Today was the best day yet, no doubts about it, and I’m saying this before karaoke tonight so it can only get better. We traveled to the Mekong Delta, which was a huge change of scenery from Ho Chi Minh City. It was the first day we got to see what rural Vietnam was like, and how they go about their business. The first stop after getting on the boat featured the best pineapple I and mango I’ve ever had, an odd fruit called a jack fruit, and some traditional music. I was particularly fascinated by the Vietnamese violin called a Dan Co. We then saw how chocolate is made from the cacao fruit, and the smell was incredible. Next to the chocolate was an orchid garden where we were also given the opportunity to hold an anaconda. It was a gentle animal to tell the truth, but after feeling its muscles move on my neck and in my hands I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with it. I do wish I had more time to hold it though.
After a couple minutes of missing my new snake friend, we arrived at a place where they house bees for honey. I have never liked tea in my life, but the honey they put in it changed everything. It was fantastic just like everything else on the trip. The next highlight came when we took a horse-drawn cart to smaller boats to travel in a channel that had a canopy overhead. The boat ride was incredibly peaceful. Lastly, we were served lunch, and at this point I’m guessing you can figure out how I thought it was.
Besides tourism, this region has various forms of agriculture, from farming of rice and fruit to farming fish. Unfortunately, upstream development may be making this more difficult. The presence of dams means that less sediment is reaching the delta so fruit and rice may not produce the same yields. Also, the salinization of the river and delta may be making it more difficult for the fish to survive. However, from what I gathered today, the people here are very adaptable. There was a diversity of things to buy. Seeing a place like this is a great reminder of why climate change matters.