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Vietnam

2011 - H & A WORLD CRUISE - VIETNAM


View 2011 H&A - NEW ZEALAND TO RED SEA on hasbeen's travel map.

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THE MS AMSTERDAM IS TOO LARGE TO GET UP RIVER TO SAIGON & THE EXCURSIONS THERE LOOKED VERY LONG, SO I OPT TO GO TO VANG TAU, ON THE COAST.

VERY CLOSE TO BEING THE WORST DECISION OF MY LIFE.

MARCH 11, 2011

THIS IS THE DAY JAPAN WAS HIT BY THE TSUNAMI.

JAPAN IS NOT THAT FAR AWAY BUT LUCKILY FOR ME THE FORCE OF THE TSUNAMI WAS DIRECTED EAST AND NOT WEST.

I HEARD SOME PASSENGERS SAY THEY SAW UNUSUAL WAVES BUT I DID NOT NOTICE A THING. EVERYTHING WAS VERY PLACID.

BUT IS DOES SEEM THAT BAD THINGS ARE HAPPENING AROUND US. FIRST THE EARTHQUAKE HIT CHRISTCHURCH IN NEW ZEALND A FEW DAYS AFTER WE LEFT, & NOW THE TSUNAMI.

BUT - ON WITH THE SHOW

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VERY PATRIOTIC FISHING BOATS FESTOONED WITH FLAGS & LIGHTS..

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GA RAN KENTUCKY ANYONE??

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LADIES SWIM WITH THEIR CONICAL HATS ON....

... . . & HERES THE TSUNAMI COMING ASHORE....

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A TEMPLE STOP....

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AND BACK TO THE SHIP.

IT HAD ONLY BEEN A HALF DAY TOUR SO PLENTY OF TIME TO SIT ON DECK WATCHING LIFE ON THE RIVER.

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KIDS TRYING TO SELL STUFF TO PASSENGERS MANY FLOORS ABOVE THEM...

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WANNA BUY A WATCH?

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THAT WAS A VERY PLEASANT DAY - BUT NOT FOR THOSE POOR SOULS IN JAPAN.

Posted by hasbeen 06:50 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - HO CHI MINH CITY

Yesterday - Cambodia.

So today must be Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh city, or Saigon as most people know it still.

I was in Vietnam in 2011 & was pleasantly surprised by it.

lots to see.

HCM City is a long way inland which is why I did not get here last time. That boat was too big to get up river.
This one is smaller & it's just a walk to downtown....

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It's vietnam so there are bound to be guns around...

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& standing room only on the scooters. Scooters are another of my favourite subjects. How much can one hold? There are 4 on this one & that is not unusual at all.

Even the pigeons get satellite.

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Pretty girls? Maybe, It's hard to tell.

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But very lovely birds...

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& some fast traffic on the Saigon river. Not the Mekong as lots of people seem to think. Off to the Mekong tomorrow. Is that a temple behind?

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Back to the ship to change for the evening & there is an Azamara ship parked next door, which is a sister of my ship, the Oceania Nautica... I have also been on the Ocean Princess, another sister.. I should collect the set.

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Heading out for an evening on the roof at the Majestic hotel, its a tad busy on the streets....

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Waiting in the wings

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Very pretty dancing girls & there is even a banner of welcome for our tour group..

& Music...

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This lady is playing a bamboo xylophone. Traditional Vietnamese music - I think she was playing el condor passa from the Bridge over Troubled Waters album.

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No joke - I recognized quite a bit of the music.
They must do it so people recognise something or they think people would probably get bored if it was unrecognizable Vietnamese tunes.

I saw Art Garfunkel perform solo a while ago here in Ottawa. Great entertainer. Said they broke up cos he thought it should be Garfunkel & Simon..

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Many costume changes & what wonderful outfits the girls wore...

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And the end....

Out into the night through the swish hotel

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Picture taking was hard as the lights changed so quick & lots of movement.

It was a good night. Had a beer or two since they were included, & some Shrimp.

Posted by hasbeen 18:24 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - MEKONG RIVER

An early start as it's a long ride towards the coast & a ride on the Mekong river delta

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Lots of traffic....

Tigers!!!

That is a kid, not a toy.

She looks comfy..

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Family graves close to home...

Cross a river or two..

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& a stop at - you guessed it - a temple...

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She holds the incense above her head so that her prayers are wafted to heaven on the smoke...Nice thought.

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Lovely lilies or maybe Lotus. Lily I think..

There are several Buddha here..this one is laughing. Never catch Jesus doing that.

