Gooood moooorning, Vietnam! Today we’re off to tour the Delta and visit one of many floating markets. A woman and her teenage son are our guides, their creaky skiff is our vessel.
Coasting up narrow, overgrown inlets, I can’t help but think of men — years younger than I am now — who trudged through this region decades ago, covered in marsh mud, scared of the unknown but brave for folks back home. Such a remote area, so peacefully secluded today. Only the sound of our quietly humming engine breaks the silence.
Families wash their clothes and themselves on the bank, their dwellings made of material salvaged from who knows where. I thought we were in a rural area during yesterday’s countryside ride, but this is even more primitive. This third-world existence is similar to hardship found in Lebanon, yet the landscape and culture is vastly different.
Center of commerce? It floats!
Buying, selling and trading at the Cai Rang market begin around 5 a.m., so get an early start. Nature’s bright colors radiate from fruit here in the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta. Our guides generously spend their own money to treat us to watermelon and pineapple bursting with deliciousness; they want us to experience the best their region has to offer. Hospitality is even found off the beaten path in the most distant corner of the world!