June 12, 2007
After crossing the border from Cambodia we managed to connect with the south bound bus to Can Tho.
The bus was $10US per person (standard foreigner pricing) which we had no choice but pay, as they could not understand English. The 20 seat van was packed full of passengers, and we hurtled towards our destination weaving past hundreds of motorbikes with a man standing near to open door shouting at passing motorists: “Ba La La Loi!”
For the rest of the tour in Vietnam, we refered to all crappy, fully laden buses driving at break-neck speeds as “Ba La La Loi buses.” We have no idea what the expression actually means.
We pulled up at Can Tho bus station after three hours. There we hoped we were at the right bus station as there were no signs written in English. Fortunately, out motto-drivers knew where we were going, so they gladly took us to our guesthouse. From there we arranged a tour of the Mekong River for the following day.
One thing came clear: we needed to change our US dollars to Dong, as although the Vietnamese accepted it, the currency conversion was a disadvantage. A trip to the ATM turned us all into millionaires: $200US converts to about 3.2 million Dong.
The tour around the Delta was an all day event. We awoke at 4.30am, and we boarded our long-tailed Vietnamese boat and we headed for the morning market. There would have been hundreds of boats there with the locals carrying out their trading activities.
After meandering through the market, we stop off briefly to witness rice noodles being prepared at a family home. Then with a little more river touring we stopped for morning tea at the boat driver’s relatives place. Their home, mounted on poles, over-hung the river.
The family welcomed us in warmly, but the language barrier affected communication,so they resorted to getting us drunk on rice whiskey. The most horrible stuff, but these Vietnamese seem to love it.
After an hour at this house we carried on our tour, which was a little uneventful. I got a little bored of miles of river bank, although watching the kiddies play in the water and shouting ‘allo’ was entertaining.