Vietnam – Mekong Delta Day Trip – Coconuts, toffee and snakes
We had Mekong Delta trip as an item on the Vietnam to do list. You may already be familiar with my 1 – 2 – 3 method of planning a trip.
No? Well quick recap:
1 – MUST DO THIS!
2 – Really want to do this
3 – Will I have time / money to do this?
So back to the Mekong. It was a no 1 but prior to the trip I’d not booked it. We knew we had a few days spare at the end of our Vietnam tour so a trip to a local agent would not be a problem. We’d compare prices and get the best deal.
In hindsight maybe we should have done that, however as we had travelled and enjoyed our whole trip with the tour guide we didn’t. We took his recommendation and slotted into a trip he knew about.
We climbed on board a very rickety boat, very rickety!
If it’d been at the beginning of the journey it would have made me nervous but by now we’d melted into the way of the East. We’d accepted their Health and Safety concerns aren’t managed quite as they are in the West. Those who’ve been there will understand I am using a tad of understatement here! Some others on the trip were ‘newbies’ apparent by less creased clothes and a more nervous demeanour.
The local guide chatted to us in English and gave us a small printed map of our trip. We’d be out all day and see a lot, lunch included. The first stop off was reached and I took my life in my very shaky hands as I climbed up a rusty ironwork bridge to land. I love land. I don’t like bridges.
This was a bridge in the loosest terms.
I can totally empathise with those world leaders who kiss the floor upon arrival. It was joyous to feel terra firma being, well, firm.
Throughout the day there were various stops at islands and riverside homesteads, each with their own way of earning a few Viet Dong. I hope you put your money into local hands, rather than just fuel the huge conglomerates who siphon the funds away from those who need it. I truly hope I don’t sound like a typical Western tourist who patronises the locals, throws them a few pennies whilst oo’ing and aah’ing at their poverty. This trip really did show us the real people and we were happy to support them.
We bought home made toffee as a gift for colleagues stuck at the office back home, it was lovely and beat the airport versions of an opal fruit (Starburst for you young ‘uns) into a cocked hat.
I stuck my hand into a bee’s nest to taste the honey.
Now I’ve read Winnie the Pooh and know the risks and at home it would not enter my head, but there I was thrusting finger forward as directed via the primitive but universal language of pointing and smiling.
I held a HUGE python, I love snakes. I was gutted to see them later in the day stuffed into bottles as alleged medicinal products, enough said. It was at this stage I learned more about my partner and their opinion of big snakes, ha ha. I couldn’t really believe I knew so little about it however I guess it isn’t part of usual dinner table conversation. ‘Hello love, here’s your jacket spud and beans and by the way how about holding a Python later.’ Oh no! I’ve just realised that could have so many double entendres to follow up on, apologies.
There were no disasters.
The boat didn’t sink. I discovered I like fresh honey. I don’t like coconut juice when drunk through a straw from it’s natural container via a machete manicured opening. The group we were with were great company. We saw the Mekong, we sailed up and down in sun and moonlight. It was OK, it was another once in a lifetime experience.
I’m a firm believer in not recommending places to eat, stay or holiday. So much is variable and subjective, I might say ‘Yes I loved it’ or ‘We found the food great’ but rarely would I say ‘you have to do this.’
We firmly sit in the ‘make the best of every experience’ optimistic traveller camp and had a great day but sadly it all felt a little ‘organised’ and a wee bit ‘coach trip’ so I won’t mention the company used or the guides as maybe I’m a little harsh. We certainly didn’t regret including it as a no 1 on our list.
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