Chi11in on an Island

Snakes, Bees, and Shrimp! OH MY! It’s Delta day!

Four hours out on the water and walking around beautiful islands is what vacation is all about. Oh, wait… this is study abroad & that would explain why I’m laying in bed all sweaty and gross writing a blog post instead of swimming in a pool somewhere. But then again study abroad gave me an opportunity I would’ve never got otherwise, and I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned and even more, all that I’ve seen.

The delta is a beautiful place, I knew I loved rural Vietnam more than the city life, but this scenery is something taken from google images. I spent the day traveling through lush greens with animal sounds all around. Got to lounge around and sip on tea with fruit… a combo you would not usually pair, but somehow it was refreshing. Traditional music played in the background as we tried mini bananas, mango, and jackfruit.

Walked down another path and we were at another house but this one made their own chocolate, the smell is so fragrant it makes your mouth water on the spot. But it doesn’t stop there, outback there were two giant snakes, and you can hold them surrounded by a beautiful flower garden. I didn’t. I’ll call myself a baby and say that just looking at everyone else holding that giant snake and it moving and wriggling around in their bare hands made me want to throw up, pass out, and then do it all again. I took my backpack off for a second in hopes that fomo (that is “fear of missing out” mom and dad before you text me asking) wouldn’t hit me later. But as I started to step forward, a mini heart attack came on, and my body was shaking, and I knew that snakes would have to wait till another day because today the only thing I’d be missing out on is possible strangulation from the obviously irritated snake. So I decided to take a walk through some flowers instead because flowers vs snake.. hmmmm the choice seems clear.

But don’t worry I redeemed myself at the next stop. This one fed us honey tea and before you think it’s like ordinary tea it is not. It is only the best tea I have ever had. A dollop of honey, sprinkle of honey crystals, squeeze of what I think was a kumquat, and wish I knew but some kind of delicious tea on top. Then we were given a chance to hold a bee sheet (??? is that the proper word)  and guess who volunteered first… yep it was me!

And the day ended with some island food. A whole fried fish, chicken, sticky rice, fried rice, and yep you guessed it those giant shrimp that stare into your soul. I couldn’t let 11 days go by since our first encounter and not have the nerves to eat it… I mean come on I ate BABY FISH yesterday. So I peeled back the fish egg filled shell… yes fish eggs because apparently some of the shrimp were pregnant and couldn’t keep their eggs to themselves… and bit into what has become my arch nemesis. And surprise surprise the giant shrimp tasted like shrimp! And to go above and beyond I ate the mysterious shrimp organ that nobody could translate for me because apparently “it’s the best part.” And well we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one because all it tasted like to me was a mouthful of red sand.

If you take away anything from today’s blog post, I want you to acknowledge the number of different activities I was able to experience today. These activities were not some mass produced tour that has taken over the whole island. Each thing was from a different group of people on the island, and together they’ve come together to develop their individual islands, and in this way, the community as a whole is able to benefit from tourism. The development of the Mekong Delta is a result of tourists, guides, and those who house attractions all coming together.

Cups anyone?

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~Maddie

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