Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 2: Vibrant Ho Chi Minh Part 1 - Mekong Delta Tour

Met our guide and our 'tourmates' (does that word exist); all of them are Caucasians except of course our guide. As Long (our guide) have explained the ride will take about 1 hour and a half  going to the river banks, so he said that we have a stopover for short bathroom break. I was thinking the place would will be at a gasoline station or a convenience store. We stopped at a handicraft store but this is not just an ordinary store, the beautiful artworks are made by physically challenged victims of the so-called agent orange. (will explain about agent orange in Day 3 adventure). The establishment is a government subsidized project to help the victims, i wonder if we also have these kinds of projects in our country.

Day 2: Vibrant Ho Chi Minh PART 1 - Mekong Delta Tour

The tour cost around 10 USD/person, it's a half day tour which starts at 0830. By 10am,we got off from the shuttle and boarded a boat which would bring us to different places on Mekong Delta.

First Stop is at a Bee/Honey station. Josh and my sister got a chance to hold a live beehive and taste honey straight from it. I didn't try I was scared, I might drop it and all of us will be doomed. hehe! We were then escorted to a small dining area where we drank some tea together with honey. The honey tasted good, so good that Josh bought a bottle to bring it back here at home. It cost around 150PHP per bottle.

And for the first time, I let a snake crawl on my shoulder. It feels weird, creepy and slimy. My face says it all. haha! They also sell bottled cobras which they believed could cure diseases.

After the tea 'party' we had a 10-minute walk to get to the next destination.  Along the path  there were several souvenir shops, if you want to buy just don't forget to haggle; haggling skills is a must. We must have wandered for  quite some time that we didn't notice where our group went.  We followed a trail that led us to a waiting/meeting area, here had a sample of their home grown fruits like pineapple, watermelon and  banana while listening to the locals sing.

I had no idea that our next activity would be like a theme park inspired speed boat race. When we got on the boat our guide reminded us to keep our hands inside (the boat). He said that there were crocodiles in the river. yikes!  He was just kidding of course, but we have to really keep our hands inside because the boats bump with each other fast that you might not notice you're missing your fingers.  We found out that we can use the oars so we paddle away till we reached the end of the small river passage onto the Mekong River.

Next stop is what i call the coconut candy place. The coconut candy is made of  coconut milk and malt. They also show the step by step process on how to do it. It's interesting to see how our tour mates were fascinated with the process of getting milk out of the coconut. It is very common here in the Philippines but maybe for rich countries or 1st world countries its a rare treat. By the way, we bought some candies too for pasalubong. For Filipino readers, the candy tasted like our very own latik in a candy form.

After the coconut candy experience, we had lunch, a very interesting lunch indeed. Then after lunch we went back to the port where our van is waiting for us to go back to the city.