|Since Jamie and I only had 2 days to do the Mekong Delta, we wanted to do it right and not with a big tour consisting of over 25 like we did during the tunnels. There is a variety of travel agencies selling trips to the Mekong Delta at a decent price, but you do get what you pay for here. We wanted to do 2 days on the Delta overnight at a homestay in a village. The best option we found was through Fantastic Tours. For 2 days and 1 night we got to explore the Mekong Delta by boat and stay over night at a village on one of the islands in the Delta. We were told our group wouldn't be bigger than 7 and it ended up consisting of Jamie, myself , 2 teachers that were vacationing from Korea and, of course, our guide. This trip was midrange price at $55 USD, including the homestay, food, and boat rides.
After a 4 hour ride in a mini van to Vinh Long, we transferred to a boat and headed over to Tra On island where we were to stay at our homestay village. The boat ride was very beautiful and the island was very peaceful and quiet. Jamie and the 2 girls wanted to rent motorbikes and cruise around the island, but I just wanted to walk and be by myself. Instead of joining the others, I found myself walking over a bamboo "monkey" bridge over to another side of the island where many farmers were at work and going about their afternoon. When the trail looked like it was coming to an end, I noticed a group of farmers sitting in a circle across one of the fields motioning me to come over. I was a bit apprehensive, but said what the heck and walked on over. None of the guys were able to speak English, but they gestured me to take a seat and handed me a shot glass of rice wine. The guys also had a bowl in the center with sprouts and vegetables. I looked into the bowl and there were pieces of chicken in it. These pieces I normally wasn't used to seeing, much less eating. The head was right out there, the legs, gizzard, basically all of the chicken was in there chopped up. They had a little boy fetch us some fruit and more rice wine from one of the houses and handed me a pair of chopsticks. I am pretty sure they expected me to gesture a no thank you, but instead I grabbed some sprouts with my chopsticks, some lettuce, pieces of chicken and dipped them into the dipping sauce. I was doing this quite fast to let them know that I knew I could use chop sticks and also that I was very greatful to be eating their food with them. I didn't want to come off being better than them either, so I made sure not to make a gross face while I was eating pieces of chicken I never had before. When the kid came back with more rice wine, we were all taking turns pouring and handing drink after drink to one another. The group started breaking out into song while the rest of us were humming and banging our chopsticks on the bowl. When came to my turn, I was just blurting out nonsense that was about the same tune as the other guys were singing, clapping and banging their chopsticks to. I was able to get one video and some great pictures of this. When I noticed it was close to leaving and going back to the homestay for the scheduled dinner with the family, I said my thank you to my new found friends. They kindly gave me 3 pieces of fruit to take with me. A papaya, mango and another fruit in which the name I don't know. I stood up and realized just how sauced I had gotten with the guys. Clouds started rolling in and it started raining. the ground of the trail was very slippery so I did my best to be careful. Walking the trail back about 5 minutes from where I left the farmers in the field, I stumbled upon a house where a big family was eating and gestured me to come in. They sat me down and gave me chopsticks and more rice wine and I went at it. One of the guys from the field came in and sat down as well next to me. At this point I was really sauced, but still realized that my tour guide and Jamie were probably worried that I fell in the river or something since I had walked off alone. I said my goodbyes to the families, and continued to walk back. By this time it was pouring rain and was impossible to walk a straight line on the trail. I was carrying 3 big pieces of fruit and doing my best not to slip, but I am sure you know what was to happen next. Of course I was trying to hurry because of the time and it felt as if I slipped backwards on a big piece of ice and landed on my back. My pieces of fruit ended up rolling down a hill towards a house, so I got up and went down the hill looking for my fruit. I was able to find the papaya and big fruit whose name I don't know, but the mango was not to be seen again. I looked at myself and I was a muddy mess. I abled myself up the hill back on the trail and walked back. Again, I slipped big time on my bum and back with the 2 pieces of fruit flying in the air. Thanks to the amount of rice wine I drank, I couldn't quite feel pain, so I got up and looked for the fruit a second time. This time the papaya was never to be seen, but luckily I found the other piece of fruit in between 2 trees. I again started walking back, but this time a little slower. When I got to the road I stayed on, all the houses started looking the same to me, and this was when I started to black out. Next thing I knew I was awake under a mosquito net in my underwear and having to go pee. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 5 a.m. and wondered what the heck happened with the time. After finding my shorts and taking a pee, everyone else got up around 6am to pack up and get ready for the floating market. I sat down with everyone and they were all laughing at me and saying funny and odd comments to me about last night. Here's their side of the story: After it got dark, the guide was getting worried that I got hurt or lost. jamie told him not to worry and that I just wanted some space. A bit more time had passed and the guide chose to look for me. He got out to the street and saw me walking back and forth down the road looking for the house. I somewhat remember him on the road, but don't know if it was a dream or not. I then walked back with him to the homestay where everyone was already eating. I was a muddy mess and Jamie and the girls told me to go shower off myself and clothes. I was so excited about my random encounter that all I wanted to to was share my pictures and brag how good of a time I had. They said I spent about 7 minutes in the shower and came out a little cleaner and with no t-shirt. When one of the girls went in the bathroom/shower room after me, she said it was a huge muddy mess with mus splattered all over the place and the towel caked with mud as well. Jamie and the girl took turns cleaning the bathroom and we all sat down and ate. This was my 3rd dinner for the night and they said I pigged out and opened 2 beers that Jamie said he had to finish for me. After that it was all downhill for me and Jamie said he had to walk me in the house and direct me to the the hard piece of floor I was to sleep on. I was trying to walk towards where the family slept, but again Jamie had to direct me in the right direction. And all this was new to me when I woke up since the last thing I remember was looking for the house. I apologized, but they seemed to not mind for the entertainment reasons. They said I passed out at 8pm. That means I slept for 11hrs straight. I NEVER do that! Anyone who knows me knows that I sleep an average 5-7 hrs a night. I must have been really exhausted and drunk to do that! It had a lot to do with not being able to sleep the past week because I was thinking too much about heading back to the states and giving myself a panic attack, and yes it also had to do with all the rice wine that I had on the other side of the island with complete strangers who couldn't speak a lick of English! What a great time and well worth the blackout! Thanks guys!
The second day we jumped back in the boat to the Tra On local floating Market. After the market, we boated over to Can Tho and another floating market. Cai Rang Floating market is supposed to be the biggest. We got there after 9 or 10 am so we missed the busiest time, but still was a sight to see none the less. After the market, we were dropped off at Can tho Island and waited for our speed boat to take us back to Saigon. I can see myself coming back to the Delta and spending at least 3 weeks here and not getting bored. I highly recommend it! Fantastic Tours I am promoting!!!