Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Whatever floats your boat

Gosh, I’m loving Vietnam at the moment. It’s so colourful! And vibrant! And cheap! The internet is fast! People are really nice! And the bus companies provide a free taxi service when you arrive in a new town, dropping you right at the door of your hotel!

Yep, I could really get to feel at home here. I’m so glad I invested in a three-month tourist visa.

I’m still in the Mekong Delta, in the far south of the country. After my time in Ha Tien I spent a couple of days in Can Tho, which was absolutely bloody marvellous. The city itself is nothing special, but take an eight-hour boat tour (starting at 5.30am) and you get to see stuff like this.

Floating markets, selling just about anything you can think of… but concentrating mostly on fruit.

I took the tour, in a small rowing boat with an outboard motor, with an Australian couple who‘d arrived on the same bus as me. They may well have been in their teens, as both had dropped out of university and were considering what to do next with their lives.

Sadly for him, the guy started puking up over the side of the boat after we’d seen the second market and had to go ashore and catch a moto back to the hotel. It seems he’d eaten something that disagreed with him.

I suffered too. My sunburnt knees have only just stopped hurting.

From Can Tho most tourists take a bus to Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon, but not I. No, spurred on by my stupid guidebook, I wanted to get off the Saigon bus at Vinh Long. When I made the booking with the guy at my hotel reception, he pulled the sort of face that one of his counterparts in York might, should a tourist decide to delay travelling to Edinburgh for a brief sojourn in Darlington.

Now that I’m in Vinh Long, I can sort of see where he was coming from. There’s nothing actually here, attractions-wise, apart from An Binh island, “a patch of the delta’s most breathtaking scenery”. I went there on the local ferry, which takes about five minutes and costs about 5p each way.

It wasn’t breathtaking at all, although I had a fairly enjoyable couple of hours just rambling around it. Lots of people said hello and wanted to have their photo taken, and not just children this time.

Good grief. I look like the Hulk compared to that wee fella! If only I'd realised, I might have framed the shot a bit better…

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