Boat life is laid back. Rest, enjoy the view, watch pictures of village life on the banks, eat, drink, rest, stay cool, rest and eat.
A stop in the afternoon and a visit to a little village, on Ngu Hiep island left the 4 tourists with a feeling of gratitude for what they have. Stepping ‘back in time’ whilst staying in the present was eye-opening. Visiting the fish farm and the basket weaving family was amazing however it was not until we watched 3 women at the brickworks doing what they do for 8 hrs every day did we leave with an everlasting memory.
We watchesd as one woman stood at the top of the mountain of newly fired bricks in a hot conical shaped kiln. She lifted 4 bricks at a time sending them down a track to a very old woman who took the bricks and loaded them onto a cart. This ‘senior’ then took the cart over to another woman who offloaded the bricks and stacked them into another pile. It was a Sunday and the place was hot and humid and the women did not stop. We left with our one question unanswered. WHERE WERE THE BLOKES?
Our stroll around the island also had the Aussie pair frantically avoiding the island dogs as they had ‘Dr Death’ in their ears. Don’t let them lick you or bite you.Don’t let them lick you or bite you. Don’t let them lick you or bite you. Mr X was oblivious to one very friendly canine giving his back legs a wash however Ms X was very much onto it when the same thing happened to her. The hand disinfectant that spy-girl packed came to the rescue. There’s a reason she carts around that black bag! Anyone for a bandaid, a gastro stop tablet, a plastic zip lock bag, tiger-balm, bushmans heavy duty, mintie, snakes or an anticlol???
There’s nothing like stopping for afternoon tea in a Mekong villager’s front garden. Jasmine tea and……
jackfruit, mangosteen and rambotans. Mr X got so into the moment that he was eating cores, seeds, the lot! He really does need to LISTEN to our tour guide in future.
Now breakfast, lunch and dinner on board is a sit down 5 course affair. Mr and Ms X were just too darn hot to dress up on Saturday night although Ms X changed from her Addidas-active wear top and Mr X did put on sandals. Our Belgian friends however took it up several levels. I think they thought it was a captain’s dinner and there was an Indian-royalty outfit on Andre and a dress and shawl on Claire. Ms X didn’t care. Remember, she was just too darn hot.
Over the course of our time on board we were served red schnapper, deep fried squid, pho,dragonfruit, onion and tomato soup, heaps of prawns in various ways, rice deep fried won tons, pancakes, scrambled eggs, rice, Did I mention rice and prawns? And lots of other Vietnamese delicacies. At one point, Mr X pointed to three garnishes of pumpkin flowers. “I draw the line of eating those ” he announced. Ms X reminded him that he had just scoffed 4 of them deep fried and stuffed with minced fish that he was licking his lips about.
A visit to the floating market where serious trading occurs every morning on the Mekong followed after breakfast the next day. To see a flotilla of boats with families all trying to sell or buy the produce was amazing to watch.
We were able to step ashore further up the river to see the alternative land-market. After visiting Thai, Chinese and Sri Lankan markets, the Aussie two thought they had seen it all until Mr X asked our guide if the cuts laid out in front of him were skinned and de-boned spatchcocks. The look on Mr X’s face when he heard that they were skinned and deboned rats!
Time to have lunch and farewell the crew and our cruise partners with a memory that will stay with us for a long time.