|Because we had such a remarkable time on our tour to Cao Dai and Cu Chi, we decided to brave yet another organized tour and head to the Mekong Delta for a day of river boating and experiencing the agriculture-rich land of the Mekong.
The day turned out to be even better than expected, with several boat rides along the "chocolate" Mekong River (river looks brown because of all the sediment that gets churned up during the rainy season), with views of the small fishing communities along its banks. For lack of a better description, it really was like going back in time. We visited several small communities, where we were able to taste coconut candies and watch them be made, wrap Pythons around our necks (yes, really), stick our hands in bee hives to taste pure honey (not Mandy), have tea and rice wine, listen to Vietnamese folk music sung by local children and adults, sample an array of tropical fruits, and experience, as best as a group of white, camera-touting tourists can do, how the locals live in the Mekong.
Perhaps the best moment of the day was seeing Jon's father's face as we deboarded our (larger) river boat and transitioned to a platform in the middle of the river, and were met by a flotilla of small canoes, paddled by many of the elderly women of the river communities. They came up the small canal, nearly 10 in all, wearing the typical conical hats, and sitting on both bow and stern of the small wooden boats. They came to paddle us, by fours, down the narrow canal, and as the realization came over Jon's Dad of what we were about to do, an uncontrollable, yet calm laughter overcame him, and his upon his face was a classic look of disbelief and glee. It made us all smile, and as we boarded the small canoe on the chocolate river, with nothing around us but lush tropical Delta forest, we knew this would be an experience we would not forget.