Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Hey there,
We have been gone from the blog for a while. Yes, we are back at it now. While we were in China, we did not have access to our google applications. As you can probably guess, the blog posts are a bit back dated, but we will keep them coming so you can share in the adventures. Well catch up at some point.

We took a day tour out of Ho Chi Minh City into the Mekong delta. It is a large region in which the Mekong river fans out creating lots of little islands, but lots of small communities as well.

The adventure began with a boat ride up the river.

Our first stop was at a bee farm. We had the chance to try some of the local honey as well as some other surprises.

OOH, Scary bees. " Careful, dont drop it!"

Some snakes are pets....

Some snakes are made into hooch, that's right Vietnam moonshine.

The call it
snake wine or shéjǐu in Vietnamese. It is a strong rice wine in which they put cobras, scorpions, and other strange creatures. It has been used in the past for medicinal uses, but I think that it was the high alcohol content that got the patient feeling better.

We were served a snack of local fruits with tea. Mmm, my favorite part of being in South East Asia.

We boarded the boat again and went to another island to tour a coconut candy factory. The process was demonstrated from start to finish. First was the removal of the hull and then they broke in to the nut itself to remove the meat.

The white meat is then ground in to a pulp.

The pulp then goes into a press and squeezed like apple cider to extract the sweet milk.

Using the shells from the coconut to fuel the fire, the milk is cooked down to create a gooey taffy.

The taffy is cooled, pressed in to a mold, cut and then hand wrapped.

After the candy portion of the tour, we took bikes and rode through the villages in the area.

A boy selling fruits and veggies.

Lunch time. There was a local fish with white eyes that they deep fried whole. It was said to be a tasty local dish, but we passed. I still don't regret that choice. ( I did try the snake wine though)

A water buffalo. "Nice little guy." (scratch, scratch, scratch)

Our ride back to the boat was great. We hopped aboard a small boat and rowed down some swampy canals. Wearing the peaked rice hats, we kept our eyes peeled for alligators and snakes.

Along with us on the tour was a sweet Vietnamese couple who kindly shared their culture and answered numerous questions that we had.

The tours was a bit cheesy at times and we were sold stuff, but it was fun in the same right. We got to see alot in one day. Final consensus... a recommended experience.

NEXT: A quick stop in Singapore in route to Bangalore, India.


Jeff said...

You know I thought you'd become Jesse and Chelsie Kurtz, disappeared upriver leading a mountain tribe and inventing strange rites. I guess a Google conflict makes more sense these days. So nice to see another post. Can't wait for more ...

Amber said...

So I was looking at your blog posts and hadn't seen this one... I told Beth (Tamara's assistent in the Office) to come look at your pictures! We turned to this post, and we were grossed out by the snake wine!!! Yuck. But good job for trying it, I admire you very much :) Can't wait to see you SOON! LOVE love LOVE you guys!

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