Masterpiece Trip 2017, Mekong Delta, Uncategorized, Vietnam

I Am A Ding Dong (Mekong Delta Day One)

First, another apology. I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to finish the blog for this trip. I think I just never wanted it to end! It was sad coming home and frankly the whole thing felt like a dream. A good one, but sort of surreal. I wonder if that’s how the people who travel for a year feel? Anyway, I am getting the occasional comment from various people (OK, mostly my mom) asking if I am going to finish this trip blog. I think I just needed to start planning a new trip before I could finish this one. Or something. Anyway, I apologize to those people (mom) who have stopped by and found I’d not updated. Here ya go!

I got up after what felt like maybe two hours of sleep. You can’t sleep late on a boat due to noise and movement. Also roosters. I was coughing a decent amount so decided to try a hot shower. There was a handheld showerhead and a regular overhead. When I pulled the button to try to get the overhead to work, it unfortunately triggered the handheld. I say unfortunately because the handheld was aimed directly at my face. Nice. It was like a clown’s flower times a gazillion. Sal thought it was reaaaal funny when I reenacted it later on.

I couldn’t figure out how to get the overhead to work, and neither could Sal. Washing my hair with a handheld was not easy without getting water everywhere and of course there was no conditioner. Can I pause a second and ask a serious question: how do people manage without conditioner? My hair snarls so badly that if I don’t use it about 1/10th of my total hair count is in the comb once I finally finish de-tangling, and my hair is short! I don’t get how the people will long hair do it. I’m talking people anywhere – not just Asia; there are a lot of hotels in Europe that don’t provide conditioner either. I wanna know how they aren’t all walking around with bald spots. Serious question.

Back to the boat. After the shower we had our breakfast, then we were off on another bike ride to see how special coiled incense was made and see a few temples. Sal wore his regular hat, and Quang and I wore the traditional Vietnamese hat (called Non La – I had to look it up). We started out with Quang leading and as we were crossing the street somehow a gust of wind blew and made my hat totally cover my face, making me look like I had a beak-face. I couldn’t see anything. Thankfully there wasn’t any traffic. Unfortunately I yelled out and then the guys got a good look at my shame. Honestly, though, it was hilarious. When Sal and I would talk about it later we’d both laugh so hard we almost peed our pants. It was ridiculous. The only other people that saw my craziness were a mom and daughter, and I wish I could have gotten a picture of their reaction. Sometimes you don’t have to speak the language to know exactly what someone is thinking. At least they thought it was funny, too.

Off we went on the bikes and to our stops. First off was a place where they made and packaged the incense.

Here is a video of how fast they coil the incense. It’s very impressive and I loved the older lady’s reaction after she heard our obviously impressed comments.

20171126084502_img_28025651158110439791012.jpg20171126084616_img_28046809875338689493130.jpg20171126084704_img_2805722533121738069948.jpgIt was then time to bike to the next stop. While we were getting ready we saw people going to a wedding reception.

20171126085001_img_28075814048761333911975.jpgI don’t remember if I’ve written about this or not, and I’m too lazy to look back, but it was wedding season. As we’d be floating along the water we’d hear a lot of wedding karaoke. Some better than others. Just kidding, it all was pretty bad, but funny.

As we continued our tour, again with Q leading, my bike seat post clamp came loose and down the seat went, with me on it. I quickly stopped, but I’m sure Sal saw it and again I looked absurd. A mail lady that was getting a delivery at the incense place came over and helped me as Q didn’t realize what had happened and was pretty far ahead by the time he looked back to see where we were. The woman that helped me didn’t speak English, but it didn’t matter. I think she got a kick out of how goofy I looked on the low seat, too. 99% of the Vietnamese people we’d met, especially in the Mekong Delta, were very friendly. It was wonderful and it makes travel a lot less stressful when you don’t know the language.

After getting the seat sorted, we rode for a bit to a very colorful temple. We hadn’t seen many temples with neon in them. Clearly I wore the right shirt for the visit. Check out this video and photobomb

20171126091358_img_28081189437512780936353.jpgThere was a beautiful tree outside of the temple. Unfortunately I forgot the name of it. Mom, any ideas?

We went to a second temple on the way back to the boat. There are a lot of temples in Asia, if you haven’t figured that out by now. All of them have something unique.

20171126092032_img_28145040937206533468006.jpg20171126094138_img_28242763813246383264662.jpg20171126094058_img_28234434210208683131225.jpgWe rode our bikes back to the boat and had lunch and a siesta, without incident!

Our chef made us multiple courses, as usual, with the most unique being spring rolls made from this fish. He was very creative!

img_20171126_1247106862973287252361452.jpgYou can see the woman from the crew make the spring rolls here.

That afternoon we went to a market to get some supplies and look around a bit.

20171126102039_img_28282964639910124730223.jpg20171126101814_img_28271728411428216739760.jpg20171126100744_img_28253800049621273976986.jpg20171126102256_img_28312169895176178411360.jpg20171126101702_img_2826583387314468123779.jpg20171126102159_img_28302155819454816113546.jpgOnce again that early evening we glided along the Delta, sipping on a G&T and passing boats/homes/people. Everyone was friendly, like the night before. Well, everyone except the two boys who yelled, “Hello!”, and then “Fuck you!”. We just pretended we didn’t hear them, but really it bothered me. I think mostly because it reminded me our trip would be over in a few days; it was something I’d expect, sadly, to hear from home, but not in my new favorite Vietnam! Sal said it best, “teenagers will be teenagers!” Lesson learned: teenagers everywhere are jerks.

Our dinner was, as usual, delicious.

That night we taught Q how to play a card game and he basically kicked our butts. It was fun to chat and play. He’s was very sharp and had a good memory; two things that I lack. Ha! I’m happy to report that the second night we figured out how to make the ‘room’ cooler, so at least we got better sleep. We fell asleep to the dull sound of the engine, which we were finally used to.


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