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 DAY NINE - Floating Market, 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...

Up until now I have actually been eating the Asian breakfast instead of the Western, as most hotels provide both. This morning however they had an omelet station, so I reverted to Western breakfast - funny thing though, no cheese. I have never seen an omelet station ever when cheese was not an option.

Even more weird on the Western buffet table, the bacon and sausage was served cold (sacrilege!). Wendy was in heaven as every topical fruit she adores was more than plentiful.

Our day started at 8am this morning when our tour guide and driver came to pick us up for a trip to the floating market.

On the left is our SUV with the driver standing at the rear ready to open door for Wendy and our tour guide standing in front.

This city is pretty cool, and extremely clean. Lots of restaurants everywhere and comparable with any Western restaurants in terms of cleanliness and decor.

And here we are on our own private boat that can seat up to 40 people. I am REALLY liking this private tour guide thing! All the other tour group boats that came by us were jammed packed.

The boat has an interesting way of driving it. The wheel obviously steers. For the gears there is a long shifter for forward and reverse, but the throttle is just like your car, operated by foot, but in this case your LEFT foot.

The floating market is  not like any market we have ever been to before, which are vendors in small boats selling their wares to the public on the river and upon its banks.

This is not the case for this market. It is commercial wholesale only.

The farmers from up the river bring their produce down to the city in larger boats which they live on for about 7-10 days or until everything is sold.

Retailers and stall vendors then arrive in smaller boats to buy the produce in bulk to take back to their stores for resale.

If the farmers need to go ashore for anything they tow a smaller boat with them, but most don't leave their boats as there is no need. Other vendors in smaller boats come up to them to sell them food and other necessities.

Here are typical farmers boats.  NOTE: All boats have poles sticking in the air, hanging from the pole is the ware they are selling.  It makes life easier when specifically looking for melon, dragon fruit, squash, etc...

And below are stall owners and shop keepers buying produce from the bigger farmer boats. There is no meat or fish sold, just produce. There is a different market for meat and fish.

And here are the "meals on the water" vendors selling food to the farmer boats, hot and cooked right on the boat.

All boats are powered by these strange looking engines with a long shaft and a shiny propeller on the end. The engines are perfectly balanced so even a small women can raise them our of the water and swing them around.

Smaller boats are steered when in close proximity using a two oar system.

But they too have smaller versions of the long shaft engines for powering up

And in-between people go about there lives doing what they need to do...

Preparing food...


Sleeping on the deck...

Or in hummocks...

Cleaning up...

And bailing out the boat from the leaks which all wooden boats have!

And on the way back, there were still many interesting things to see...

Funky boats... note the eyes...

People doing stuff...

Floating gas station...

River people lifestyle.

Our final stop for the day was at an old home where the 1992 movie, "The Lover"  was filmed about an elicit love affair between a poor French Vietnamese woman and a wealthy Chinese businessman. The movie was based upon the woman's memoires and the home remains in the family today.  Wendy met the granddaughter (who is about 80 now).

Today was a half day and so we had our very first afternoon off in eleven days of traveling and sightseeing!

Lunch was not included so we went to a local restaurant. Shrimp cocktail (with another 3 shrimp buried in the Rose Marie sauce) was $4. Steak and fries $5. Beers 60 cents each.

As soon as you finish a beer, they put it on the floor next to your table so they know how many to charge you for, and add a couple more in an ice bucket ready for your next order!

We then relaxed at the roof top swimming pool at our hotel

And Wendy drove me nuts walking tightrope next to a 9 storey drop!!!

So far we have not had a problem with the Internet in Vietnam. We have had free Wifi at every hotel with good speeds. Which is very different to the last time we were in Southeast Asia. Wifi was spotty and expensive. Either things have changed in a couple years or Vietnam is more advanced. Maybe both. What is interesting is the we have 75 TV stations at our hotel, only 5 are English and not one of them is a news station - if you want news you have to find it in a Vietnamese station.  Since this is a socialist country media is owned by the government. Interesting. CNN and BBC were on every TV in Japan and Singapore.  Good thing the internet is so good so Wendy can get her "news junkie" fix.