We also go to try Cobra wine, which is kinda like moonshine. I think Brad and I were the only ones to try it, and a lot of the girls were freaked out by the cobra at the bottom of the bottle, but I figure that they aren’t going to kill off the tourists, so I had one. OK – maybe a few! It was much better than the local rice wine and I could get used to it I guess. When in Rome....
As in most places in Veit, they diversify their attractions and had a yellow python you could get your picture taken with. I hate snakes in boxes and will never do that – it amounts to animal cruelty to me, but I have to say Laura did so so so so well and got her picture taken. She is absolutely terrified of snakes and after a few goes, some screaming, massive heart palpitations and maybe a little pant wetting, she did get it over her shoulder and got a photo. It must be like a dog and sensed the fear, for it promptly snaked its tail up her shorts. I thought she was going to faint, and I very nearlly joined her in the pant wetting situation, although mine was from laughter. You're a pro Laura! Way to face your fears.
We all went biking around the village we were staying at on Coconut Island which is in the middle of the delta. The villages are pretty much divided up by elevated concrete/dirt/gravel paths about the width of one moped that run above the rice paddies everywhere you want to go. Its very very cool, until a moped comes the other way and then you can’t decide whether to keep your speed up (which means balance on a pushbike) and cycle past him on the edge of the drop off, or to stop and get off and get the timing wrong and go in the ditch anyway. Thankfully my “braving it” and just cycling past paid off and no ditch swimming for me!
A Vietnamese drinking game with rice wine followed dinner which saw Paige end up with charcoal all over her face and had some of us 3 or 4 shots of rice wine the poorer. Fun though. The locals love their games and it was fun to get to participate in some way. Our homestay was actually a special dorm they have created so we weren't actually with a family, which seems kind of strange but was fun none the less. We had bunk beds with mosquito nets which felt very much like Asia.
Brad and I got up early and headed out among the village taking photo’s and got some awesome shots, but I have to say those little old ladies are tiny, but they are quick! You get your camera out, lens cap off and they’ve overtaken you on their 100 year old deadly treadly….
After 2 days in the delta we headed back to Saigon which we thought might be a bit confronting after a few days of lazy village life. Not to be however, Saigon as busy as it is, and as cosmopolitan as its becoming, holds that "country town" feeling and it was great to see it again.
There are some amazing buildings and galleries in Saigon and while its very South East Asian in its style, its much much more modern than I would have thought. A great wandering city and Brad and I of course spent pretty much a whole day just walking and photographing, and drinking amazing Vietnamese coffee. If you haven't had it, its coffee made with condensed milk. Very sweet but very yummy.
Only 2 more days in Saigon and we could have easily filled another one at least and of course no visit would be complete without a visit to the War Remnants museum, but that’s another post…
This pic on the right was of an elderly gentleman we met on our early morning delta walk. Through another young boy he managed to tell us that he was probably around 80 (he wasn't really sure how old he was), had 5 children and 21 grand children. I don't know if it was lost in communication but if I understood it correctly, his oldest grand son is somehow involved in the government. In what capacity I couldn't get.
- Try to find a village home stay. While its not really a family home stay it is a village one and is necessary to see village life.
- Do the cycle tour - its fun and you get to see how the villagers really live.
- Always have your camera out and ready.
- Find the kids - they can help you communicate and get some real life stories.
- Don't give the children anything. They ask for lollies and candy - don't give them any. That's not how they live here.