Day 11-Gloating about Boating

Today had another early start, as we had to drive quite far this morning in order to get to the Mekong Delta. Once we arrived, we embarked on our boat tour, filing into an adequately sized, roofed boat. As we were getting on the boats, I felt a little nervous, as it was rocking quite a bit, but I quickly settled down, taking in the breathtaking scenes of the river delta. Hundreds of boats passed us by, carrying everything from large cargo containers to other American tourists. Large pagodas and beautiful jungle-like trees lined the islands around, and the imposing suspension bridge added some modernity to the traditional vibes given off by the area.

Throughout our tour, we were able to stop and see many of the traditions and customs of the Mekong people, doing everything from hearing folk music and trying honey-related products from a beekeeper, to eating locally produced coconut products and holding a python. Aside from tourism, the people of the delta are largely agrarian, growing almost every tropical product one could imagine. Vietnam is an export country, and many of its high-volume exports are manufactured in small factories within the Mekong Delta. With how beautiful this area of Vietnam is, and how integral it is to the nation’s economy, it is horrible to think that it, being quite vulnerable to climate change, may be completely ruined by its effects. With high salinity in the water making it not suitable for fish, that greatly hinders the fishing industry, which is yet another prevalent form of making money in the Mekong Delta. Dams have been built upstream by other nations, and it is affecting the water levels, as well as the journey of certain fish. Although serious damage isn’t yet apparent in the area, the temperature has been rising in the country, and that the government of Vietnam is quite concerned about the aftermath of rising sea levels affecting this area, being that it is so low and saturated with water.

Today was honestly a fantastic day, being given the opportunity to ride boats, horses, and walk through the beautiful nature that Vietnam has to offer. Seeing nature firsthand, especially with the context of its importance to a nation, really inspires one to do all that they can to combat climate change. It is also beneficial to gain an appreciation for how the rural component of the economy is so important to a nation, something that I believe is often taken for granted in the United States. Tonight, we were able to eat at a buffet-style hotpot restaurant, and upon completing this blog, I will be catching up on sleep, with no activities planned in the morning. We present our in-country projects tomorrow, and I am very confident that the “Glass Egg Gang” is going to do a phenomenal job. fffffffffff

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