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& here taking a well earned nap.. a sleeping Buddha.

Ladies really do wear the conical hats. This one selling incense sticks.

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THE MICKEY MOUUSE CAFE !

At long last we get to the river, at My Tho.

We are going to cross the river & visit a place where they raise bees, sample some bee products, have a bite to eat while listening to a folkloric show, go for a punt through a mangrove swamp & back to the ship. It's a full day..

My boat on the left..

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my driver...

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Everything stowed away, ship shape & Bristol fashion..

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Passing the locals..

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Almost across the river now...Nice bridge..

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I am not sure if we are on the other shore or an island in the river...anyway, more conical hats

& this girl is showing us the bees in the hives...

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This one is serving the honey tea & little tasters of Royal honey & bee products. For sale of course. I actually bought something. Forget what - A little snack maybe.

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Then tastes of fruit & some singing. More western tunes played on eastern instruments. There was a saucer of salt mixed with chilli. Tasted great when the fruit was dipped in it.

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A friendly Gecko...

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The lady punters waiting to on load their passengers. 4 to a boat except the guy in front of me was so huge I suggested there should only be 3 of us in it.

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our driver must have been about 90 & she made a point of complaining ( in Vietnamese ) about how hard it was to move us. It was super hot & it did look like hard graft.

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The guy in the boat in front of me nearly fell in trying to disembark. No way was I going to catch him.

But everyone made it safe ashore & I gave the old lady a good tip. She couldn't get anything out of the fat guy, much as she tried.

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We then visit a place where they make sweets out of Taro. .

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There is an open fire where the ingredient is heated. Process is a bit like making Maple Syrup. Keep boiling off the water. I had a bag for about 5 more countries. Nice & chewy...

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Oh Oh - Snake warning

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Cross over the bridge

Pass this lady who thinks it is absolutely hilarious to scare the tourists with her little snake...I do too, but then she wasn't trying to drape it round my neck.

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Back across the Mekong...

Passing more overburdened scooters

I was told what was in these little green boxes but forget. Something to do with Chinese new year which is still not over yet.

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& we leave Saigon & head down the Saigon River & out to sea.

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What a long, lovely day..

Posted by hasbeen 18:23 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - DA NANG

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Have now moved up the coast a little to Da Nang.

Today it's mostly just a bus ride with shopping stops & a photo op at the beach.

Heading out of the port, we cross over a bridge & look down on the bay..

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& go visit a small museum.

The guide is taking way too long talking outside so I sneak inside on my own & there is a show about to start ....

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& these girls off to one side putting the finishing touches on their costumes .....

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and the show itself....

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Just about all the rest of the tour missed this but it was good.

Actual Vietnamese, no English at all.

Quite delightful..

Of course there was shopping but even I liked this one. Girls sitting at screens sewing silk embroidery into fabulous pictures. I saw more of these in China & it really is beautiful & exquisitely done. Must be very hard on the girls eyes..
No photos allowed in doors but this is a quick one outside the shop. too much glare on the photo.

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On to an indoor market where they sell every thing..

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even mice.... alive mice....

My favourite shot of the trip.

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Lovely smiling faces on the Buddha & the girls...

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It's that time again - temple time... a little different than normal though...

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very peaceful..

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& some naked ladies at a marble sculpture shop..

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A quick stop at China beach - famous R&R stop for Americans.

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Nice view of the big Buddha across the bay....

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& coracles in the front. They use coracles in Wales.

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& then back through some lush scenery

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people coming out to take photos of us... which is pretty boring as this girl shows.

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fishing for supper...

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Off to Ha Long Bay tomorrow - still Vietnam.

Gonna be out on the water & a water puppet show in the evening.

Posted by hasbeen 18:23 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - HA LONG BAY

Ha Long Bay

...........is in the north of Vietnam & famous for these strange limestone rocks called Karst.

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I did see some on shore so it is not just a sea thing.

We came into the bay quite early, during breakfast.
It was very misty & very atmospheric & I thought I would take the photos of this area on the way out.

No such luck, we left at night.

Here's Jenny & Don waiting for the boat to dock

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& we are right under the fog horn...and it is L O U D.ddddddd..

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Anyway, after getting off there was a short bus ride to get on a junk for a ride around the bay where for the most part the mist had lifted...

This young boy & girl girl are outside our boat. She slid the window open & offered bananas for sale, which we bought.

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Our guide came over later & said it was not a good idea to eat them.

Oops- too late.

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Mary, waiting for her tea to be poured...

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These boats are part of a floating village...

