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running away Traveling south east asia, china, australia, new zealand and america. wherever the mood takes me!

mekong delta

VIETNAM | Sunday, 30 November 2008 | Views [813]

phat and me

phat and me

the next morning I was up early to get the bus to the boat. Phat was suppose to meet me there to get the bus also, but there was no sign of her. I was hoping that she was running late and would meet me at the boat instead. But what was going through my mind was that she had taken my money and left.

But when the bus came she was on it already with her shrimps for her sister. We got to the boat in plenty of time and got our seats. The boat journey back to the mainland was very rough. Good thing the boat wasn't full and I got a whole row to myself so I could lie down. Even though I got thrown up into the air every so often when the boat went over waves and really came up and crashed down. I didn't get to sea sick and we arrived in one piece.

Phat said that it would be a good idea to get a taxi to the other side of rach gia to pick up a bus towards the town that her sister lived. So we got in our taxi and got out on a road where we were to pick up a bus. I think originally we were to get a mini bus but we ended up taking a local bus, which was really cool. I got a few strange stares. But all the school kids were heading to school while we were on it. So the bus was packed. The door to the bus was automatic in that when the bus driver broke and he broke pretty hard the door would fly open and when he took off again the door would slide shut. And the funniest part was the bus never stopped long enough for everyone to get on or off. The driver would start to take off again before everyone was on making them hurray up or else they would be left behind.

Half way through we had to switch to another local bus which brought us just outside the town we were looking for. So we ended up getting a motorbike to her sisters house.

When we arrive, I was shown to a little bedroom in the house. I think it was her sisters bed and she had given it up for phat and me to share. The house was very basic. Just a big long room with partisans. In the middle of the room was the area they had made into a bedroom, with a mattress and a mosquito net. To the front was the living room and to the back was an area for cooking and a little room set aside for the bathroom. The bathroom had a toilet but there was this huge ceramic tank full of water and a pail to take a shower. Refreshingly cold.

Her sister had made us lunch. And they set up a table outside for us eat at. She then had a little barbecue going in a bucket and she bbq chicken over it. She also had made chicken rice soup. It was my first time eating home cooked in Vietnam never mind my first time eating rice soup and I loved it.

Afterwards I tried to take a nap, but I guess I wasn't tired enough or more that I was in new strange surroundings. I came back out and sat with phats nephew, who was really sweet, as phat had left to go do something. He was about 10 years old and every so often he would point to things in the house and say them in English. And I would smile and say yeah.

It turned out being the time when all the local kids were heading past the house on their way home. And they were stopping and staring at me. I was smiling and saying xin chio, which means hello. But they would only laugh and get all shy. After awhile they moved off again, but it was real funny. But for a while after that when their were kids cycling by they would all look it, even some of them cycled by a few times. So I wondered if it was pasted on to other kids that there was a white person in the house.

When phat came back. I was telling her about the kids. I was saying to her that my ski n wasn't that white and that I had seen Asian women whiter than me. But she said it wasn't the skin, it was my big nose and my big mouth and big blue eyes. But mostly my big nose.

That evening, we went up to her other sisters house were we had chicken BBQ again and whiskey. Phats young cousin was there and he said he wanted to see me drunk. I just said that he would probably get drunk before me. Which he did. But I had to much whiskey. Phats sister asked me to go to work with her the next morning but we were to leave at 5 in the morning. But I couldn't get out of bed, so never did find out what she did.

That next day, phat brought me on a ferry to go over to a island that they called Taiwan island. Because so many girls from the island have been sold to Taiwan men. Phats sister lives in a town in the delta that many tourists go to. So as I went around with her I was getting a lot of stares and looks. Which made a change I guess.

As we were driving around the island, phat was saying that the houses on the island that are new and big houses had a pretty girl to marry a Taiwan guy but if the house is still old and poor looking, that family had no pretty girls. I'm not sure it this is all true or not, all I have is what phat was telling me.

We ended up going to a fruit farm, but it was the wrong time of year for the harvest. But I ended up trying this new fruit, don't know what the name of it is but it is like an apple. Even kinda looks like one, but no its not.

That afternoon phats sister wanted to bring me somewhere, phat said it was a farm. I said sure but still wasn't sure what they were going to show me. The weather was cloudy and rainy on and off the whole time I was in the delta. And it was actually quite cold. I actually had to break out my hoody and wear it. It was definitely worth carrying it the last 2 months. And being on the back of a bike was even colder with the wind.

Phat was funny though because she would say things sometimes and the pronunciation was so bad it took me quite a few times to figure out what she was saying. Also she would say stuff like it was big cold. And I was trying to tell her it would be better to say really cold. But no what did I know her English. was better. So she continued to use big in front of a word instead of using really. Big big, big cold, big hot.

Anyway they brought me to a bird farm. They pointed to a lot of birds up in the sky flying before we took off. And it turned out to be the birds they were bringing me to see. I'm not sure how it works but I think this particular area, all the birds come back every night to sleep there. I don't know is it because they were born there of it was the trees that they were resting on. But there was hundreds of them and I mean hundreds. All on top of the trees. We got to the farm and we had to climb up to this platform and it was when I got up there I realized what they were showing me. Well it was really hard to miss hundreds of birds in front of me. But I couldn't get a proper picture as it was really dusky and cloudy and not enough light for my camera. But we could have said and eaten one of the birds but it takes at least an hour to cook. So we didn't stay.

That night we had spring rolls for dinner with vegetables and rice noodles. It was all really good. The whiskey was broken out again but I didn't drink that much I just shared a couple of shot glasses with a couple of relatives that wanted to share with me.

The next day we had decided to go to cantho for a night. Phats sister was letting us take one of her bikes with us. So we didn't have to take the bus. The drive to cantho took about two hours on the bike. It wasn't to bad and when we got to cantho, we got ourselves a room for the night. Since we were only staying for a night I had left my big bag at her sisters house so we didn't have to put it on the bike with us. We went out to have a look around and we ended up taking a boat trip to see the bridge of the future. They are building a big bridge that will span the mekong. At the moment phat was telling me they use ferries to go across. After seeing the bridge we were brought around through some of the smaller steams and it was really nice. On the way back, I saw a petrol station for boats. It was so funny and such a good idea but I so had to take a picture of it. Its a petrol station on like a floating pier in the middle of the mekong.

The rest of the day was pretty much spent walking around cantho. It was a nice and really chilled out. That evening we had dinner on a big boat that ended up going up and down the mekong while we sat there eating. I think I was the only Caucasian on the boat the rest were all Asian so I wondered if there was another boat for the non Asians. Ha ha

my plan was to leave the next day to go to saigon. So that when we got back to phats sister house I would be able to get my bag and get a bus to saigon. But when we arrived back to the town where her sister lives. She had left already for their grandfathers year funeral mass. So the house was locked up and I wasn't able to get my bag. So I decided I had to stay another night. I ended up going to the mass also and I met her sister there. It was in one of her uncles house. They had made this huge dinner for all the people there. Phat and I sat at a table in the corner and just watched what was happening. She couldn't partake because she wasn't at the original funeral of her grandfather cause she was on the island. It was a year since the grandfather had died and there would be no more

Tags: delta, homestay, mekong


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