Saturday, February 4, 2017


Now we're puttering around the small tributaries of the Mekong delta. It's remarkably wild and exotic at times with the river closed over by the full jungle thing broken only occasionally by bridges of various sophistication - bamboo, timber, concrete - for a network of tracks and roads. The fields beyond are rich with rice paddies and plantations.

Housing up the river is cheap - the waters are tidal, and then there's the smell - and its the full spectrum from falling down shanties to substantial and comfortable. Our guide would like house up here as a "weekender" - a good house will set you back about USD 20K. Talk about busting the mystery. And the phone service! - we call Sydney with a better connection than we can in country NSW. The telecommunications all around are exceptionally good. Agile and innovative!

Strangely there's little obvious bird life and none of the incessant insect buzzing I'd expected in this climate - just us and the putt-putt of the engine. And another thing absent - not a national flag (yellow star on red) or hammer and sickle (yellow and red), both of which are everywhere in the cities and main roads, to be seen. And certainly no propagation loudspeakers.

It's becoming a bit seductive.

Feeling queasy? Boil the yellow leaves of the Sake Tree and drink for lung and liver health. Sounds good to me, unlike live beating snake heart, our guides favourite. 

Feeling like a home stay? Well, here you go -

Ready for that weekender? Looking good -

Or the full on happy hippie house? No worries, complete with dude in hammock -

And especially for the nouveau vulgar, have we got a house for you -

Hungry? Thirsty? There's milk apples - hereabouts known as 'woman's breast' he smiles, getting me to suck the milk out before tearing it open to eat the flesh.

We've traveled hours up the canal which is widening again and starting to loop back to the main river. Population density is increasing again, with more local boats sheds, and now the need for a little ferry to cross from side to side.

By the time we are heading back to Can Tho, the sun is high up and beating down. The speed boat from Cambodia flies past as we pull the little canvas roof out over us. Not the only ones.

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