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A sea dog or two

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Family day out...on a passing junk

......with the young girl blowing us kisses.

Pretty fancy clothes...

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Some fishing going on ...

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We had a few hours out on the boat & some people got off & scaled the steep steps for a view. I stayed on board. Too slippy. I am not good with steps.

lots of families out today...

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Jenny & Don went up.. You can just make them out over this ladies shoulder...over the happy new year sign..

An this shows the amazing zoom on my camera... & Don must have a picture of me from up there..

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In the evening I attended a Water Puppet show.

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Very nice....not exactly Punch & Judy.

Much less violent but lots of action.

A bit to fast for good photos but I tried anyway...

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The Puppeteers saying goodbye.

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Another good day...

Posted by hasbeen 18:23 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - HA LONG BAY 2

So - the last days in Vietnam.

Still around Ha Long Bay but going inland to have some Zen Buddhism instruction. Except there was no instruction, just a visit..

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Passed at an actual rice paddy....

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& some food for sale by the side of the road...

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non-refrigerated of course...

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At the Temple Sandy gets asked by some locals to have their photo taken with the foreigner. She's tickled with that..

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It's around this time that I started to talk to a lady who has a cabin on my deck with her husband.

She is from Ontario & I later found out she is an Author. Unpublished as yet. Is writing a genealogical mystery. I looked her up when I got home but cannot find any trace of her. Too bad I did not get her e mail.

But a few weeks later I found her on-line & her book is now out & I bought it but I have not finished as yet.

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A young girl, practising her Zen by the look...

.....and inside the temple complex which is quite extensive...

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This is as close as we get to meditation....

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& I get the "can I have my photo taken with the foreigner?"

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Well - I guess so....

Her boyfriend taking the photo was not nearly as pretty.

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Some people making offerings....

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We leave the temples behind & make a stop at a farmers house where he is plowing the field....

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His mother & baby...

We get shown around the house...

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His wife showing us some flowers & son....She gave us all tea & sweets.

You can see the tiny tea cups on the table behind...

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Their kitchen....

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I think this is the owner of the property or the farmers father, or both

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The wife talking about plants with one of our group. Either her or her sister was a chemist who had something to do with the invention of the light wands that you see at concerts. Or that is what I was told.

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The next door neighbours....

Fairly rare to see this....

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We head back to the ship...

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I got back to the ship & had plenty of time before the ship departed so I took the shuttle bus into town. Out of the dock area & up & down a steep hill to a market by the ocean. Walked around there for a bit & then decided to walk back to the ship. Had a beer in a scruffy little bar then carried on up to the top of the hill where there were lots of people selling offerings for the temple.

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The temple was at the top of an extremely steep set of stairs but I decided to go up anyway. One of my better temple experiences in that there were no tourists up here at all. No one really took much notice of me except to smile & giggle. It was nice. Lots of little shrines where people offered money & things. Lots of praying.

I left there & carried on down the hill & into a one street, non tourist village. I was a bit tired after walking up & down the hill & I noticed an old guy & two ladies drinking tea from tiny cups at what I took to be a cafe or food outlet of some sort. I asked if I could have a coffee & the ladies giggled & handed me a thimble sized cup of tea. I sat down on a tiny stool at a tiny table ( everyone squats down here ) & none of these people spoke English. I drank my tea & watched what was going on around me & did not pay much attention when a scooter pulled up & filled up. Then a 20 something girl arrived with 2 young girls & she asked me in english what it was I was doing there. Obviously she had been summoned by the old ladies. "coffee" says I - & then it dawned on me that I was in a gas station & I was drinking these peoples own tea.

No wonder they were giggling.

Stupid white guy.

I had a nice conversation with the girl & her older daughter who both spoke pretty good english.

As I was leaving I tried to give the old lady a couple of notes for the tea & when the old guy reached out to take it, the old lady slapped his hand away. I tried to give it to the little girl but the old lady took it & stuffed it in my shirt pocket..

On the short walk from there to the ship there were some girls selling religious offerings by the side of the road & I bought some little cakes - trying to offload some left over Vietnamese money. Got 10 times more than I expected. A whole box instead of one cake.

Further along there were 3 ladies squatting down, pruning shrubs who saw my bags of stuff I had just bought & wanted some.

I think they were just joking but I shared the cakes around anyway.

More laughter - silly white barbarian.

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A good end to my time in Vietnam.

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Posted by hasbeen 18:23 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

2015 - MEKONG RIVER - Beginning in Saigon


View 2015 PANDAW - MEKONG, ANGOR WATT TO SAIGON on hasbeen's travel map.

