phu quoc and the mekong delta

bai sao beach

well, vietnam quickly redeemed itself once we reached the island of phu quoc. we stayed in another bamboo hut but this one had a comfy spring mattress...something we haven't experienced through all of south-east asia. the highlight of our island experience was spending the day touring the island and spending a few blissful hours on bai sao beach. the sand was a fine white sand and the ocean a turquoise blue. the beach that we stayed at wasn´t quite as beautiful but it was a few steps from our hut. we didn´t swim much at our beach as there were little stinger things in the water. we aren´t sure what they were...jellyfish stingers floating in limbo or sea lice aka jellyfish larvae. but what ever they were they stung and itched and kept us on the beach. the water at bai sao was free of stingers but after a few minutes of frolicking in the waves i spotted two small jellyfish and i was outta there too.

sunset at our beach hut resort

our next stop was a city in the mekong delta called can tho. we opted to take a boat tour that was arranged through our guesthouse. we had a great time even though we probably paid far too much. many touts were wandering near the ferry port offering boat tours for $5 for 3 hours...we paid $45 for 7 hours. i wonder how much of that actually was passed to the tour guide and how much the guesthouse owner pocketed.

our tour guide for the day

the boat tour started on the mekong river at 7am. our first stop was a floating market about an hour away. it was already late when we arrived as most vendors start their day at 5 am but we still got stuck in a couple of traffic jams. by the time we got to the 2nd floating market at 9am the traffic had already dissipated.

crazy traffic at the floating market

the boats weighed down with loads of fruits, veggies and other pantry items surrounded us as we made our way through the market. our guide stopped along the way purchasing fruits for us to sample. she pointed out that most of the boats had the item they were selling hanging high on a pole so buyers could find them easily.

the sandwich lady

rice for sale

coming through!

the second part of our boat tour took us through the mekong canals. these smaller waterways slowed our pace and we wandered through spotting water coconut fruit, mangroves, lychee trees, banana blossoms, papayas and mango trees.

corina on a monkey bridge

one of our stops was at a rice noodle factory. we were given a tour around the small home-based business but luckily were not asked to sample their wares.

rice husks are used to feed the fire that cooks the rice to a pulp

rice pulp being squeezed to get rid of excess liquid before forming into shells

after being dried in the sun the rice shells are fed through the noodle maker

sitting in a rice paddy

our final scheduled stop was lunch at a riverside restaurant. we were slightly guilted into buying a drink and lunch for our tour guide by the server. still jay went all out and got the coconut steamed shrimp. i wasn´t really a fan of all those eyeballs peering at me as i ate my tofu veggie stirfry.

jay and his creepy coconut shrimps with big black staring eyeballs

our tour guide driving with her leg as she formed a flower bouquet from a palm frond

on our way back down the mekong river to can tho i scooted to the back of our boat where our tour guide was making things out of palm stems (apparently called fronds). she taught me how to make flowers and grasshoppers...all while keeping her eye on the `road´and steering with her elbow.




gayle said...

Cool The floating markets are fun I enjoyed the ride not the food so much. Once again your pictures are wonderful. Can't wait for the next blog Love M/G

Anonymous said...

awesome pictures . I can almost feel the boats pushing their way through. The smells must have been incredible too. i'm looking forward to the Tokyo
pics and blog

Love Mom

Karla said...

Jay is creepy just like those shrimp.