Saturday, February 4, 2017


Map time ~~ here's the Mekong delta. We are at Can Tho, right in the centre of the map:

Can Tho's 'floating markets' are essentially the wholesale markets for the city. Producers and growers from up the Mekong bring their produce down the river system and sell to land based retailers who either boat out to meet them or the goods are unloaded directly onto the shore. Melons, pineapples, potatoes, yams, cabbages etc.

The markets start well before dawn and go till about 9 in the morning. It's 7 already and the numbers are down because its New Year. We have a guide and a boatman and his putt-putt with a 5Hp outboard that drives a movable propellor oar which serves to steer as well. Boarding is at the edge of a small residential 'street' whose houses are a tightly one room wide row with doors wide open directly onto the narrow central concrete pedestrian footway. Inside everything looks beautifully furnished and spotlessly clean with children lolling about, TV's babbling away, incense and flowers, and all oblivious to the general comings and goings, not least ours.

Riverside belies just how neat and clean things we're a few steps ago.

Through debris and water hyacinths we're off up the river till they come into view and then we circle around them along with others, mostly tourists now in various crafts, before heading further up the river, more anon.

What's for sale is hanging high up a pole. Melons ...

... and even a bag of potatoes gets hoisted ...

... all in the early light.

By the time we came back after a few hours further up the river, pineapples are being loaded directly onshore ...

... the river is in full swing with punts ferrying people side to side ...

... and the sun is now hot overhead.

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