We were up nice and early this morning and down for breakfast for 7am. They didn't even have the breakfast stuff ready and had sent someone to the shop for it. We brought our own pot noodles with us this morning anyway to have something more filling so we just had that and a coffee. Nath had a bloodshot eye yesterday that is itchy and woke up with it a bit swollen and with guck in it. He has no luck at all lately! Luckily his infection is getting slowly better and doesn't hurt as much as his headache has gone, but now this! It looks like it could be conjunctivitis, but we aren't 100% as he has never had anything like that. Feel so sorry for him! God knows what's going on! May be best for him to visit a doctor- we will have to see how he is. :(
After breakfast I had some toilet issues and as we started heading out of the hostel, I had to run all the way back up to our room. Not what you need for a trip at all!! I took some tablets that should hopefully help, fingers crossed!
We got to the booking office, just a little bit down on the same street, for 8am and it wasn't long before a guy came along and told us to follow him. He took us around with him to different booking offices, picking more people up on the way. Some people got a different bus for the tunnels trips and some of us for the Mekong Delta trip. The guide on the bus was funny! He kept cracking stupid jokes and coming out with random stuff but the itinerary for the day sounded good! We stopped after about 45 mins at a ceramic gift making place but the queue for the toilet was too long and I didn't even manage to go before getting back on the bus! Not good at all! Still 2 hours until we get to our destination and no toilet on the bus!
The bus was very bumpy- we kept flying out of our seats! Not the drivers fault to be fair, it was the roads. Even though they were tarmac they had huge bumps in the road. It gave us a good indication as to what the sleeper would be like! That would be a giggle!!
We stopped again after about another 45mins at a Pagoda. The biggest in that area. It had a huge white Buddha there which was nice. Plus I got to use the toilet and then got an ice cream! The weather was unbelievable today! I think it is suppose to be about 34/35 degrees! Very hot already and it was only 11am!
We got to the pier for the big boat and all got on for a trip across the Mekong. The guide told us that Vietnam is now the biggest exporter of rice in the world and 80% comes from Mekong delta. From the boat we could see Unicorn island, Dragon island and Turtle island. We stopped at unicorn island and went to a little restaurant seating area amongst the greenery and palm trees where they had bee farms for the honey. We had honey and bee pollen in a drink with warm water, which was surprisingly nice! I also had a shot of some sort of whiskey based drink. I tried honey coated dried banana and Nath had honey coated peanut clusters. After, I held a King Cobra snake around my neck but Nath chickened out. It felt different to the last time I held a snake- I dot know why. It made me squirm a little but it was fun!
We got back on the big boat and went across the Mekong Delta to coconut island. We saw how they made coconut milk and coconut candy and had the chance to try different candies. There were big bottles of liquor with snakes and scorpions in on sale there too.
Back on big boat we headed to fish island. The guide told us that they have coconut religion there- it is famous as it is the only place in the world with this religion. They only eat and drink coconut and that is it. Here we went to a restaurant for lunch and were given rice with pork and vegetables and then a soup broth with vegetables. After lunch we had a walk around the island, which like the other island was covered in palm tress and very green. We went and saw the crocodile farm and watched people pay to dangle some food in for them to snap up and eat. There were bicycles on the island that we were able to us for free but by the time we had finished lunch it was after 1pm and we had to be back at the boat for 1.15pm. It didn't really give us long for a bike ride! We took the bikes for 5 minutes and had a quick ride but when I got on it was like I had forgotten how to ride and couldn't do it. I kept wobbling everywhere. I soon picked it up again though but it was weird! Nath was just off and fine on his. I thought you never forget how to ride a bike?!
When we got back to the boat at 1.15pm and there were some people waiting but there was no sign of the driver and the guide. We weren't 100% sure if he said 1.15 or 1.50! We all waited until half past and then decided collectively that we would go for the bikes so if it was the wrong time, they couldn't really leave without us as there was like 10 of us from the boat. The bikes were so much fun! They were old school bikes with bells and baskets. We rode around the island through little villages and past the locals who were friendly and kept saying hello. A little boy gave me high 5 as I was riding past. We got back to the road for 1.50 and the guide just told us to hurry but didn't say if we were really late or not.
Back on the big boat we headed to another island. Here we got onto little rowing boats- 4 of us in the boats with two locals rowing- one at the front, one at the back. We went down little canals with Palm trees hanging overhead, going past peoples houses at the side of the water. The woman rowing at the front showed us her house as we passed. We were all given Vietnamese pointy wooden hats to wear and we all helped them row, squeezing past other boats on the tight canals. We were told to make sure we kept our hands inside boat because of the crocodiles, but we didn't see any! We got off the rowing boat at a little village and went to another wooden hut like restaurant. We were given dragon fruit, pineapple, jack fruit and mango to eat and Vietnamese tea to drink whilst the locals played their local music and sang Vietnamese songs. They did sing if your happy and you know it at the end- they had one verse that was 'if your happy and you know it squeeze your eyes!!'
After this it was the end of the trip which was sad! It was such a brilliant trip and believe it or not it cost us just over £4 each, with everything included! How ridiculous is that?! Just shows how cheap everything is here. Had a really nice day and was really good to see how local people lived near the river and it gave us an insight into what we thought Vietnam would be like. At the end of the day we got back on the big boat across the Mekong for the last time and got back on the bus at the other side.
The bus journey back took about 2 hours and we didn't stop for the toilet at all so I was busting! It was very bumpy on the way back too! We came all the way out of our seats! The poor guy behind hit his head off the ceiling he bounced that high! We got back about 6pm and went and made a coffee at our accommodation before heading out for some food. We got Nath some eye drops which hopefully should help! The amount of times we have visited chemists is unreal!
We had a wander on the streets behind our accommodation, which is the 'backpacker area' as it's known by the locals. It was busy and had lots of bars, most which looked pretty seedy. There were still guys here 'buying' the women, with them all crowded round groups. We had a walk around before finding somewhere to eat. We found a little art shop that had tables out front serving food and drink. The people who lived there were just making some extra money for themselves by turning it into somewhere to eat and drink on a night. There were quite a few places along the road that had done that and the food was cheap so it was all good. We both just got fried rice an beef and had a couple of beers and watched everything go by on the busy street. We sat there for a couple of hours before heading back for our last full night in Ho Chi Minh. It's been a pleasure! Must say I have really enjoyed it here and it's give a good first impression of Vietnam! Looking forward to the tunnels tomorrow, not so much the night bus!!