The Mekong

vietnam 770The part of the river where we lay at anchor last night is over a mile wide. These dredgers work all the time to ensure that the river flows easily down to irrigate the paddy fields. The dredged sand is sold to Singapore where they use it to enlarge their island. Clever, yes?

We visited a floating market. Completely unspoiled, only local produce sold to locals. No tourist shops. The shopkeepers hoist a bamboo pole on which they hang a sample of their wares. Sweet potatoes, Mangoes etc.vietnam 778 vietnam 854This is a working river and we passed the various mills where the rice is dehulked and polishvietnam 853ed. Barges go back and forth carrying rice at its different stages. The temperature is 32o and the humidity around 98%. Sometimes the camera lens steams up too much to use.

vietnam 810We visited a workshop where they make rice paper for the interminable spring rolls. I tried my hand at making one with very slight success.

vietnam 811The local people in the main, go about their business virtually ignoring us. I suspect that these people who talk loudly and go around in groups are not quite real to them.

We have been asked not to give anything to the local children, who are mostly very cute. The village elders don’t want to turn them into beggars. Further up river there is a village that has been adopted by the company that owns this ship. We have all collected the little gifts from the hotels we have stayed at. These gifts, shampoos, toothpaste, hand cream etc. will be given to the school teacher who will distribute them.

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