After our stay in Da Lat, we continued on with Lee and Snow to their home in Ho Chi Minh City. There we were able to catch up on tasks such as laundry and visa research… you know, all the exciting stuff! We also visited a couple sights around the city and then took in a two-day tour of the Mekong Delta.
As you might imagine, there are a lot of attractions centered around the history of the Vietnam War. We visited the War Remnants Museum in HCMC, which was quite moving. There were graphic depictions of the torture that was inflicted upon the Vietnamese showcased in small cells meant to resemble the prison conditions at the time. There was also a large exhibit on the effects of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese people, which included an unborn fetus with obvious physical issues. There were no pictures taken here. It was, at times, overwhelming.
On a much lighter note, we also visited the Cu Chi Tunnels outside HCMC. The Cu Chi Tunnels are a network of underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong as hiding spots during combat and serving as a counter to the growing American military effort. We all had the opportunity to go through a portion of the tunnels. Ty and I opted out at the first exit after 20 meters, but Ray and RJ did the whole 120 meters with the tunnels decreasing in size and the heat increasing the whole way. They had to duck walk their way through and both of them had some issues walking for the next several days! We also made a stop along the way where we got to see a home rice paper making operation/pig farm. Who doesn’t love feeding rice paper to giant pigs!
Our last big adventure with the Jones’ was a two-day trip to the Mekong Delta. The first stop was the site of three enormous Buddha statues. A bit further down the road, near the town of My Tho, we hopped onto our boat and headed across the river. From there, we visited a coconut candy-making facility; took a horse-drawn carriage ride to lunch where we dined on elephant ear fish; visited a honey bee farm and drank honey tea; got introduced to a python which RJ and Ray were brave enough to hold; rode in small skiffs 2 km up a small canal where we were serenaded by local singers and musicians; snacked of a variety of local fruits; and finally returned to our van across the river. We then drove 3 hours further down the road to our hotel for the evening in the city of Can Tho. We all slept really well that night!
The next morning we boarded a boat at 7:30 a.m. in order to make it to the floating market while there was a lot of activity. At the market, small boats would race directly towards our boat and just before colliding, they would flip around so they were pointed in the same direction and directly alongside our boat. A hook was then used to secure the boat to ours and the vendor would offer fresh fruit or cold drinks or even hot noodle soup for sale. We shared a pomello and bunch of small bananas with fellow passengers. It was a lively morning in the floating market. We were then ferried to a home rice noodle making factory, which is actually exactly the same as making rice paper, except that after drying, the paper is cut into thin strips… noodles. We headed back to HCMC and prepared to move on to our next adventure the following day.
We had an amazing time with Lee and Snow and experienced so much more than we would have on our own. Lee and Snow have such an upbeat and positive attitude toward everything that it is hard to be anything but happy in their presence! Thank you both!
Dailey boys on a tank.
A very sweaty Ray after his tunnel crawl.
Pig farm on the way to Cu Chi Tunnels.
Making rice papers.
River boats on the Mekong.
Snow and Lisa on the river boat.
Ray and Lisa in our goofy hats.
Coconut candy making factory.
Lee and Snow.
The way things should be.
Ray and the Jones’.
RJ and the python.
Lisa and Ty on the small skiff.
Homes along the Mekong river.
Breakfast for sale at the floating market.
Mudskippers on the Mekong.