The morning part of the day was filled with a bus ride that took about an hour and a half to two hours. Although this was somewhat long, the drive was worth it, as we were able to spend the day in the Mekong Delta.
Before travelling to Vietnam, we learned a lot about the Delta, not only its importance to Vietnam overall but also how the changes in the environment have been affecting the Delta. Since we went to a fairly touristy area, I did not notice as much the results of climate change or salinization of the waters. Something I did notice though was the large amounts of trash in the waters, and the fact that the water was brown. Every time we got on a boat to go somewhere, I would notice all of the different kinds of trash in the water, and get upset due to the effects of climate change. Additionally, I know that the water is brown due to the depth of the river and the fact that the water is not too shallow, but it did not change the fact that I will not be swimming in the water anytime soon.
When we first arrived at the Delta, we got on a ferry to a smaller island. At this smaller island, we were able to walk around, and sample some of the local people’s products. First was multiple kinds of fruit, the second was honey (served in tea), the third was cocoa, and the fourth was coconut products. All four of these visits were very interesting, and was neat to be able to interact with the locals and see how they live. In regards to the products we tried, I really appreciated the locals taking time to show us their processes and different elements of their production. There is a lot of work involved and many steps that have to be taken in order to create the quality products that we tried today, and in seeing their processes and trying their food, it made me appreciate their way of life even more so than before. In the Mekong area, many of the different farmers and local people will use middlemen in order to get their products sold on a more diverse market, otherwise they stick to the local area to see their goods mostly. Additionally, at one of the places where we got to sample chocolate, I held a Python! I personally love snakes so this was awesome for me.
After trying some different products, we got on the ferry again, and went to a different part of the Delta. Here, we got on carts that were pulled by horses to get around the area, and then hopped into smaller boats with four people each to paddle down a part of the river. This part was especially interesting, as the scenery was beautiful and I could not get enough of it. After this, we went to eat lunch, which was a really large type of fish, and definitively looked intimidating. Although it was difficult to figure out how to eat it, once I did get some fish, I could not stop because it was so delicious.
Globalization has impacted the Delta in many ways. For one, we visited a very touristy area, which in itself reflects the growing tourist industry in the Delta area as a source of income for many. Additionally, globalization has a positive impact on the Delta because products made by local farmers and people that once were only limited to the area can now be sold on a global market, thus expanding the range of customers willing to buy their products. While these are both positive things, there are environmental impacts on the Delta that are affecting all of the industries around it, which puts the Delta in danger, as I stated earlier. This could potentially pose a threat to all of the industries in the Delta, ad make business difficult. Despite this, the local people I met in the Delta area seem to be doing well, as everyone I met was happy to have me sample their product.
Overall, today was filled with lots of fun in the Mekong Delta, and I cannot believe that I leave on Saturday, time goes to fast!