our …
Pimp my ride!
Pimp my ride!
Coconut Candy souvenir shop
Coconut Candy souvenir shop
I forgot where this was
I forgot where this was
The drop off point cum jetty
The drop off point cum jetty
Mr A
Mr A
Poor little guinea pigs
Poor little guinea pigs
Nope thats not bob marley
Nope thats not bob marley
work in progress
work in progress
walk through the jungle
walk through the jungle
Outside sinh cafe
Outside sinh cafe
more motorcycles
more motorcycles
Our tourguide
Our tourguide
My little pony
My little pony
Im sorry!! Im sorry!!
Im sorry!! Im sorry!!
The python
The python
All aboard!
All aboard!
Our rower
Our rower
The singer
The singer
Another singer
Another singer
okay there were three of them
okay there were three of them
inside coconut candy shop
inside coconut candy shop
row row row your boat!
row row row your boat!
gently down the stream...
gently down the stream...
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Mekong Delta
photo by: borneonikieta