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.
By Anne McGlynn
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