Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

To end our stay in Vietnam we took a 4.5 hour bus ride from Saigon to the Mekong Delta where stayed in a tranquil home stay right on an inlet. The Nguyen Shack was nothing short of amazing. The grounds are gorgeous and our shack backed to the water, a place where we could relax in hammocks at night, enjoy a few drinks and watch the fireflies go buzzing by. 

The Nguyen Shack is a great place to visit as a family with plenty of room for kids to safely run around and explore. The girls enjoyed putting their feet in an abandoned boat with toe nibbling fish. 

Crossing the "monkey bridge"...because one looks like a clinging monkey while crossing

At the shack we met people from around the globe, all here to see the slower pace of life along the delta. One of the highlights of our stay was the puppies and kitties that called the shack their home. We had a mom cat and her 1 kitten stay in our shack with us. 

Relaxing and catching the sunset with our kitty

The Nguyen Shack offers free bikes for touring the many little roads that wind their way along the delta. We couldn't get over how friendly everyone was to us. Kids would run after our bikes, screaming "hello" and wave at us. Men would yell from their boats, "Welcome to Vietnam". Having lived in China only 5 months, smiling faces, waving hands and warm people are almost foreign to us. I don't think we realized how complaisant we have become since moving to China. 

The Nguyen Shack took us on a 5:30am trip to the Cai Rang floating market. The market is up and running strong from about 6am- 7am.  This market is where local farmers come to sell their produce to people with smaller boats. It's the smaller boats that then make their way up the inlets and re-sell the produce to others. 

You can buy just about anything to eat or drink at the Cai Rang market. We bought some Vietnamese coffee from a couple in a small boat on our way to see the market. 

The easiest way to know what the farmers are selling is to look at the produce tied to the bamboo stick raised above the boats. If a boat had carrot, onion, cabbage, and taro tied to their stick, the locals would refer to that boat as a "super market".  Other boats sold melons of all sorts and pineapples. 

In addition to the Cai Rang floating market, we took a sunset boat tour through the delta. At sunset the tide is low and unfortunately the amount of trash thrown into the delta can be easily spotted. I don't understand why if a region relies so heavy on something such as the delta, why the locals trash it. I understand that at times trash is displaced, but this wasn't the case. On several occasions we saw people purposely throw plastic bags of trash into the delta and just walk away. Do they really think it just disappears? 

Irony~ a man bathes in the delta next to a bag of floating trash

We really enjoyed Vietnam, from the lantern festival in Hoi An to the Cu Chi tunnels and relaxing on the delta. But I can honestly say, we wouldn't come back. The amount of trash thrown all over the country is too much. From the trashed beaches to the 4.5 hour bus ride from Saigon to the delta where for hundreds of miles we saw trash to watching it float through every's too heartbreaking.

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