With just a couple of days to fill in while we see a bit of Ho Chi Minh City we decide that a quick blast into the mystical Mekong Delta will be just the way to fill in a day.
The pick up from the hotel at the ungodly hour of 7am is softened slightly by the promise of a “traditional Vietnamese breakfast on board”. This turns out to be a plain old croissant and a bottle of iced lemon tea, not great but at least we’re under way and heading downriver.
Our guide for the day is Miss Tam, “ just like Tim Tam yeah”, she says. She’s funny and informative and we like her a lot straight away.
The first destination for the day is a small town hidden away along one of the thousands of tiny canals and streams that make up the Delta. It’s a small and typical Vietnamese Delta village, mostly farmers and their family eking out a living. We get the chance to see inside a traditional Vietnamese home, four or five generations all living together and sharing the farming workload. Including a wizened old granny who was overseeing all the days doings through weepy old eyes.
We get the chance to wander along the canals for a while, the daily life of the farming community seems to be happy to ignore us.
There’s no roads here, just a dirt lane either side of the canal and a few old wooden bridges that span across. The kids are heading home from school as we make our way back to the boat and on to our next destination.
Our next stop is down river an hour or so and along the way we get the chance for just a glimpse or two of canal life. A farmer here and a fisherman there.
Our next stop is a much larger town, but still pretty typical. A string of markets stalls, some houses and a pagoda or two, and the local barber.
We get the chance to poke around the town for a while and watch the local ladies doing their thing at the market place.
It’s pretty quiet and there’s not a lot of hustle and bustle, Miss Tam explains we’ve missed the main shopping hours and everyone is heading home for lunch now.
We decide lunch is in order as well and Miss Tam leads us towards a local orphanage that provides us with some scrumptious taste treats, including a local river fish that looks too good to eat.
But we do, and love it, we thought it would be muddy but it turns out to be sweet and juicy, the deep fried scales a salty crunchy added extra.
All good things draw to a close though and we’re ushered back towards the waiting boat, and head towards home, and a good call by Miss Tam it is too, the clouds close in, the sky darkens and down it comes.
It’s been short and sweet, a little bit like Miss Tim Tam herself.
All photos copyright Ross Duncan: email@example.com