Friday, October 30, 2015

mekong delta

For Friday we booked a private tour to the Mekong Delta. We had a hard time deciding for sure which tour we wanted to do. We were interested in seeing the floating market but in the end decided it probably wasn't worth the extra time in the car that it would require. I think in the end we were all happy with the choice we made. Our guide was a young man named Bao who had great English and was really good about answering all of our questions. 

Caleb captured this shot of a family of four on a motor bike on our way out of the city.

We stopped to look at some rice fields on our way as well.
All of the tours stop at a rest stop on the way out to the delta. It's quite a fancy rest stop but we couldn't see any reason to spend too much time there.

We did try out the monkey bridge.

A lotus flower, the national flower of Vietnam? Or maybe it's the official flower of Ho Chi Minh? I really don't remember.

We had a bit of a drive left after the rest stop and then it was time to board our boat.

Our first stop was a bee farm (is that what you would call it?). 

She took our hands and pressed a finger into the honeycomb so we could taste some fresh honey. It was so delicious!!!!
Then we got to taste a drink made up of hot water, kumquat juice, pollen, and honey. I'm still dreaming of this drink, it was so good. They were selling the honey and it was amazingly cheap. Unfortunately they only sold it in big bottles and none of us checked any baggage so we didn't think we could get it back to Singapore. I'm wishing we would have just tried. Mmmmmm, it was soooo good.

Then we got to hold a snake!
Brennan was crazy and wrapped it around his neck. Right after I took this picture it was basically licking his cheek. Eeeek!
Declan thought it was the greatest thing ever.
After they both had their turns they told me it was mine. Without even thinking I said okay, but insisted Brennan needed to take a picture fast and then I would be handing that bad boy off. I really didn't think it was that big of a deal but when I posted the picture on instagram I really seemed to surprise a lot of people that I would do that. I guess I'm glad I can still surprise people but also it's a little depressing that I come across as such a chicken that everyone was surprised I would hold a snake for five seconds. ;)

Brennan did capture some pretty awesome faces. I have never held a snake before and it was a little surprising how it felt. In case you can't tell. 

Declan didn't want to leave the snake.
That's a jack fruit. Which, as it turns out, doesn't taste amazing. But it sure is huge.

Up next was a horse cart ride. I kind of felt bad for this little horse pulling our crew. 

The snake was quickly forgotten once he saw the horses. This boy loves animals.
After the horse cart ride we got to try a bunch of fruit and listen to some local music.
Dragon fruit, pineaple, lychee, mango, and papaya.
The flavor of the lychee is fine but I just can't get past the eyeball look and texture. Bleh.

After Declan slipped no less than 87 times and got himself completely filthy we got to ride on sampan boats. It wasn't quite the peaceful and private ride they seem to advertise since there were about a million sampans in the water and they were all going as quickly as they possibly could so they could drop you off, collect your tip, and go pick up some more. But it was still fun.

Tatum wanted to ride in Caleb's boat, of course.

We got to wear the iconic conical hats. I felt silly after awhile and decided to take mine off. That's when I realized just how much it helps keep you cool. It went right back on my head!

We checked out some souvenirs and then headed back to our main boat.

Our next stop was a coconut candy "factory". We got to see how they make use of every single part of the coconut. Bao showed us the steps to making coconut candy and then we got to sample it. I am not a candy person but this stuff was gooood. We definitely brought some of that home with us.
Snake wine.
Lunch time.
Elephant ear fish was on the menu. Luckily they send someone to your table to take the meat off the bones and she made little wraps for us using the fish. They were really yummy! We also had some shrimp and some fried rice and meat. There was some other stuff too, that I'm not remembering.
Dessert was rambutan. Another eyeball-y fruit. I thought I tasted a hint of spice in my first one but I had used my spoon to get it out so I assumed there was just something on my spoon. But then my next one had some real fire to it. Enough so that I ended up spitting it out! I felt like my mouth was on fire. It was a bit of a mystery because rambutan is definitely not supposed to be spicy. But someone from the restaurant had come over and slide them open with a big knife. The only explanation we could come up with is that she had been using that knife on something spicy and hadn't cleaned it. 
Interesting posters the guys saw in the men's restroom.

We stopped next at a crocodile farm and the temple of the coconut religion. The grounds were quite beautiful.
Brennan got to tease the crocodiles with some fish.

Those guys didn't move a muscle. Even after they snatched the fish they just stayed absolute statues. It was rather impressive.

The temple of the coconut religion. I don't remember everything Bao told us about this religion. But the leader believed you should only survive on coconut for food and beverage and that you should be able to have 9 wives, among other things.

We got to try some coconut water when we got back on the boat to see if we would be able to live the coconut religion. Although it was definitely better than the last time I had it I still could only take tiny sips and didn't get anywhere close to finishing it. It is not my favorite.
Brennan loves it.
Caleb also said it was better than the last time he had which had been in Hawaii.
That brought us to the end of our time on the delta. We got back in the car and stopped at this Buddhist pagoda before heading back to the city.

This is Buddha of the present.

Buudha of the future.
Tatum really wanted her picture taken by this fish, which was actually a trash can.

You can't really see it very well, but sort of between and behind present Buddha and future Budda, is Buddha of the past laying down.

On the drive back to the hotel the kids watched a show and Declan fell asleep like that. Even though I know it wasn't on purpose or anything it just looks so sweet!

Bao also taught us a bit about the Vietnamese language. Here he is saying 'ma' over and over but depending on the way he says it means something different every time.

Seems tricky to me!

Trying to organize all these pictures and videos made me realize just how much we did that day! It was a full day for sure. Bao was a lot of fun and the day was great. We got back to the hotel and pretty much turned right around to head out for some food. We had to wait quite awhile for a taxi because it was raining so it was hard to find a free one. We went first to a restaurant called Relish and Sons. Caleb spotted an advertisement in the magazine on the airplane for their Pho burger and it looked really good. (Apparently those ads really do work. It got us, anyway.:)) We decided to just split it three ways and then head out to try some more food. We definitely should have just stayed there though. The burger was sooo good. And none of our other food really got close, plus it just added stress because we had to make more decisions, which is pretty much my least favorite thing in the world. ;)

Probably one of the funniest memories for me from this trip happened that night. After we finished at our second restaurant we asked the workers there if they could call us a cab from a particular company. We had waited so long for one at our hotel we just sort of assumed it would be difficult again. One guy was quite eager to help and went running out of the restaurant. But he literally just put his arm up and one stopped in like the first five seconds. We (mostly me) got a good laugh later thinking about how we must have looked. When we asked if they could call us a cab they probably wanted to respond with, "What, is your arm broken?" Hahahahahahahahaha.

Anywho, you probably had to be there ;). We headed back to our hotel, finalized our arrangements for the next day and hit the sack.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, we went to Relish and Songs too (because of the airplane magazine) just for the pho burger, only they were out of it! So disappointed.