Hello out there.
It is now over a week that we have been traveling the world and we love it. We get so many impressions, smells and meet a lot of friendly people. Its true: you get a smile from everybody on every corner. Mostly its an “Hello” included too.
We left Vung Tau on Thursday with the Russian express boat to go to My Tho via HCMC, known as the gateway to the Mekong area. It was not meant to be a long trip but due to local buses, non-english speaking taxi driver who “knows the way” and lotsa traffic we ended up on the road for 8h. Puuhhh. We spend the night at a little hotel close to the river and decided at dinner to leave early morning for the village Cai Be, known for the oldest floating market in the area.
Although the friendly Motorbike-Boat-Renting-Mekong-River-Tours-Guy said there is no bus going to Cai Be we found ourselves the next day sitting in the back seats of a local bus heading there. We must have had the best seats in that bus, because we would not have loved to stand 2h in the middle of approximately 30 pupils as this bus had just 25 seats and school was out right after we entered. Even on a ride like this you see unimaginable things compared to back home. A woman with a baby had no seat so she just handed her girl over to an old stranger to have the baby seated on his knees. A few minutes later the kid slept almost sucking the mans thumb ;-)
In the centre of Cai Be we met Huong. She is running the CB tourist office and we immediately trusted her and the way she offered us her service. There are no B&B, Hotels or Guesthouses in CB but something they call Homestay. Nothing special about this actually but staying at a local families house. Maybe like people back home are renting out rooms and apartments for guests. She brought us to her “Sister” by motorbike separately and it was beautiful. A very big room just above the floating market and super clean. A very nice and friendly woman too, no English though, so unfortunately no big conversation after Huong left.
Time for a photowalk.
We were walking around for about 3h and felt like the big attraction for kids in the little streets between their houses. At the end I (Ingo) was invited to play street volleyball with some locals. Why not? It has been almost two years since I played the last time and as everybody can see: I’m soooo out of shape! These guys were pretty good and as playing bare food was not the best idea I was completely wet after 45 minutes. Cold shower please!!!
We should have taken the dinner and breakfast option at our homestay because we could not find a single restaurant or bar to get some food at night. But in the neighborhood we joined some locals for cold beer and we where having a blast with them. No one spoke English but we all laughed a lot since they asked us to repaid there names and some of them brought up some funny nicknames for there buddies too :-) We got some rice wine and rice crackers to eat and even everybody drank from the same glass we could not say no. Horrible brew!!
Today, Floating Market
Today in the morning we had a early wakeup call. We hired Huong for a boat trip through the Mekong starting at the floating marked at 6:30. She picked us up in time right in front of our place. The weather was fine and we enjoyed the company of a local guide to ask various questions about the country and the people. Huong is very modern and since she studied tourism she knows what we were interested and what we might want to see as photographers.
First stop after a little boat ride through the river marked was the “land” market, which was a lot busier than the day before during our photowalk. We bought some things to eat for breakfast and we loved the vegetable sandwich with egg.
We then tripped around the water and stopped at some workshops to see the people producing honey products and pop-rice as well as rice cracker, rice wine and several other typical handcraft products like rice paper. We changed between walking, motor and rowing boat. At around noon they dropped us off in Vinh Long where we are staying one night before we getting again closer to our actual vacation in Phu Quoc. Totally excited about this island already.
It was super nice to spent this day with Huong and her Capitan. We learned a lot and saw interesting things again. Thank you both for showing us around.
Love from Vietnam Carmen and Ingo
PS: some comments and explanations under the corresponding picture.
View from our Homestay, Cai Be
one-toe socks for flipflops
big white elephant = attraction! ;-)
fighting chicken, get showered and cleaned several times a day to be prepeared for the big fight at night. a good one brings a lot of money.
sellers show what they got on a long stick to make your shopping easier
breakfast, vegetarian sandwich with egg
a duck on it’s way home in the kitchen :-) you get everything fresh at this market
honey bee tea
82 year old…
Fynn’s (carmens nephew) favourite crackers are made here :-)
“very healthy” rice wine … pretty much everything was in there…
the rowing boat with the friendly lady