As I slowly approached the Cai Be floating market on the Mekong, and my eyes adjusted, I realized that I was looking at not a solid land mass, but hundreds of floating boats crammed together side by side, this way and that - essentially a farmers' market on water, Mekong-style.
The woman in this photo was peeling and slicing pineapple after pineapple to order - the best pineapple I've ever had, to be sure. She even let me climb aboard her boat to get a closer look.
One boat was loaded down with hundreds of coconuts; another was piled high with what looked to be thousands of bananas. If you're thirsty or hungry, this market is where it's at.
Care for a cold beverage? In the mood for pho? Just signal the boat carrying soft drinks, beer and ice - essentially a floating 7 Eleven - and place your order. Or wave down the waterborne noodle shop. They'll ladle out steaming hot broth and fresh noodles and pass it to you, carefully, over the side of your gently rocking boat. Slurp fast, though, because they are waiting for you to return their bowl and spoon before moving on to the next customer.
In the middle of the muddy Mekong, commerce runs wild and the scene is surreal. The beer is cold, the pho is hot and the opportunity to experience local life on one of the world's most famous rivers is precious. If you're headed that way, you won't want to miss it.
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