Mekong Delta November 26, 2006Posted by Amanda in Uncategorized.
Today we took a slow boat down the Mekong. We left at 8am from Saigon and it took six hours to get to Mytho in the delta. On reflection, we probably should have taken the bus tour and not had so much time on the boat but a working river is a sight to see. There must have been hundreds of barges ferrying sand to construction sites in Saigon. Along with these there were all manner of boats big and small laden with coconuts and bananas and some sugar cane. We also had a close encounter with a fuel freighter! The horn is used as liberally on the water as it is on the roads here.
We went into the Ben Tre province and took a series of small and smaller boats through the canals that run through the islands around there. There were a number of cottage industries set up by the government to provide employment for the villages on the islands. Coconut confectionary, snake wine, tropical fruit orchards and honey production have taken the place of fishing. Presumably the fishing rights have been bought up by big companies.
Everywhere in Vietnam and other countries in this area, there are signs about HIV prevention, wearing helmets on scooters and some even recommend a certain size family. The signs are usually pictorial so that they can be understood by those who can’t read. One sign that is conspicuously missing is “Don’t throw your rubbish in the river”. I am not sure why the government doesn’t mount this sort of campaign as it really is a tragedy to see the household waste dumped into the river and onto the riverbank. Some places are really putrid.
Apart from that it was good to see such a mighty river.