|From our cooking class|
|Wood Carver in Hoi An|
|Cu Chi Tunnels|
(Sunday) This morning we left Saigon early. I was happy to leave. The city is overwhelming and did not leave me wanting to explore. Half of our group is also sick. We take a bus and stop at the "Happy Place"along the way. It's an area with lotus flower gardens and cafes. We primarily use it as a rest stop but take some time to walk around as well.
The Mekong Delta is an extremely fertile area. The area is especially known for coconuts. We tried to stop at a few places that make coconut candy, but they were closed. Finally, we found one down the beaten path and around a corner. They had nice warm coconut candies for us to sample upon arrival. It was so decadent and chewy. It stuck to my teeth, but I didn't mind. I sampled all the flavors they had including ginger, chocolate, tea, etc. We watched the process from start to finish. It was a nice little break before heading out on our bike ride again.
About half way through our ride the path evened out, and the motorbikes lessened. The breeze felt great against the sun. We rode through rice fields and more gardens. It was the perfect afternoon. Around lunch time we took a boat to a small restaurant. The boat was loud and slow, but I passed out. When we arrived we had fresh seafood and a spread of other dishes. Of course it all tasted superb. Shortly after lunch I found my way to a hammock and took a snooze. It's so nice to enjoy a Sunday afternoon with the warmth of the sun and the cradle of a hammock.
We rode our bikes a bit longer until we came to a larger boat. It took us to our home stay for the evening. It was more of a guesthouse than anything. It was a "floating" guesthouse above beds of lilies and water. We shared our showers with geckos and ate above the river. It was simplistic and homely. The fourteen of us were split into two rooms based on 80s and 90s kids. I swear, those 90s kids have missed out on a lot of great things :)
(Monday) We woke up bright and early to take the boat back. Along the way we passed the floating market. It was a bit slow since things tend to calm down after the new year. Then we transferred to a van to take us near the border of Cambodia. We stopped for lunch along the way and had more fresh seafood. I love all the seafood; it's so nice to have a whole fish to pick apart and enjoy. Our ride continued. I was tired and achy from being in a van for so many hours. I did manage to get a lot of reading done. I could not put down Into Thin Air. It's about the '96 Mount Everest disaster. I ended up reading it in two days because it was so good. The only time I stopped reading was when I had to. We were dropped off just outside the border where we grabbed our packs and began walking. There were vibrant green rice fields that stretched to the far mountains. We were stamped out of Vietnam and began our walk to Cambodia.