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Rosi & Jen's 11 Thousand Beach Odyssey Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do, then the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream...."

Mekong Delta

VIETNAM | Tuesday, 15 April 2008 | Views [6906] | Comments [2]

We saw these to little boys floating down the Mekong on a coconut treeas we putted pass them in our whipper snipper canoe.

We saw these to little boys floating down the Mekong on a coconut treeas we putted pass them in our whipper snipper canoe.

The last week or so has given us some of the most incredible travel experiences we have ever had anywhere in the world.  The Easy Rider boys picked us up in Saigon early one morning and we set off on another motorbike adventure this time through the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam.  The people of the south are some of the friendliest we have met anywhere and the smiles of the children and the scenery of the mighty Mekong river is hard to put into words. As part of the Easy Rider adventure we take mainly back roads and so we end up doing all the stuff the locals do like riding along dirt roads and catching local ferries.  I will never forget out first look at the river.  We were on this ferry and I looked up and the true size of this massive river really hit me.  It was wider than any river I had ever seen and seem to branch off in all different directions.  I couldn't believe I was finally standing there looking at something that I had heard about all my life.  We ended up in the capital city of the Mekong area - a place called Can Tho.  The boys had a friend who owned a little whipper snipper canoe (so called because the motor on them is essentially a whipper snipper only with a propeller instead of nylon line.)  They arranged for their friend Mr Hahn to take us on a day trip down the river to two floating markets and then up some very small estuaries where the bigger boats can't go so we could see river life in its truest sense.  The day was fantastic from the moment we left the dock.  We putted down the Mekong past all sorts of houses and industry existing side by side.  50 million people rely on the Mekong for their livlihood and we saw it all.  They wash in it, they fish in it, the swim in it, the use it as a source of industrial water, their kids play in it, they often have their toilets flowing into it, the list is endless.  It also to a great degree supports their tourist industry.  It's their life blood and without it, many of the poorest people of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and parts of China would be completely stuffed.

The kids of the Mekong are especially friendly, always eager to give you a wave or come up and have a chat. Even the dogs are friendlier. Unlike the north we rarely saw hidden financial agendas in the friendliness of the people.  They were just smiling or waving or laughing or talking to us because they wanted to.  It was beautiful.  We stopped for lunch at a local house and stayed there for a couple of house.  During this time I managed to fall into metre high Mekong mud which everyone else there thought was one of the funniest things they had ever seen.  Jen continued to take photos while they dug me out.   Even the chooks appeared to be laughing!  I guess it was pretty funny.  Our boat driver Mr Hahn took a shine to both Jen and I and even though he didn't speak much English he conveyed to Si and Hai how much he loved our happiness and ability to laugh at ourselves, and promptly invited us over to his house for dinner to meet his family, eat seafood and sing karaoke.

We said yes! What followed was an amazing night of getting to know a real Vietnamese family and how warm and funny they are.  Mr Hahn lives right on the Mekong.  He took us to his house in his boat.  His cousins, nephew, wife, daughters and neighbours were all there to greet us.  We felt very very special.  Si and Hai came with us.  We all sat on the floor and his nephew cooked huge prawns over an open fire for us.  We laughed and Mr Hahn and his neighbours sang Karaoke.  Despite me telling everyone what a great Karaoke singer Jen was and how much she loved singing in public she didn't seem keen to participate.  After the dinner we walked through Mr Hahn's village and were rowed back to the other side of the Mekong in a little boat.  I mean how do you possibly have an experience like that and not come out of it all the richer?  Mr Hahn was so very happy we had agreed to come to his house and meet his family.  He kept thanking us and telling us how happy he was and giving us two thumbs up and smiling.  Of course it may have been the rice wine and beer that made him all the happier but his beautiful wife seemed genuinely pleased too. 

We have definitely come to know our Easy Rider friends Si and Hai fairly well over the last couple of weeks.  They are such wonderful people and true shining stars of Vietnam.  They always kept us safe and entertained and informed and we laughed all the time with them and listened to their incredible stories with wonder and interest. We told them stories about Australia and our families too and they listened intently and always wanted to know more.  We will miss them a great deal but we have promised them that we will come back and travel with them again.  On the final day, the boys took us further along the Mekong to the town of Chou Doc where after one last wonderful dinner with them they told us not to say goodbye but to say "see you soon".  We gave them enormous hugs and left on the boat for Cambodia. 

Tags: kids, mekong delta, river life, vietnam

Comments

1

Hi,
I'm just here in Saigon with my young family and we're heading out to Ben Tre and Cantho tomorrow ... first time we've been back to the Delta in almost 18 years. Our memories of that time are exquisite so we are hoping, whilst much will have changed, the basic quality of the people and the experience won't have.
Enjoy

sm

  simon_monk Apr 16, 2008 1:13 AM

2

Hi girls.

My wife and I were just reading your blog....FANTASTIC.

We are heading to Saigon in the next couple of days and would love to meet up with the same people you have. Do you by any chance have any details? If so would be gretly appreciated.

Happy travels!!!!!

Ben and Sarah

  Sarah and Ben Apr 19, 2008 10:25 PM

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