Our ship was moored approximately a hour from Saigon. Increased water traffic around the Saigon water ways means that more shipping is now restricted in the city area. The Mekong river starts in China and then is split as it enters Vietnam ( Male and female dragons). Within the delta, it splits into 9 tributaries ( the dragons children). This is the main food bowl for Vietnam producing 3 rice harvests a year as well as a huge variety of fruits.
We were welcomed with cocktails in the evening and then a concert by local musicians and singers using traditional instruments and songs telling of everyday life.
Excursions today were to two different towns. Cai Be (means rafts) was the first. Originally timber was floated down he river and used to make rafts to cross between the islands in the delta.. Near the town is a series of boats. Each boat advertised its products by attaching it to the mast. Small boats go to each larger boat , selects products and then takes the foods to sell up the river at smaller markets.
In the village we visited a Catholic Church. During the war the catholic nuns and priests were ordered to leave, Many other Catholics left at that time. The church was taken over and there are bullet holes in the windows.
Rice is amazing. In Vietnam it is eaten as rice or rice paper, turned into sweets, used to make products, turned into wine and herbal medicines . It’s husks are used as fuel in cooking, heating and making bricks. The ash is then sold back to the farmers as fertilisers. Silt and oil is heated
Coconut,peanuts and other flavours are added to the popped rice or to tapioca prepared the same way. Coconut caramel is made from coconut milk and the husks used for building, hats, heating etc
Rice is used in medicines. Our guide explained how fermented rice was used to treat children’s worms. It was also distilled to make rice whiskey. Would you drink this……its very good for you.
In the afternoon we saw the other uses of rice in the brick and tile factory in the village of Sa Dec. Following this we visited an Asian Romeo and Juliet, a French girl and a Chinese man. They were separated and went on to marry other people.
The French girl or the woman chosen by the parents? A movie called the “Lovers “was made.