Ho Chi Minh 2015 || Mekong Delta

For some people, time is an exact tool for measurement. But as with most things, there will always be various opinions about it and I am going with the rest who believe that time (or the perception of it) is relative. Getting stranded in Manila traffic for a few hours feels like forever. The entire moment of snogging with the person you like – fleeting. In my case, I had this idea that it’s only been a few days since I last wrote only to realize now that it’s been two weeks. Ooops!

Personally, I’m on polar sides of the spectrum when it comes to spending my time. I try to always use it wisely, but I have a tendency to waste it. I know time is limited for everyone but I tend to spend it the way I use loose change – on small irrelevant things. The departure time for the tour I booked was 8:30 in the morning but you had to be there at least 30 minutes prior. I arrived an hour before departure and got my boarding pass.

I killed time while waiting for boarding by having breakfast at the cafe next door, Sasa Cafe. I had the banana crepe and iced coffee for VND 51,000. A bit pricey for Vietnam, but not unexpected since it was adjacent to a tour company. I was dining with other tourists that were waiting for their buses as well.

I booked the My Tho and Ben Tre day tour because it was their cheapest tour to Mekong Delta (VND 149,000). The Sinh Tourist is also one of the more well-known tour companies, and I heard that you can book cheaper tours along Pham Ngu Lao street but I’d rather pay more for a reputable company. Before I left the PH, I actually printed out a map of where I could find their offices since I wanted to be sure that I was booking with the correct tour agency.

The bus ride may have taken more than an hour but time flew by since I was sitting beside a Taiwanese guy who just quit his job in an advertising company in Taipei. We both had a notebook to list all our expenses. Hahaha! Although there was an awkward moment when I didn’t know how to react when he told me that I do not look in any way like I work with computer systems. In my head I went “is that a good thing or a bad thing?”.

I initially thought that I booked the wrong tour when we got inside this boat. I only wanted to visit the Mekong Delta river because everyone seemed to have the tourist-y photo of sitting in a small canoe coursing through river mazes.

The Can Tho Bridge is the most expensive bridge in Vietnam. Construction of this bridge started 2004 and it was opened for use by 2010. Now that’s a long time.

We finally arrived at a pier where we will be getting into the canoes! Woohoo!

The downside of traveling solo is they will use you as a ‘filler’. The boat can accommodate up to four passengers, and I joined three Korean tourists during this trip. I asked them if they could take a photo of me and they told me that they didn’t know how to operate a camera. T_T Selfie it is.

What it’s all a-boat. Okay, I’ll let myself out now lol.

When we got off, we walked to a honey bee farm where they were serving honey kumquat tea. They served us calamansi instead of kumquat.. but they taste similar, so okay.

It was just a small cup and the tea is for exactly seven people only.

There was some honey produce in the table where you will drink the tea and coconut products in another. The Sinh Tourist partnered with the locals of the island and they are the only agency who can tour there. I guess, in return, they have to help the community make a living. I didn’t buy anything though because the prices were definitely for tourists.

The timeless beauty of nature.

Lunch was included in the tour and the restaurant seems to be a scene straight out of a period drama.

I took a photo of a Japanese couple, and in turn, they took nice shots of me. The lady actually took more shots than I did for them, and she had me pose differently in each. Brilliant!

I asked the tour guide if I can take a photo with the snake and he let me do it. For free (I asked if I had to pay)! The snake got a bit fussy after being passed around and I heard the guide tell the rest of the tourists that the snake’s mood has soured (not verbatim but you know what I mean haha).

Again, a lot of the products from the community were sold here.

The guide grouped six tourists in a table. I was with a Filipino family and another Singaporean who was traveling solo too. I never thought I’d miss having conversations in my native tongue but call it cheesy, it’s been a long time.

One of the differences of traveling alone and with family/friends/etc is that there are higher chances of having interesting conversations with a stranger. After lunch, we had some time to roam around where I spent it with the Singaporean guy. He was older than me, had a twin, and on his graduation trip before he serves his country to pay off his government scholarship. We had to transfer to another area to eat dessert (fruits), where we were serenaded by folk songs.

Dip all the fruits in the salt!

We then had a horse-drawn carriage ride around the island. Since I was now aboard with the Filipino family, the ride was short as the women my age tell me about their life in Vietnam (as an OFW and as a wife of a Vietnamese) and I told them about going off on my own in a foreign country.

Before I even knew it, we were on our last stop. This is where they make coconut candy but my most vivid memory about this place is buying VND 15,000 sugar cane juice and the interesting wine they sold.

Yes, they make it with their bare hands (lady in green even uses her phone occasionally). Not very hygienic but a lot of people bought a pack of candy for souvenirs from them. You can taste one for free but I opted not to because I’m not really a huge fan of coconut.

Yucky wine.. eh, gecko wine. What they do is take rice wine and put the gecko (and herbs) inside for three months. They only sell it once the gecko has been there for three months. I asked if this had any medicinal purpose at all, but I was informed that it was only for recreational purposes.

You can actually try the snake wine. It is made with basically the same process as with the gecko wine. Guide: Try it! Here! *tries to hand me a cup* Me: I don’t want to! Guide: Why? Me: It’s snake! Guide: You eat fish, you eat cow, you eat pig, you eat chicken. Why is a snake different? Me: ………….I just don’t want to. Hahaha!

We got back to District 1 approximately before 6 PM. Dusk is settling, and bars are starting to fill up by then. I went window shopping for clothes (no photos because I don’t make it a habit of whipping out my phone or camera at night) and had street food for dinner. I swear Vietnam could be in a different dimension altogether because the time I spent there seemed to have warped to become longer and yet it still feels insufficient. Days are brief but I fit 30 hours of sightseeing and activities in one. The sun is up by 5 in the morning, and the sun sets late. It was a time where everything was possible and I embraced the possibilities.

I am closing this post with high hopes that my blog time will soon match up with real life because my backlog is growing (!!). The writing instructor told everyone in her class that the best way to master something is to spend time doing it (ie write something every day).. so I’ll try and that’s the best I can promise right now because time is a huge investment for me. My vlogging promise is still there too –  let me know if you have any questions or vlog suggestions by sending me a message with #CupcakeGirlVlog in the first line. My inbox is open and thank you for your time! 🙂

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