Today, as you can probably gather from some punny or more straightforward blog titles, we ventured to the Mekong Delta.
Prior to our trip, and within our lecture last week, we read and discussed the looming threats of the Mekong Delta – such as the salinization of the water and the building of dams upstream. We know, too, the gravity of these threats to the people that reside here and everywhere; the Mekong serves as a vital source of not only many food products but other profitable practices (such as our tour, lunch, etc. today). Though, personally I didn’t notice any signs of these threats, but it was my first time seeing the river to have noticed any change.
I can confidently say that today was the best day of my life. I absolutely loved every detail; the country, the food, and especially the people. First, after our 2 hour bus ride (and Peter relieving himself), we boarded the boat. Our first stop was filled with not only the tastiest but the cutest fruits I have ever seen – watermelon, mango, jackfruit, and pineapple slices, along with the baby bananas. While eating, the locals sang some Vietnamese love songs for us while Hai made jokes. Next, we walked to see how they handle cocoa beans, and each of us held an incredibly large snake. Jack by far had the funniest reaction – but we were all proud of him for conquering his fear (more or less). After parting with our new reptile friend, we tried honey tea with granola while a select few held bees.
We made our way back to the boat and were pleasantly greeted with coconut drinks (something on my Vietnam bucket list). Then, after stopping to see the processing of coconuts and buying souvenirs, we made our way to even smaller boats via horse drawn carriages. We rode these all the way back to our larger boat (and even helped to paddle) to sail to lunch. Of course, the food was incredible. I’ll try my best to learn to make some of it for home; I know I’ll miss it. After another one of our countless photoshoots, we boated back to the bus, and made our way home.
We finished the night by working on our final presentations and going to one last dinner with just the UEF and Pitt students. Even though Maddie shot my toy onto the roof, it was the perfect way to start our goodbyes. There will be things that I’ll miss so much more than the food.