Day 5 – March 29
This day we ended up getting on a SAS trip to go to the Mekong Delta. Since it took a while to get out there, we decided to not go independently because if you go on a SAS trip and it comes back late, you can’t in trouble for being late. It took about 2 hours to drive out to the Delta and we walked around a market right next to the river. The guide took us through and explained all kinds of vegetables and fruits and other foods as we walked through. Then we drove to the harbor and got on a boat that took us to the first island of the day, in the middle of the river. We passed families’ fish farms that are kept under floating house structures. We boated down a skinny canal with trees growing right next to the boat in the water. They were special coconut trees, with coconut flowers growing. Our first stop was at a place that created all kinds of things out of coconuts: lamps, cups, masks, dishware, etc. Then we walked down the street to a horse carriage that trotted about 5 minutes down the road. We walked down another path and ended up at a restaurant where a musical group serenaded us while we snacked on fruits like dragon fruit and pineapple. Then we walked over to more boats, which only fit 3 people, and went down another canal to meet up with our big boat.
The next island we went to had a coconut candy-making factory, where we watched them roll out the candy and package them up. It looked and tasted a little like caramel but also had a strange taste to it. We got to sample the coconut and peanut candy and the coconut and chocolate candy and they both tasted too weird for me to buy. But I did end with some cool utensils made out of coconut shells. Then we went to the next island, where we had a delicious lunch of fish spring rolls, fried rice, chicken dishes, fruit and more. The food just kept coming and it was all so good, although some of it looked weird, including the giant, piranha-like, boiled fish with scales still on, that we had to scrape off the meat. That was a little weird; as was the small squid legs scattered throughout all the dishes: rice, soup, noodles, etc. After lunch we had a little free time and about 5 of us hopped on the bikes we could just take out. We rode around the town for a little while, luckily without getting lost. After a lot less exercise than normal, and the addition of blistering heat, it was surprisingly hard to ride, haha…
Finally it was time to head back to the big boat and meet up with the buses to head back to the ship. Almost our entire bus wanted to go to the market so instead of going back to the ship, they dropped almost the whole bus off at the hotel where the shuttle always dropped us off. We went to the tailor to pick up our stuff and it wasn’t even close to being ready. So we went to go kill time and found some shops to wander around but when we came back the second time, it still wasn’t ready, as there were 5 other people waiting for their stuff as well. It was a little freaky to have such a time constraint and then once I tried on my shirt, I had to have her alter it 2 more times because it still didn’t fit. That was definitely annoying. But we finally made it back to the ship, with a good amount of time left before on-ship time. And after a few hours we were heading down the river on our way to China already.