Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Day 20 - River Cruise Day 9 - Sa Dec

Today we spent the morning in Sa Dec, in the Mekong Delta in Dong Thap Province, a river port as well as an agricultural and industrial trading centre. We went ashore in a little boat and explored the market along the river side.

We went first to the Cao Dai Temple in My Tho where all religions are worshipped, Christianity, Goddess, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, the cham worship of ancestors just to name a few.

We visited the private garden of a gentlemen who has spent over 30 years growing amazing awarding winning bonsai trees, which are today priceless.

Then we walked through the markets, just being in the market brings your being alive, every sense you have is heightened, and you experience every emotion you know from joy, to horror, to awe and then just pure amazement. Here the incense seller has an array of offerings, everywhere you are in asia, seems to have the scent of some form of incense.

Vietnamese take away, inside this wrapped leaf is rice, chilli, garlic, peppers and salt I think you just purchased the size to suit your appetite, you then placed in a fire or coals of a fire and when the leaf turned a yellowy brown the inside was ready to eat.

Asian butcher - no refrigeration or coverings to stop the dust, flys or foreign objects from adding to the meat you purchased.

Dried fish on the left different shrimps and on the right fish.

Of course there is also fresh fish for purchase beside the skinned frogs.

Or perhaps snails are more to your liking.

Here is the fresh vegetable stall, I must say that there are not many of these in comparison to the meats, fish, frogs, snails and snakes etc on offer.

We then visited the old house of Huynh Thuy Le, the lover of the french writer Marguerite Duras, which is now known as the Lover's House after the film made of the couple.

It was then back on board for lunch as we sailed under the bridge financed by Australia, in the exact likeness to the bridge in Sydney called the Anzac Bridge.

After lunch we went ashore to visit Cai Be to visit the French Gothic Cathedral.

We also visited a rice paper factory, here you see a gentleman making a rice equivalent to popcorn. using the black river sand in a large hot wok to pop the rice.

This lady is making a rice brittle, from sugar palm juice.

At this same establishment we were offered to have a toast with rice wine, about 35% alcohol, which was then followed by a toast with snake wine in which a real cobra snake in left in the wine for at least 6 months, Kevin tried both, however he couldn't taste anything above the strength of the alcohol.

This lady is making rice paper which we use to make things like spring rolls and rice paper rolls.

 We then went to the Gothic Cathedral, such a strange building here in Asia.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Day 19 - River Cruise Day 8 - Tan Chau

 Today we spent the morning in Tan Chau and had personal rickshaws (Xe Loi) and visited a silk factory and a straw mat factory.

The Silk making factory was so interesting, this machine takes 2 1/2 hours to thread which I think is amazing as it has about 5,000 threads.

Then it was back on the rickshaws to the rattan mat factory where the mostly women work making the mats, they are paid by the completed mat for which they receive 50 cents, one mat takes approximately 2 hours to complete. These ladies are very fortunate as they work inside where they are sheltered from the rain and the sun and are able to sit down, being able to have their children with them is another big incentive to wish to work for the company.

 This lady dyes the straws for the mat, she is paid more to do this job however is expected to dye about 100kg per day. Because of the heat and humidity here in Vietnam the people sleep on these mats lying on there floors without any padding as this is cooler than our style of beds with mattresses.

We then boarded a small boat for a ride to the green island, where we went ashore and walked amongst the village, very interesting to see how they grow their crops, raise their chickens etc. and set up their homes. This beautiful lotus pool was between some of the homes, just so peaceful and beautiful.

Vietnam is the second largest exporter of rice after Thailand, the Mekong Delta produces about half of the total of Vietnam's rice output. In fact, the delta produces more rice than Korea and Japan together.

Here is the entrance to one of the wedding celebrations we are seeing on a daily basis here with the bride and grooms photos on the right, Kevin was offered a glass of rice wine as we walked past to help celebration to good fortune of the couple.