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July 13, 2004

The Mekong Delta

Having successfully avoided the dog markets, I found myself confronted with even worse sights at My Tho. I walked through the meat market with an Australian teacher called Sandii (who took photos to gross out her students) and saw live fish having their scales scraped off and frogs that had been skinned alive scrambling over each other in a twitching, pulpy pile.

But apart from that stomach churning incident, the one day tour of part of the Mekong (they pronounce it meh-kong) Delta was very interesting. It's known in Vietnam as "The River of the Nine-Headed Dragon" as there are nine major tributaries and it's where most of the country's rice is grown. We took boats along different rivers and streams, past huge cargo ships and car ferries, and tiny canoes and kids swimming. The water was full of silt and bobbing rubbish, but lined with palm trees and ferns. Along some of the banks were small scrappy huts on stilts which looked incredibly poor but invariably had TV aerials. I saw one woman empty a pail of waste into the river from her doorway, while at the same time in the next door hut, a woman pulled up a bucketful of the same water.

We took rowing boats (rowed by women as usual) to a bee farm, where we had some honey tea (with lemon and pollen) and I volunteered to stick my finger into a honeycomb crawling with bees. We were also taken to a coconut candy workshop (a forfeit of these tours is that you're expected to buy stuff, but these places were interesting). We went to Bentre Island for lunch, which was tofu or pork and packet noodles. And I thought I'd left my Ramen days behind me!

Posted by Rowena on July 13, 2004 09:53 AM
Category: Vietnam
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