It’s fun going through these old photos. Wonderful memories of happier times. I decided to start in chronological order of the trip, like all my trips.
First meal in VN was late having arrived late from Phnom Penh. I don’t know how in some countries it’s totally fine to depart 5 hours later and then the speed boat driver thought it was super safe to fly the boat over the surface to get to the destination in record time not having a thought for the passengers’ safety. We were just glad we made it to VN in one piece.
As it was already near bed time everyone on the boat went to a hotel nearby just for the night. Some other tourists would catch a bus first thing in the morning to Cantho for the floating market, or directly to the big city, HCMC. I’m so glad we stayed in Chau Doc for 2 more nights. Check out the collages of scenes of rural VN and you’ll know why.
Only had time to eat something simple before going to bed. This is the first thing we ate after entering VN.
The next morning we moved to another hotel. When we went outside looking for breakfast it began to dawn on us it was a good idea to hang around here for a couple of days.
In Asia it’s normal to order from different stalls and eat at one of those stalls. We had vegetarian Banh Mi and some noodle soup.
And drip coffee, of course. Always black. Even if they put condensed milk in it we never stirred. Also, it takes some time to finish dripping so we ordered multiple cups at the same time. They couldn’t wrap their heads around it. Crazy tourists.
After breakfast we hired 2 scooter drivers to take us to the countryside. I no longer remember the village but Cambodia is only a stone’s throw away. Chau Doc itself is already close to Cambodian border and has an ethnic Cambodian population. It was stupid back in 2004 not being able to cross over to VN from Kep in Cambodia, where I was previously. There was no transport possibility from Kep even to Ha Tien which is on the other side of the border. So we had to go back to Phnom Penh and took a boat to Chau Doc, and from there we could catch a local bus to Rach Gia where a real boat would take us to Phu Quoc island, our destination.
Here’s a map:
Collages of rural VN: almost like in some VN war films, but without the military. However, why so many flags everywhere? Too fascist for my taste.
Things seen on countryroad .
Harvest day, students bike home from school.
After the excursion we ate lunch but for some reason I couldn’t find photos of other dishes on the table. Only one of the southern iconic sour soup with fish, tomatoes, some kind of spongy veg (no, not okra).
Sugar cane juice with crushed ice. In Taiwan they freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Not in VN. And there are just impossibly too many cubes.
The stall and the owner-cook
After lunch we walked down the river and to our surprise there was a woman who was eager to give us a card. We read it (all in English) and negotiated the price. Pretty sure we got ripped off but the boat trip was a fantastic experience and we quickly forgot we had probably paid at least twice the real cost. The boat driver, the same woman, was nice and her young son also went along with us. We didn’t see other tourists or pesky backpackers which was rather nice.
River scenes: one, two, three, four.
The boat driver also took us to an ethnic Cambodian village. At least I thought they were Cambodian. Then I saw the writing on the chalkboard. Isn’t it more Arabic?
After a long day sight-seeing finally it’s time for dinner. Tiger beer was already prevalent in VN then.
Squid and lemongrass
A southern classic: caramelised fish steaks cooked in a clay pot