IT WAS A BIT OF A RUSH FROM SINGAPORE TO SAIGON BUT I ARRVED IN PLENTY OF TIME.

THE TAXI PEOPLE AT THE AIRPORT WHISKED ME STRAIGHT TO A TAXI & IT WAS A FAST RIDE THROUGH THE MANIC TRAFFIC TO THE HOTEL. WE BRUSHED AGAINST A COUPLE ON A SCOOTER BUT EVERYONE EXCEPT ME SEEMED TO THINK IT WAS AS NATURAL AS BREATHING.

I WAS ONLY AT THE HOTEL FOR A FEW HOURS AS THE CRUISE GROUP GATHERED FOR THE BUS RIDE TO THE BOAT.

HERE'S LOOKING DOWN ON THE HOTEL FOYER - CHINESE NEW YEAR ...

THIS PART OF MY TRIP IS A PANDAW RIVER CRUISE ON THE MEKONG PANDAW FROM CLOSE TO THE SEA IN VIETNAM TO NEAR SIEM REAP IN CAMBODIA.

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A QUICK RIDE THROUGH SAGON ...

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AND OUT INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE ...

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ONLY A BIT OVER AN HOUR TO THE PANDAW BOAT, DOCKED AT MY THO .. AT THE EDGE OF THE MEKONG DELTA

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AND BEFORE WE KNEW IT WE WERE OFF ALONG THE MEKONG ..

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THE FIRST EVENING WE WERE TREATED TO SOME LOCAL MUSIC ON DECK .. WITH ROGER HERE SERVING COMPLIMENTARY BOOZE

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ROGER -STILL HARD AT IT ...

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THE FOLLOWING MORNING WE HAVE BREAKFAST IN THE MOST EXCELLENT DINING ROOM & THEN BOARD ONE OF TWO SMALL BOATS FOR A RIDE TO THE VILLAGE OF CAI BAI ...

HERE ARE TWO OF OUR GUIDES FOR THE DAY ..

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I THINK THESE LADIES ARE LOCAL TAXI DRIVERS ..

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LOTS OF NICE RIVER TRAFFIC TO SEE BEFORE WE STEP ON LAND ...

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HERE WE ARE ABOUT TO LAND ..

AND LANDED ..

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WE GET TO SEE SOME LOCAL ARTISTS AT WORK ..

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THAT MIGHT BE A STILL FOR RICE WINE .. WHICH WE ARE OFFERED A TASTE OF ..

BUT THIS IS DEFINITELY SNAKE WINE ...

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THE YOUNG GUIDE DID NOT HAVE A TASTE BUT I TRIED THEM BOTH. QUITE TASTY. A BIT LIKE A SPANISH BRANDY. CHEAP & CHEERFUL.

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THIS LADY IS MAKING RICE PAPER ..

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SNAKE WINE FOR SALE - NOT WINE REALLY, MORE A SPIRIT ..

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ONE OF THE PADAW CREW ARE ALWAYS WITH US WITH A FIRST AID BAG & THESE MEN ARE ALWAYS ON THE LOOK OUT TO KEEP THEIR GUESTS SAFE ..

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BOTTLED SNAKES & SCORPIONS ..

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NOW WE ARE OFF LAND & BACK TOWARDS THE BOAT ..

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A BIT OF A TRAFIC JAM - TAXI DRIVERS, THE SAME THE WORLD OVER ..

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HERE WE GOT A BIT STUCK IN THE WATER HYACINTH .. WHICH I UNDERSTOOD TO BE A PROBLEM PLANT BUT EVERYONE HERE THINKS IS OK. EVERY PART OF IT GETS USED FOR SOMETHING.

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SUNSET COMES EARLY & FAST ..

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FERRIES KEEP GOING & FISHERMEN KEEP FISHING ..

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WIERD COLOURS ON THE WATER & THAT'S THE END OF OUR FIRST FULL DAY ON THE MEKONG.

IF YOU ARE AROUND GILLETE, WYOMING & READING THIS, I SEE YOU HAVE SPENT A WHILE READING MY MYANMAR STUFF, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT AS I AM INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU THINK OF MY ENTRIES HERE.

IF YOU OR ANYONE ELSE ARE INTERESTED IN THE REST OF THIS TRIP YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE TO E MAIL NOTIFCATIONS. AS FAR AS I KNOW IT DOES NOT OPEN YOU UP TO SPAM & JUNK MAIL.

Posted by hasbeen 05:59 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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