Jul 28, 2011

Mekong Delta, the rice bowl of Vietnam

A river so brown, it confuses and amuses every sense of you
-your's truly
Mekong river flows across parts of Cambodia and Vietnam. The delta of Mekong spans a huge area in south Vietnam as it flows into the South China sea. Much as you wonder how brown a river can be, you will be informed that no local use this water for domestic purposes. There are lots of species living in it and trots and live plants floats at every possible square meter, which is also the reason it is so rich for Vietnam's agriculture.

Boarding a tour boat at Cai Be took us straight into the heart of this river's business. The floating market. A mechanism which local Vietnamese use to transport fresh produce across boats and eventually to the banks. With hundreds of boats in the rich brown river, I would think this is a lot more cost effective for the locals than to load their produce to a truck and take a circuituous route to find a bridge and reach the other side of the river.

The traditional Vietnamese hat never gets a skip
Also visited some agro-based industries in the nearby villages. They culture bees, not just for honey. But also for the bee eggs, bee wax and some other products which claim to be of huge health value. As the Mekong culture goes, every visitor is served honey tea in little cups.

The agro industries prepare rice paper used in food rolls, coconut candies, sugarcane candies and puffed rice sweets. A Lot of it is similar to Indian produce. Like the banana halwa we get in the Malabar coast and the coconut-sugar candies of South India. Rich culture in a country poor of wealth.

Lunch at the delta is usually at home-stays where you are served a mixture of Vietnamese cuisine with acceptable continental standards. You get the idea. But the good part is, you can relax on a hammock in the backyard or borrow their bicycles to ride into the village. July has some great weather for noon cycling. I would gladly recommend a bike ride.

Well, I also give a thumbs up to a ride in the long Vietnamese row boats. The ones rowed by a boat man/ boat woman with a traditional hat :) They also have hats for your to wear during your ride. Imagine the sun is scorching and you are in a low boat which if toppled over would mean at least 2 scrub baths. The row boat can get scary and still be fun for a once-in-a-life-time.

Before the day end, you can watch a Vietnamese dance. This was quite a let down. For expecting a traditional farmer girls dance, there was a couple who dance without proper costume, bare minimal music with hardly any accompanying music.
Nevertheless, give in to the Mekong hospitality.

1 comment:

  1. Well written. Love that traditional hat.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete