The Mekong Delta – RTW Blog #21

Today wraps up my visit to Vietnam.  I visited a couple of historic museums in the city but skipped the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels among others.  The War Remnants Museum is a collection of US warplanes, tanks, etc. left behind after the Vietnam War and the Cu Chi Tunnels show off what the locals refer to as the “steel frontier”….the tunnels used by the Viet Cong to move troops south and where several people I know fought.  I saw several marketing pictures of cute blonds smiling as they popped up out of the tunnels and I doubt whether any of those who actually fought in these tunnels came up smiling.

I did learn about life on the Mekong River from my two day/one night trip there.  Tourists go there to see how people live on the river but it is not a tourist site.  It also shows how commerce is conducted in the floating markets. I also visited the Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City.  I’m going to make these two different posts.

First, the Mekong River Delta.  People use the river as transportation, commerce and home.  Today was laundry day for this lady.

People fish on the river although I was told there’s not a lot of fish here.  Some fish for themselves and others fish to sell in the market.  Most seller boats seemed to be couples working together.

In the floating market, large boats collect produce from farmers inland and bring it here to sell to wholesalers who will sell it to resellers in the towns.  Others, in smaller boats, will buy produce to sell to people living on the river.  For many along the river, there are no roads that come to their homes.  They depend on delivery to their homes.  A reseller loads  potatoes in the first image and watermelon in the second.  When sellers come to the floating market they may be here a day or several weeks depending on how fast they sell out.

The first boat below sells along the riverfront and the second is referred to as a 7-11 boat because it offers a variety of product from soft drinks to everyday needs.

On this boat, rice husks are being loaded and will go to a factory for making different products.

Kids still have to go to school.

For some kids, when they get to school age, they live with grandparents on land while Mom and Dad live on the boat.

Along some of the side channels, we visited some families who produce different products for local sale like rice paper for making spring rolls.

The mixture is cooked then dried and the cut into smaller pieces.

Rice noodles are done similarly.

A mixture of 30% tapioca powder and 70% rice powder is mixed with water, cooked, put on reed racks and dried for a week.

They’re stacked and in this form have a consistency of heavy plastic.  Thinner than floor mats in your car but nearly as indestructible.  They’re then sliced for packaging.

They end up here.

In the next post, I’ll show you my visit to the Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City….







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