Sing Along in the Mekong

Today we took a day trip to visit the Mekong Delta. From the mainland, we traveled on a boat to visit the other islands in the Mekong and see their culture. On the first island, we tried various fruits I’ve never seen before and got to listen to cultural music. We also got to try honey that was made from bees, while we were sampling the honey there were tons of bees flying all around us. I’ve never been stung by a honeybee before, but it freaked me out a bit. We also got to sample dried bananas, and a snack that tasted like peanut brittle. There was one point where I had five bees in my cup at one time. On the other islands we got to ride in the back of a horse cart. I was really surprised how much power this tiny horse had where it was able to pull four of us at once. We also got to ride down a small river in a canoe, the water was so still and quiet it was very relaxing. They also provided coconuts for us to drink out of which I’ve never done before, but it tastes exactly like the coconut water I have back at home. I really enjoyed visiting the coconut factory where they manually break up the coconuts and make food out of them right in from me. They sold coconut snacks, clothes, and honey. It’s clear that tourism is a big part of how the Mekong Delta merchants make money. There were a ton of tourists like us that were there, my friends and I got to talk to some tourists who came from France. Before the trip, we read about the salinization of the water and the harm that dams being built upstream have on the fish. We didn’t get to talk to the locals about the salinization of the water. Essentially, the Mekong Delta is a fresh water riven, but salt from the ocean is slowly moving into the Mekong. This past year the salt levels have increased to 1.66 g/L of water. This has significant impact on this society which relies heavily on fishing. Authorities have signed for a medium term loan from the government to construct two more major water reservoirs for farming and daily use. It was amazing to see how the Mekong Delta is still used for its fish and agriculture even today.

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