Day 11: 5.16.19
Today was the long awaited day trip to the Mekong Delta, arguably the experience that gave us the biggest culture shock yet. They had mentioned in lectures that the difference between generations was astounding but seeing it in person was even crazier. I saw a child playing a game on his iPhone while an elderly woman was trying to sell us goods made out of coconuts. I used to think that there was a significant gap between generations in the U.S., but here they lead lifestyles that seem like they belong centuries apart. It just goes to show how rapidly Vietnam has been developing over the past couple of decades.
Another issue we had learned about in lectures was Vietnam’s pollution problem, but I didn’t realize how serious it was until I was walking through the foliage and riding in the boat on the Mekong River. Despite being a couple hours away from the city, we saw trash everywhere, from Styrofoam in between plants on the ground to random items like abandoned life jackets floating near the docks.
It was interesting to see the partnerships between the farms, working together to provide extra income from tourism, and being able to try different kinds of local food from each of them was what made the experience so authentic. Before coming on this trip, I would have considered myself a picky eater, but I’ve been open to trying almost everything that’s been put in front of me in Vietnam and I’m glad I have. First, we sampled some fruit, and I still can’t get over how much smaller the bananas are compared to the GMO products found in the US grocery markets. At the chocolatier, we tried the flesh of the cacao beans but I didn’t love it quite as much as I love chocolate, probably because a bunch of us, myself included, ate the entire thing instead of leaving the seed. Lunch was an abundant spread, including a whole fish that was displayed on out table! Even though it’s the second time we’ve seen that during this trip, it’s so unlike anything I’ve ever had in the U.S. Once again, all the food was delicious, I’m definitely inspired to try to recreate some of what I’ve tried once I get home or I’ll have to come back soon!
P.S. We saw the cutest family of ducks! And then I held a snake, which I wholeheartedly did not enjoy but when in Vietnam…