Rice wine, floating markets and a long ride back to Saigon
When we arrived at the homestay (myself, 4 guys from the Czech Republic and a lovely older French Couple) I was a little disappointed. I wanted to stay in a home stay. Not a homestay/hotel in a village. It was after dark before we arrived so we didn’t really see much of the village until the next morning, and even then it was just from the back of a bike.
I shook of my disappointment when I saw my room – it wasn’t what i wanted, a straw mat on the floor in a traditional village hut – but it was lovely, a big bed covered in a mosquito net and a good little Mandi in the back. We ate together by the river, Vietnamese spring rolls, baked fish and a vegetable hot pot served with rice and washed down with ice cold beer. After our meal the Czech boys wanted to know where we could get some local booze, after a quick trip down the road they returned with 2L of rice wine for $1.
The french couple went to bed, and the Czech boys and I played a traditional Czech drinking game. Its called Macharaczek. And it involves the rolling of dice and copious shots of booze – in this case, really horrid rice wines from the back streets of rural Can Tho. I won. They all dropped out and i have to say that I was pretty proud of myself - not nearly as proud as they were of me, I might add… particularly considering in the morning they were all seriously hung over and I was right as rain – it probably had something to do with the age difference, but never the less, they called me ‘strong’ australian for the following day.
We then met the rest of the group on the river when we boarded another long boat and went to the floating market – which was pretty incredible. In the Mekong river there are three different floating markets, which are all wholesale for fruit and vegetables.
We floated through on a boat and stared in awe at the sheer number of the produce that was piled on the decks and inside these boats, each fruit and vegetable in different sections of the river, so many pineapples!! I couldn’t believe it. And the women who rowed through collecting and purchasing the different fruits, rowing backwards oars. I was amazed.
We then went to a fruit orchard where we ate lotus seeds and climbed over a monkey bridge – a bridge which is built out of only one piece of bamboo over a river. After this we headed back to Can Tho and had lunch - I don’t like being told where to eat, so I separated from the group and randomly ran into friends who I’d met in Saigon who are living my dream of riding a motorbike around Vietnam – so I ate with them.
We then reboarded the bus and did the 4 hour drive back to Saigon, where I promptly crashed for a few hours before getting up to drink some very cheap beer on the street corner – making new friends and eating another couple of Balut.
Another day in Saigon – now it’s time to see this city that I’ve used as a base for the past week.
Barefoot and exhausted, filled with beer and stories of days gone by – a bit behind, I’ll catch up soon.