Gran's 88th today! Hope her birthday card arrived on time.
Up at 6.30am ready for my trip to the Mekong Delta, had a free breakfast of fruit, watermelon shake, tempura stuff, and optional chips. Popped back to my room for five minutes and ended up nearly missing the collection bloke because of it. I sat in the air-conditioned bus for two hours and slept pretty much the whole way, struggling to pay attention to the guide whenever he spoke about the many, many rice fields we were passing.
We took a boat from My Tho to Dragon, Unicorn, Phoenix, and Turtle Island, followed by a walk across a monkey bridge to try some 'exotic fruits' that were basically pineapple with salt and chilli (gross), watermelon, and papaya. We listened to some music by the locals before heading to a bee farm where we tried honey with Jasmine tea, very nice, and saw a crow pickled in rice wine, not nice. I know I've tried tarantula rice wine, but this was one step too far, even if it would have made a good photo.
From there we jumped onto the rowing boats, wearing the traditional conical hats and looking quite peculiar. It wasn't quite like the rowing I know; I'm pretty sure they dug their oars too deep! We stopped off at a coconut candy workshop where they made it all by hand, apart from a huge mixing machine, and I ended up buying $5 worth, which may have been a silly move considering how much it weighed.
After a lunch of rice, noodle soup, and quite possibly dog, we borrowed some bikes that were even worse than the ones in Cambodia, and rode around the town. It was so muggy that the sweat poured off me incessantly, not helped by my decision to overtake two horses and their carts. I abandoned the bike and went for a sit down, falling asleep yet again. Back on the boat for 3.30, with a craving for salt and vinegar crisps that couldn't be satisfied by coconut candy. The Delta wasn't really that picturesque, but I suppose it's one of those places you have to go when in Saigon.
We dropped off most of the other people on the tour before my stop, one being at a posh hotel where the Chinese bloke failed to say thank you when departing the bus. The tour guide didn't fail to notice this and said 'he needs to learn how to say thank you'. Too true: manners don't cost a dong. I walked home from the bus at 5.30pm and saw a laundry place, so bargained to get a load done by 8am the next day, in time for my flight. After a shower I dropped off the load and headed to a cafe for some spring rolls and a pizza baguette, and I'm 100% sure that the spring rolls tasted exactly like salt and vinegar crisps. Amazing. After tucking in, Marc from the tour wandered past and I suddenly remembered we were meant to meet up for dinner, oops. He ended up having dinner with me before we both bowed out for an early night at 8pm!
I managed to replace my stolen lip balm for a whopping 40,000VND, and bought some t-shirts to keep my rowing kit up to date for my return. I even managed to find a 'same same, but different' t-shirt, I just hope people back home get the joke.