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 DAY EIGHT - Can Tho, Vietnam

Previous Blogs: Day 1 Tokyo | Day 2 Tokyo | Day 3 & 4 Singapore | Day 5 Singapore | Day 6 Ho Chi Minh City | Day 7 Ho Chi Minh City & Tunnels

Day 8 Can Tho | Day 9 Floating Market | Day 10 Flower Market | Day 11 Hoi An | Day 12 My Son Temple | Day 13 Hanoi | Day 14-16 Halong Bay

Day 17 Luang Prabang | Day 18 Temples-Waterfalls | Day 19 Mekong River | Day 20-21 Bagan | Day 22 Bagan | Day 23 Inle | Day24-25 Inle

Click photos for a larger image...

8:30 am this morning we were picked up by our private tour guide and driver in a luxury SUV for a road trip with lots to see along the way. Nice to have just us and our own car - we felt like royalty! Over 2 million Dong in our pocket (less $100 USD)  helped with that royalty and millionaire facade.  LOL!!!!

Can I say We LOVE Vietnam!! It was our belief that countries termed "First World" (outdated terminology if you know its political historical roots) were places like Japan, Singapore, Western Europe, USA, get the drift.

"Third" World Countries are places we have to carry our own toilet paper, we can't drink the tap water, but a bottle of water is only 30 cents. Who cares?  Well....Vietnam doesn't classify as 1st or 3rd.  It's developing.

The drive was interesting and we immediately (to our surprise), conclude that Vietnam is not only a lot cleaner street wise than we expected, but actually significantly more industriaized than Thailand -  a supposedly more mainstream country. Certainly way cleaner than Mexico and several Caribbean countries we have been to.

We are headed for Can Tho - Southwest of Ho Chi Minh City. Along the way, I finally managed to pick up a hand carved foldable walking stick for my troublesome foot so it was going to be a good day!

First stop was at My Tho in the Mekong Delta, a series of rivers that collide together. What an adventure! Somehow no matter where we go in the world, we land up on a boat (or two, or three, or more!).

We started off by crossing the Mekong river. This was our captain and we had our own private boat.

HEY!! They have a bridge that looks just like our Sunshine Skyway Bridge!

We pulled into the first dock and were treated to folk music, amazing fruit and tea.

Our Tour guide showed us how the local people on the island live - their canal system, orchards and farming.

Then it turned out that our captain had allowed the fast running tide to beach her boat. ROOKIE!!!!  You know what they say - you have either gone aground or lied about going aground.

So our tour guide quickly negotiated rides on other boats for us.

And we saw more of how the locals live.

We took a ride on a Donkey Cart across the island.

This kid is fishing for eels which hide in the mud at the bottom of the river bed.

Some people live pretty basic...


While others on the island live a lot better!!

Now it was time for a ride in a Sampan!

Nice hat, boy!

With a strong running tide they glide down river and then have a simple diesel motor to power up river.

We arrive at the dock where we board another boat!

And now it was time for our INCLUDED lunch! And what a lunch it was!

It was a NINE course meal including the fish, fried chicken, soup, 2 kinds of rice, vegetables,  2 kinds of shrimp and spring rolls. Dessert was a fruit platter.  Dinner will week.

We had to pay for our drinks.  Three beers and two glasses of wine came to the outrageous amount of $6.00!!!

Elephant Ear Fish - cut up by the waiter and rolled with rice noodles in a lettuce leaf and rice paper

Wendy's Note:  I asked our tour guide if this was a "real" restaurant with authentic food or was it all catered for tourists?  This particular restaurant was built for the "west" and had designer chefs "tweak" the menu to cater to Western palates.  Overall - it truly was the most foody and amazing experience of my life!

And this was the view right from our table!

The final ride back to our car we had coconut milk fresh in the shell and a private boat to ourselves.

The colored boats reminded me of Hong Kong.

They use tugs to transport goods up and down the river towing barges.

The river looks "dirty" because it is extremely silty (much like the Mississippi).  They dredge the silt and transport it to their crops for much fertile soil. 

Next stop was a Buddhist Temple

With one of the largest Happy Buddhas I have ever seen

And the largest sleeping Buddha ever!!

Our hotel room in Can Tho - 4 star hotel and the "largest" hotel in town.

Can Tho is a city of 1,000,000 people

We found a little store on the corner near our hotel which sold beers for 75 cents, a French bottle of wine for $7 and a 500ml bottle of Vodka for $1.50. Gotta love getting out of the big city, prices get exponentially cheaper!

Tomorrow is only a half day of touring and the rest of the day free.  Wendy has decided (BIG SURPRISE) she'll go for a 60 minute massage which is...wait for it....wait for it...$6.00USD.  I told her to go ahead and splurge for the 90 minute massage, sauna, jacuzzi, pedicure and body exfoliation (whatever the hell that is) for $7.  It really won't break the bank at this treat.

Wendy's Note:  Fun Facts -

- There is NO drinking age in Vietnam.  A 5 year old can go to the store and buy smokes and booze for their folks like we (40 & 50 year olds now) did for our folks at that age.

- Legal marriage age is 18 for women and 20 for men. According to our guide, the government decided women are more mature at 18. Men don't grow up until 20.

- Propagandizing any religion is against the law.  

- 75% of the population does not know who the president is, nor do they care.  The people of Vietnam want a job, provide for their family and live a happy, peaceful life.

- Cops don't carry guns.  If they do, guns are not loaded.  If a criminal or cop wants to shoot someone, they must get permission from the Police Chief first.   

And finally....

If your liquor taste is out of the ordinary here are a couple products to try...

How about some Snake Whiskey? Yes, it's a poisonous snake, but they say the alcohol negates that... REALLY?

And if that's not good enough for you, how about combining a scorpion with your snake whiskey? All ready packaged to take home to your friends. Bet TSA would have a field day with dead critters in your luggage - even if they are in a bottle!