Although it now seems like it was weeks ago, it was only a few days ago that we got to explore the Mekong Delta for the first time. We took a boat on the river to have a delicious lunch next to bonsai trees and a pet snake that my friends got to play with as I took pictures and had a good laugh with their expressions. We got to see the famous floating market along the river, where we saw Vietnamese feeding fish (the bigger the fish get, the more money they make), we saw them selling bananas and watermelon, and saw how most of the sellers “live” on the boats (about 3 days at a time, with their own hammocks and water cleaning systems). We got to experience a homestay, in which we heard typical Southern Vietnamese music and got to relax with the sounds of nature.
During our time at the Mekong River, we visited a few home-based industries. We saw how rice paper (the one they use for fresh spring rolls and banh xeo) is made, how coconut candy is produced, and how snacks like rice puffs with sugar and peanuts are made. We also got to see all of the hard work that goes behind the brick kilns.
Seeing how life in the Mekong is embraced is, how my friends have described it, a “truly humbling experience.”
The best way to end our time at the Delta was taking a ride on the rowing boats in the countryside, where we got to enjoy the peaceful sight of nature.
This past week we also had the chance of visiting a Cham village. The Cham people live on the South part of Vietnam. Some live on the river; others next to the river. They speak a different dialect and have different facial features than other Vietnamese. Most of them are Muslim and have Mosques in their villages. What a beautiful and interesting culture!