Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mekong Delta, and no Martin Sheen in sight!

Only a 90min drive from Saigon,a visit to the Mekong Delta is an absolute must.The scenery changes very quickly from the urban sprawl of Saigon with its multitude of cars and scooters to the slightly less chaotic countryside and rice paddies.Scooters are not allowed on the highway and speed limit is higher than in town(although not as high as SA)

Shortly after the highway ends, it is back to small roads and lots of traffic.However, it is still less that we had grown accustomed to in 'town' over the past few days.

This sign invites the tourist busses to stop for a 'happy room' break and a wander round the gardens that have the most wonderful flowers of all shapes and hues...not forgetting the ubiquitousness gift shops that seem to abound at every tourist destination
The pond of Lotus blossoms offers a moment of quiet reflection...if you can find a space inbetween all the visitors trying to take photographs!

Today our adventure would start with a boat trip across the delta to visit a bee farm as well as sample some of the local food, candy and music.

Even though it is the 'off' season, there were multitudes of tourists all heading for the same destinations as we were...being here 'in' season must be a nightmare.

However, our ever smiling guide, Toan, has built up relationships during the 17years he has been a guide and he always seemed to be able to get us the best table and the fastest service!

There were various types of craft on the water, some that were spewing water at an alarming rate and seemed to have been cobbled together out of wood found that morning...but they floated and in some cases sped by at an alarming rate!


These cat fish farms are dotted along the coast line.We did not stop to have a look but I would imaging that similar businesses could be established in SA with barbel.


At our first stop on My Tho was to try honey tea.Some of the guides(not Toan) were prepared to take the bees out of their hive to show visitors. The products on sale vary from candy to Queen Bee milk which is said to have medicinal purposes!


The top image shows a boat that is dredging for silt that is used on the surrounding farm lands.The bottom image just caught my eye as the boat was kicking up quite a nice bow wave...

Making candy from coconuts...really sweet and somewhat similar to fudge

I eventually find some birds...they look similar to our Common House Sparrow(mossie) back in SA

The children don't seem to notice cameras...which allowed me to photograph them without having to resort to stealth techniques...

This transport took us from the one side of the island to the other

The chain keeping this squirrel captive was almost bigger that the critter itself!

Vietnam has talent...this group of traditional  don ca tai tu musicians and singers kept us entertained for a while...they ended their 4 song set with a version of Old Lang Syne!



We got to see our first water buffalo...neck deep in a wallow in the pouring rain...

And round off the day we stopped off at the VERY impressive Vinh Trang pagoda
For more images of our day in the Mekong Delta visit: david batzofin photography

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