Lock-ins are fairly common in Ireland’s traditional pubs.
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Boating Through the Jungle
The Mekong Delta
Boating Through the Jungle
In the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Picking up a large branch from one of the local fruit trees, we wanted to look at how strong the leaves really were. We were told that these leaves were also used for roofing.
Woman taking a break on the Mekong Delta.
Navigating the Mekong
While visiting one of the small distributaries near the town of Rach Gia, in the southern Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, I noticed this elderly woman paddling against the current in a canoe. Larger boats with gasoline motors roared past, but she paddled steadily to stay in the area directly in front of us. Our translator told us she was dredging for roots at the bottom of the river. Judging by the curious looks she was sending our way, she was just as interested in watching us as we were in watching her.
The Road Less Traveled
The road less traveled does, indeed, make all the difference. Even when it comes to your choice of lodging. I have found that looking for lodging a bit outside of the norm not only provides an amazingly different view of the area you are visiting, you immerses you more deeply into the surrounding community and gives you a richer understanding of the people. We chose a boat on the Mekong Delta as our lodging for part of our trip through southern Vietnam. We stayed in some beautiful hotels during our trip but, bar none, this was the best part of the trip. For me, the best part of any travel experience is the opportunity you have to be removed completely from your day to day life. It enriches you in a way that nothing else can and, upon your return, makes you that much more appreciative of even the small things in your life.
If you head to Mekong Delta make sure you take the time to enjoy a cruise around the floating markets and enjoy the scenery.
Melove the Mekong
Sunset and relaxation on the Mekong..
Remaking Apocalypse Now
Sometimes you have to just give in. When dad says he wants to get on a boat, blast The Doors, and travel upriver into Cambodia to recreate his favorite scenes from Apocalypse Now...well, you agree. You grab your portable iHome. You lather on your sunscreen. And you smile and laugh and talk for hours with your dad.
Day Trip to Mekong Delta
My wife and I spent roughly 10 days in Southern Vietnam exploring Ho Chi Minh and Phan Thiết. Our schedule was tight so we could only do a day tour of the Mekong Delta which meant we would miss the peak action of the floating market in Cai Be. Nevertheless it was a great tour and gave us a brief glimpse of the daily life for locals. I would highly recommend visiting the area if you are spending any time in HCM.
Gardening...in the Mekong Delta
While cycling in the back roads (really paths) in the Mekong Delta, I came across this couple tending to their vegetable garden. We stopped to chat. Cycling puts you in touch with the local people. It brings you places you would never see otherwise.
Cycling the Mekong Delta
While cycling the back roads of the Mekong Delta we came across this woman “scootering”. Cycling allows you to interact with the locals and travel places a car could not go, especially in the Mekong.
Mekong Delta: Down the River without a Paddle
The Mekong Delta is the second great rice bowl of Vietnam, the first is in the north in the wake of the red river. Although the day we went was overcast, the light was fantastic, and the great bowl of river reflected the heavens and made the colours pulse like ancient marine paintings. It was fantastic to get away from the cluttered, polluted, noisy streets of Saigon, out to where it seemed the sky went on forever (which it does!) and the river had the breath and feel of the ocean. I could finally breathe again. The floating market was just ending, a few bedraggled barges laden with their cargoes of watermelon or mango were scattering over the expanse of muddy brown water, their owners kicking back with their feet over the stern rails, closing their eyes under the colourful umbrella of their drying clothing hanging above them. We circled around a huge expanse of delta, at one edge the ragamuffin stilt housing of the delta traders huddled together as if holding each other up on their decaying stumps. Out on the water huge mounds of floating greenery passed by, as if they were islands out in search of a new location on the globe, the air was fresh and reviving.
For me, the only way to travel is to get completely off the beaten track – literally getting off all major routes and getting lost, if necessary, in a destination. It’s for this reason that the Mekong Delta is one of my favourite places in Southeast Asia. I can take off on a bicycle down a winding track, or hop in a sampan and explore its snaking waterways and feel completely immersed in my own expedition. There are also floating markets I like to check out – the one in Cai Rang in the city of Can Tho is probably my favourite. Then there’s Ben Tre ‘Coconut Island’, which I always try to make time for whenever the traffic of Saigon gets too much!