"When I was in Nam"
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog› entry 8 of 9 › view all entries
There are no McDonalds in Vietnam, so that is reason enough to visit the country if you ask me...
After a tiring bus journey from Camobida to Vietnam we reached Ho Chi Minh city (formally Saigon). We only had 7 short days in Vietnam but spent the first two days in the city due to John's bad belly and loose bowels!! When he was feeling better I booked us on a two day trip to the Mekong Delta, to see a bit further afield... The Mekong Delta is the region in Southeast Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of tributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southeastern Vietnam and we started by visiting the My Tho province which is a good few hours from Saigon.
After a bicycle ride with our group through the local village, we stopped for lunch...Surprisingly, nobody choose the roasted squirrel option on the menu, definatly not, having just cooed at the live squirrels in the cages in front of the restaurant! We walked along to a bee keeping farm where we could taste the fresh honey products and I was the only person in our group brave enough to hold the bee tray, which was swarming with stinging bees (without any protective equipment.
Next was a tropical fruit tasting session where some traditional Vietnamese music was being played. I have never seen most of the fruits before and tried to give them all a go, while John helped himself to the trays of pineapples on offer. We were then rowed back down a narrow inland stream/waterway, where we had to keep our hands inside the boat for fear of losing fingers to hungry crocodiles.! We whizzed down in no time as our fit rowers powered us through the water for an Indiana Jones experience. We parted ways with some of the group soon after, as they were only on the one day tour, and we were then driven a few hours further into the jungle to Can Tho, a remote area in the Mekong Delta.
After getting off our mini-bus 4 of us had to spread ourselves across one tuk tuk and a motorbike, with me ending up on the back of the bike clinging to the driver for dear life.....Sounds bad, but John ended up without even a seat, having to spread himself across the front of the tuk tuk and hope for a miracle. We stopped in what seemed like a bus, built up area, and at first we were disappointed at the thought of not having a more rural stay. But our fears were allayed when we were shown to a small longboat where we were about to be whisked many miles upstream. Our driver was also one of the people living in our homestay, and we met his two beautiful children who were also taking the boat with us.
After a few games the family invited us in for food, and they were very welcoming and friendly as they ensured all our needs were met. We dined on leaves, shoots, fish with head and tails and of course rice and rice paper, which on their instruction we combined together to make the equivalent of a Vietnamese burrito.
The next morning we were aching from the tiled bed we had slept on (how they do that each night Ill never know) and before sunrise we had a cold shower in their outside bathroom. Our breakfast was bread (no jam or honey or butter! and some of the local fruits. We then waved goodbye to the youngest girl who was heading off for some extra tuition with her school teacher. It was nice to see the money the family earned from our homestay going towards her education.
Back in Saigon we spent the next day at the war museum. Outside the main building were loads of U.S tanks and fighter planes, all relics of the not so long ago war. Inside we learnt all about the war from a Vietnamese perspective, which I have to say is very damming towards the U.S....There are countless stories of American brutality and un-necessary aggression (like using Agent Orange) which suggested that the Vietnamese bear a very serious grudge....All and all the museum was very interesting and it certainly was a good advert for peace as it reminded you of the horrors of war.
We enjoyed Vietnam despite the fact that Saigon has very heavy traffic including 3 million motorbikes, which makes crossing the road much like a game of high stakes dare! You have to walk out into the road as confidently as you can safe in the knowledge that the cars and bikes will see you and whizz around you.