Sunday, January 10, 2010

Goodbye Saigon!!

Mekong Delta

We decided to get out of Ho Chi Min for the day..or anything else other than to save our sanity. We took an organized tour to the tiny islands of the Delta. On the two hour bus ride to Ben Tre and My Tho we saw many sights. We believe we might have seen rice patties (if anyone out there would like to shoot us an e-mail explaining the process of growing rice complete with a Google image that would be wonderful) We passed so much construction and stores of all kinds. Tire stores, the lamp post store, the live chicken store, many moped sales stores, the dead chicken store, the dish store, and many others whose product we were unable to identify. I do not know if we have explained the moped situation here…they are everywhere. A moped is capable of carrying- potted trees, families of 5, barbed wire fences, 15 watermelons, 3 grown men holding onto each other, whole gardens ANNND a partridge and a pear tree. (Although we have not seen all this on one moped we are sure it’s possible) The can you top that moped game is one of our favorite road games.

Once we arrived to the delta, we boarded a small motor boat that brought us to the little islands. The first stop we saw honeybees and got to taste the honey tea. We also tried the banana whiskey but passed on the snake wine with the fermenting snakes in it. We moved on to a hut where we got to taste many local fruits. We also got serenaded my some locals who we would describe as Vietnamese Idol contestants. From there we boarded small paddle boats and paddled down the narrow rivers. This was a highlight of the day. We were given hats and spent about ten minutes going down the streams passing lots of palm frons and local houses and huts. There were also some rowdy Japanese tourists. There was a constant cycle of empty boats passing on the way back to pick up more people. Although it was clearly built just for tourists, it was our favorite part.

After another boat ride and a visit to a coconut candy factory (it actually tasted surprising like caramel and not much like coconut) and another boat ride we had lunch. It was nice to be able to chat with some other travelers and exchange tips and stories, one of our favorite parts of traveling but had yet to do on this trip. After lunch there we were able to ride bikes around the small village and surrounding areas. We were first two westerners out there…cause we are triathletes and all. So we blazed the trail ahead of everyone else, that is until there was a choice of which way to turn. A man pulling his horse drawn cart had to direct us which way to go. On the road we were out there with the mopeds..Caitlin was almost run off the road by a rather mean old lady! Children would run out of their houses and wave and say hello to us. After we returned our bikes, we had an hour to kill so we sat and talk with two American girls for a little before catching the bus back to Saigon. Two hours of can you top that moped? at rush hour helped pass the time. New born babies with nets over their heads, and the guy with fabric softeners, grocery store bags, and toilet paper were top sights.

After a day out in the country and a few days adjustment and the hustle of Saigon was almost bearable on our final night there.

This morning we hopped a 35 minute flight to Phu Quoc –Vietnam’s undiscovered gem.
(our plane had propellers!) We arrived to see that it might not be that way much longer with all the construction and development but it certainly has its charm. Our landing was particularly scary because there was no land in sight. Caitlin in the window seat had a birds eye view..but land appeared at the last minute and we made it alive to tell the tale.

We spent the day lazing around the resort. And now a word on our "resort":

We had tried and tried to book a few bungalows we read about. Cute beach bungalows with dark wood trim and doors, mosquito nets, nice palm umbrellas and comfie lounge chairs with cushions and charming restaurant right on the sand…however they were booked. We are writing from Vietnams own little version of the Neverland Ranch. And there is even a guy who talks like MJ (may he rest in peace)

However the beach is beautiful! And there is free internet!!)We will post more on the island after our snorkel and fishing trip tomorrow. (Adrianna-you call it a booze cruise)

We could describe this place…but there are no words. We must show you for you to believe…we will post a picture tour after our trip today!


  1. On the agricultural phenomenon of rice paddies:
    Rice is a water loving grass. Rice likes to sit in a few inches of water, but doesn't like it really for too long.
    How to grow rice in your rice paddies:
    1) create your paddy. flatten some land, make some dirt walls, about 8 inches- don't want to go too high here. include holes for irrigation, of course. then plant your baby rice plants in perfectly straight rows of typical asian fashion.
    2) flood your paddy! few inches will do. watch rice grow!
    3) occasionally, deflood paddy. don't want soggy rice!
    4) watch rice grow more! repeat steps 2 and 3 until HARVEST!
    5) harvest time: collect rice, let dry, beat it for a while, hope you've got all the little rice 'fruits' you can... package, export/import, and enjoy with entire-chicken soup, or various types of fermented fetuses!
    With love,

  2. Well now that is information that will serve you well in life - we'll have no rice paddies on the riverbank!!! Glad to hear you arrived safely at the beach - it looks beautiful. Have fun, stay away from the fermented snake wine, and be safe.

    Love you both,


  3. i would have def tried the snake wine. like bizarre foods with andrew zimmern!! did you see any giant catfish in the mekong??

    have fun on your "booze cruise"!! becareful and safe ladies!


  4. Thank you LA for that valuable info!! We couldn't imagine where the actualy white rice thing came from...that clears up a lot! Knew we could count on you. You didn't make all that up did you.

    Lady- no worries no rice on the river.

    Jay- snake wine is gross!! no booze cruise..snorkle trip

  5. how do you know its gross?? you didnt try it!

  6. I only made up that rice paddies are a phenomenon. :)