Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Can Tho

On May 21, we took a bus from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Can Tho. I'm sure Paul will reiterate his hatred for Lonely Planet during his Vietnam country review but I'll just tell you now that taking this trip to Can Tho added to his hatred. Although there were cool things to see, it didn't feel worth the ~3.5 hour bus ride each way.

Not enjoying the bus ride

We had an early start the next morning on May 22...woke up at 4:30am for a 5am pick up to take a boat - a really, really slow boat - along the Mekong Delta to see the famous floating markets.

The sun is not even up yet!
Sun is starting to rise

After about an hour and a half, we arrived at Cai Rang, the first floating market

This market opened at 5am and closes at 11pm

Pineapples for sale

Each boat would have the item they were selling displayed on a stick

Close up of the pineapples

This boat was selling garlic, onions and lettuce

The small boats buy from the big boats to sell on land

Watermelons for sale! I also like this photo because of the outfit the lady is wearing in the background.

Lots of watermelons

After visiting the first market, we headed to a noodle factory.

Going down a canal

Making rice noodles starts with creating a rice and water mixture. The rice is soaked in water overnight until the mixture is milky looking.

Then this guy pours the mixture on a hot plate, spreading the mixture similar to making a crepe.

After smoothing out the rice water mixture, they place a lid over it for a few seconds

After the piece solidifies, someone else uses a straw instrument to pick it up

Click here to watch a short video of the process

And places it onto bamboo slates to dry

It's already pretty tough

It sits on these slates for awhile until high noon

You can still see the steam coming off of the rice crepe

These slabs are later placed on the bars/fence in the sunlight for 4 hours to harden

Once it is hardened, someone else oils it before pushing it through

It gets pushed through a machine to create the noodles

Here's what it looks like coming out the other side

Then it is packaged and sold to restaurants for everyone to have pho!

After the noodle factory, we headed to the second floating market. Walking back to the boat, we saw a couple of adorable puppies.

This puppy was really sad looking because it looks like he was hit in his right eye

This puppy was posing for me despite being chained to a post

Really cute!

Look at those paws

We reached the second floating market, Phong Dien around 8:30am.

This market opens at 2am and closes around 10am

More watermelons for sale

And jackfruit

Lots of boats making sales


This kid has a rat tail and he was driving the boat

Getting her goods ready

Impeccable fashion sense

We then headed down more canals to visit a rice field

We saw mudskippers along the way

Here's a shot of the front of our boat

These mudskippers were hard to capture

There is a lot of garbage and debris in the river and canals - we got stuck many times

Here we are in front of the rice field...I'm holding up grape berries

They look like garlic cloves but taste like a cross between a mango and a grape

Lots of banana trees around

Saw some caterpillars along the way too

Pretty cool colors

We thought these were coconuts...but not sure...there are a lot of weird roots shooting out from it

We got stuck here for awhile during low tide

So walked around the farm and saw some pineapple plants

Walked along "monkey" bridges

Finally killed enough time for the water to rise

Headed back - slowly

It took about 2 hours to get back to our hotel

We saw this lady washing her dog along the way

And many other boats

Back on land, we walked by a statue of Uncle Ho


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