Repost from February 14, 2010
On the eve of Tet, we took my father-in-law on a Mekong Delta Trip to visit the towns of Cai Be and Vinh Long. We were joined by John Owens, a British who I met through his wife, Issa, from the forum, Living in Vietnam.
By 7:30am, we were already waiting to start our one day trip to Mekong River at Sinh Cafe along the busy backpackers area of De Tham St. in District 1. By 7:45 am, we were already on board our 60-seater bus with a local for a tourist guide who regaled us with jokes the whole trip.
The bus trip to Cai Be was smooth and we stopped over at Minh Phu Restaurant to stretch our legs and to visit the nha ve sinh. As usual, the queue for the ladies toilet was long and I had the misfortune to get into a toilet where you have to squat. I would have liked to find another but seeing the long line outside, I decided to try the old-style toilet. If I could avoid using one in the future, I’ll be a very happy tourist.
We reached Cai Be by 10 am and we exchanged our bus for a boat with rickety benches that weren’t attached to the floorboards. Since it was a day before the Chinese New Year, the Cai Be Floating Market was quiet although you could still see a few vendors on their boats selling their products. The Mekong River was murky but it didn’t stink —- waaaay better than the Pasig River in Pinas. The river is a “live” river and some locals use it for their fish farms. We visited a village where they make honey and other honey products, coconut products, and the spring roll paper. I tasted a lot of local delicacies including the rice popcorn (this one’s really cool!) and other rice crispies. Sam loved them all!
After lunch, we got back on the boat for an hour of boat ride to the town of Vinh Long. The weather was just perfect and Sam fell asleep during the whole ride.
At Vinh Long, we visited the market and feasted our eyes on the busy-ness of market life. Locals were doing some last minute shopping as the market was about to close for the Tet celebration. We explored the area by ourselves for a half hour before we got on our bus again to head back to HCMC.
It was an interesting trip and if you’re gonna be living in HCMC for a while, it’s a wonderful way of learning how they live. Now I know how difficult it is to make one piece of spring roll paper! I never am going to put one paper to waste the next time I cook spring rolls!
Needless to say, Sinh Cafe did a good job on this tour for us, so we booked another trip on Monday to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temple.