Floating Markets, Flowers, and...No Beer at the Bar??
Can Tho Travel Blog› entry 73 of 98 › view all entries
Over the river the sun rises, bathing the water, the boats, and the quaint thatched huts in a warm golden glow as our smiling Vietnamese guide leads us onto his wooden boat. The receptionist of our hotel was right to suggest that we head out early on the river to see the floating markets, and as we set off, I'm in awe of the beautiful scene that unfolds.
Banana and Coconut palm trees, tropical flowers, and huts made of random scraps, precariously sitting over the water's edge pass by as we head downstream. There's boats to our right and left of all sizes, most, wooden with a red mask and white eyes painted on the front of them, which must have some sort of religious and historical meaning. Our guide tells us that they are eyes to guide the boat.
While our guide speaks almost no English, he is very handy with a coconut tree leaf, and keeps handing us little gifts he'd made while steering the boat, like a little propellor we hold to the wind, a bracelet, and even a ring, which he later showed us how to make ourselves, as well as picking a bouquet of flowers for me over the day. Soon enough we were at the first floating market, which was nothing like the floating docks attached to the shore that I'd imagined. Instead, the river is lined with boats overflowing with fresh fruits, fish, and other goodies. Some groups of people work together, throwing merchandise from one person to the other until they're loaded on the right boat, while others sit back lazily and wait for someone to pull up and buy something.
A naked, giggly girl to our left is being dipped in and out of the water as her Dad gives her a bath in the water and she attempts to wave to us several time and say 'hello,' which is what just about every child we pass does. I absolutely love how cute and friendly they are out here. After several warnings that the Vietnamese are 'probably the least friendly people in SE Asia,' it was nice to encounter so many friendly, smiling faces, welcoming us to their respective rice paper-making 'factory,' pig and fish farm, etc.
After seeing the second floating market, we made our way down a quieter part of the delta, and I really couldn't believe how exotic and beautiful of a place I had come to. 'I'm in Vietnam!' I keep thinking to myself. By now I should be used to being in crazy cool places like this, but it never gets old.
At our final stop where we could get fresh fruit and lunch, I held a small water snake that was actually pretty cool, but freaked out the British and Australian girls we met. It was nice to talk to a few Westerners after nearly a day and a half of being the only white people in sight. Don't get me wrong, I love the Vietnamese people, but there's a bit of a communication barrier that makes it a bit hard to get to know them. All showered and clean after we got back to shore, we headed out for food, stumbling across a crowded, bustling street market full of fruits and fish so fresh they was still flapping about in desperate gasps for air on their metal fate.
We spent the rest of the night on the hunt for a fruit smoothie and an elusive internet cafe, which we finally found in the big supermarket we first stopped in front of yesterday. After relaxing in the hotel for a few hours, we were off to find a beer, which again, seemed very elusive. We stopped at a bar playing the World Cup. No beer. No Beer! How do you play football and not serve beer? Very odd, but whatever. We finally found a small place and had a cold one before turning in to bed.