|Today was full of buses, boats, and the unexpected (in that we joined a tour but the itinerary was unclear). Of the important facts we were certain-- the tour was to leave Saigon this morning and is a 2 day, 1 night excursion through the Mekong Delta, exiting Vietnam and ending in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At $35 per person, that's not too terrible a deal.
We had an AMAZING breakfast this morning before leaving Saigon, repeating Bahn Xeo and Bahn Khot from the same vendor as yesterday. The woman seemed extremely pleased that we returned, and we definitely were as well!
Then we were off! The tour bus left around 7:45-- we said goodbye to Saigon, and we were on our way.
The first stop was the floating market at Cai Be. It was an interesting place-- we boarded a long boat to cruise the river and observed many sellers on the water, boats full of watermelons, or potatoes, or taro. It's a wholesale market only, buy in bulk, sell in bulk. Boats hang an example of their wares so that it is easy to tell what's on-board.
Next stop, a candy factory of sorts. We got to sample the wares and observed the making of pop-rice (think popcorn, but with rice instead, and a more complicated cooking process involving sand and sifting), as well as rice wine and coconut candy. Yum!
Then back to the boat! We cruised smaller canals until lunch time, when we hopped on bicycles for a short ride to the restaurant. Lunch was included in the tour and was decent, though small.
After lunch, we took the bus to Chau Doc (the town of a million mosquitoes!), stopping at a crocodile farm on the way. We settled in at our floating hotel (we are sleeping on the river!) and then, tour over for the day, we set out in search of food. We had steamed pork buns, a bowl of interesting dumpling soup, and a 20,000d ($1) plate of tasty grilled pork, rice and veggies. Best taste and best deal! We finished off our meal with some bread-y bakery treats, also cheap. Mmm!
Negatives about Chau Doc: 1) it is HOT (and there is no AC in our room); 2) there are WAY TOO MANY insects-- I hope it's just because we are right on the water and that it won't be so buggy the rest of the trip!!
AC from here on out!