This is a sort of travelogue, experiences and observations combined with random contemplations,
of a trip through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam in Jan-March 2011. This blog is now closed.

Friday, 4 March 2011

My Tho

Can Tho is the biggest town in the delta, but that doesn’t mean that there is much more to do. The main activity is, once again, a trip on the river, and once again visiting floating markets - one wholesale market as the day before in Chau Doc, and one retailers market selling out of much smaller boats, to the public. In our own little boat, with our own boat driver, zig-zag in between the sellers and buyers of the market, or just plop-plop on the river. There is always something happening somewhere, either the loading of the rice boats, or some fishermen throwing their nets. Very relaxing to watch. The way to spend a Sunday morning.

(1, 2) The floating wholesale market. For somebody who loves taking pictures of boats, and of markets, floating markets are paradise....
(3) A buyer counting the pineapples.
(4) These huge boats are filled with rice husk, which is being used as cheap fuel in kilns.

(5, 6, 7) The retailers’ floating market, where selling is out of flat canoes.
My Tho, a few hours away, is a much smaller town, but located at the Tien Giang River, further downstream the delta, and much bigger than the Bassac. Water levels have become more dependent on the tide, less on whether it is the dry or wet season.The main activity is, guess what, a trip on the river, and because this place is much closer to Ho Chi Min City, it gets loads of day trippers, who all seem to arrive at around 10.30 am and leave again at 3 in the afternoon. They never see anything of the town, they are dumped at the jetty and packed off into tour boats. The fishing vessels here are a lot larger, they go all the way to the open sea. Another major business is sand winning, and transport to Ho Chi Min City. Tens of huge sand ships are awaiting high tide. But what most people come to see are the channels that lead into the several islands in the river that are being cultivated with fruit trees. Every inch is being used, quite impressive, especially because the channels itself give you the feeling you are somewhere deep in the jungle. We didn’t join the main tour, but did our own little exploration, and for the rest we spend the time on our balcony, overlooking the river. Very relaxing. The thing to do on a Monday afternoon.
(8) View from the hotel balcony, this guy is collecting empty tins with low tide.

(9) More view from the balcony, baskets and (10) sand barges awaiting high tide.

(11, 12) The backwater canals.
(13) And some more strange animals……
Incidentally, we found out that that are luxury busses connecting all main towns in Vietnam. Very comfortable, fully air-conditioned, they go just from one point to another, no stopping in between. If they would only tune down the Vietnamese comedy shows on in-flight entertainment screen….. give me Cambodian karaoke anytime.
Incidentally, too, and very disappointing, we have not yet found the Vietnamese food that we expected. So far, we have eaten better Vietnamese in London than in the Mekong Delta. But there is hope, the closer we get to Saigon, the better the food seems to get. Crispy eel, in My Tho. And steamed snakehead fish – don’t ask.

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