Amongst the not-to-be-missed sights of the Mekong Delta was the Hang Pagoda, which was proving a little difficult to get to, particularly as we needed to be there at dusk to witness the hundreds of storks leave the roof and head back to their nests in the nearby trees. Eventually we decided to pay for a car and driver for the 3 hour return trip to Trà Vinh. Where are all the birds, we asked the monks in the grounds of the pagoda. With little English, all we got back was a sheepish grin and a waving of the arms which presumably meant "gone". After several enquiries, the explanation was that they had probably been shot and eaten by the locals, who saw them as a nuisance rather than a tourist attraction. So, this goes down as one of those typical tales of searching for and failing to find elusive creatures, of which I have several.
I promise that we didn't eat any storks, but we did sample some delicious home-cooked local delicacies such as elephant-ear fish. We stayed for two nights in a family home stay by the river on An Binh Island, using one of the many vehicle ferries to get back and forth to the city of Vinh Long. With every crossing crammed with small motorcycles, sometimes carrying up to two adults and three children apiece, this was an experience in itself.
A much more relaxing time was had when we took an early morning boat down river to the floating market at Can Bai. Not that there is much floating going on any more, but I always love a good wander around a market. Amongst the many tributaries on the delta, we also visited a snake farm and had lunch whilst being entertained by local musicians.
The next day, we decided to employ the car driver again to take us to the border town of Châu Đốc, and made better use of him this time by visiting the extensive flower markets at Sa Đéc and spent some time too in the Xeo Quyt rain forest where it was possible to see the entrances to some of the miles of tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the war.