Chau Doc to H.C.M.C. to U.S.

Chau Doc to HCMC to US

This will be the last post from our travels to Vietnam. We hope you have enjoyed all the photos and writing. Please let us know that you stopped by to check it out! Thank you very much.

The Grant and Toevs Families.

———

Waking up at about 6:00 am everyone gathered their belongings and headed down to the restaurant for a quick breakfast. Some of us got down a little late and had to scarf our food down because we were all urged that it was time to go and catch our bus.

Grabbing our luggage we all followed a guide down the streets of Chau Doc through the markets and alleyways to finally meet up with a full size charter bus that was waiting. Packed full of people either going to Phnom Pen or Ho Chi Minh City, the bus backed its way through about 4 blocks of downtown where we could then get turned around.

Arriving at a little hotel on the riverfront the guide on the bus addressed everyone onboard as his “family” and announced that we would be getting off to take a water tour of the floating villages in Chau Doc. Everyone who was then going to Phnom Pen was to remove their luggage and belongings as it was going to be transfered to another bus while we were on our water tour.

We followed the guide down a short ramp to where a group of maybe 10 canoe’s were waiting with a rower per boat onboard. 2 per boat we all were spread out across the river headed to the floating villages in the Mekong Delta. As each paddler pushed his boat that was occupied with 2 passengers we made our way through the little huts and buildings that were all floating on either 50 gallon drums or shells of old boats. Sometimes the house would have both if it was bigger than the average hut. Families watched as we passed by, some with more curious looks while others waved frantically to all the tourists passing by their homes.

Our first stop was to a building in which the locals made fish food. Just out of the bag it looked quite similar to dog food that we would purchase in the states, but later learned that it contained dead fish and then a powder mix that attracted the fish. When it was tossed the water fish would go into a frenzy splashing water to and fro trying to get every nibble that was possible. After a short little tour around the area we boarded back into our little canoes and kept working our way in the water through the village.

Docking just on the water’s edge we wondered into a little shopping area that looked like had it had been set up just for this tour. Many items were for sale including silk scarves and little bread cakes that many children were trying to sell. Two little girls came up and started singing a little song in English “6 cakes for 2 dollars, 2 dollars for 6 cakes!” As they sang the girls would hold the cakes in the air doing their best to present the item for sale.

Further up the pathway we came to a paved road that stretched down another shopping area. Peaking over the tops of the buildings on the streets was another temple which they called a “Moss.” Several of the tourists in our group headed off that direction for a quick peak while others stayed behind to watch a local woman weave silk. Back in the silk shops was an woman probably in her mid to late 30s who was using a hand crafted machine to weave silk together. It was a very interesting process and she didn’t seem to be bother when a crowd of people gathered around to watch her work.

After about 30 minutes everyone said goodbye to the little girls singing their little song and hopped back in the boats. We made our short journey back to the dock where our bus awaited us to start the drive to Ho Chi Minh City. Our guide announced to the “Family” that we would be making several stops on the way but it was about 300 km away and the bus was not allowed to do more than 50 km on the roads. As we left Chau Doc several people leaned their seats back to try and grab a quick nap before our next stop.

There is a quick ferry ride in which we were instructed to get off the bus and walk onto the ferry. We were once again amazed at what these people were able to attach to their mopeds and bicycle when a couple of men were seen with small cement mixers on the back of their mopeds.

Two different stops were made. First we stopped at another pagoda which was built around a sculpture of a woman. Legend has it that this sculpture was mounted light atop the nearby mountain and even when several very strong men went up to bring her down the sculpture was much to heavy. Later 9 virgin girls went up early in the morning and easily brought the sculpture down the mountain to the city, but when it became heavy they decided to leave the sculpture in its current location today. They believed that the sculpture became heavy because she wanted to be placed at that location. Today sits several pagodas and even a small above-ground cemetery. We then boarded our bus again and were told to take a rest. We would be arriving at a crocodile farm where we would have lunch for the day.

Sure enough we arrived at a large crocodile farm which raises crocodiles for both the Vietnamese as well as to be exported all over the world. We were told to quickly order first and then to take a tour of the farm if we wished to do so. Our group was sat at a large table, and with several choices of crocodile on the menu several people made this their choice of meal. Out in the crocodile farm there was a lot fewer crocodiles than were expected but still quite a few to be found. It was interesting to learn that the animal will sleep with its mouth open to keep cool, sort of like a dog pants when it is hot. All of the crocodiles were quite calm and undisturbed by our presence around them. Shortly after we found ourselves eating crocodile which surprisingly tastes like a cross between chicken and calamari. It has chicken flavor but a little chewier like the calamari.

Soon after we found ourselves on a bus zooming like crazy down the busy stretches of road between Chau Doc and Ho Chi Minh City. It seemed that if there was road then there was some sort of civilization next to it, which made it hard to see much of the actual countryside of Vietnam. With our bus honking and flying along on the bumpy roads it was tough to get any sort of sleep. There were a couple short “Water Closet” breaks but we kept on towards our destination.

Upon arriving in Ho Chi Minh city it was already beginning to be a traffic jam of people getting around for New Years. Checking into our hotel we then went to the local market to do any last minute shopping before we headed back to the states. Not only was there shopping on the streets but there were several restaurants that had been erected just on the streets that all seemed to be jammed packed with hungry people. After a little shopping we gathered our group up and put together a table for all of us at one of these street restaurants. With the loud noises coming from mopeds racing by, people chatting loudly so their friend could hear, and other people running around getting, making, or delivering food, it was quite the fluster of stuff happening. We all ate our final meal together, and then headed back to the hotel to get packed up and headed out.

We hailed a cab and everyone said their good-byes. It had been a good trip, and everyone was quite exhausted. Now was just the long journey home, and close to 26 hours of travel to come. Our family (The Grants) was the first to leave and with thousands of people just outside our hotel entrance it was a little tough for the taxi to get pulled away. We soon made it to the airport where we checked in and waited for our plane to arrive. Watching the televisions around the airport we counted down with the rest of Vietnam to the new year. “Three… two… one… Happy New Year!!”

Its 2010 on Saturday morning in Vietnam. Dad and Dustin fall asleep for a few minutes and then we board our plane. With stops in China and Japan and then Seattle we would be chasing the new year all the way around the globe. Once we land in Seattle it will be the new year, but only it will be 2010 on Friday morning.

Happy New Year and thank you again for following along! We hope you enjoyed the journey with us.

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~ by tgrantphoto on January 6, 2010.

2 Responses to “Chau Doc to H.C.M.C. to U.S.”

  1. Hi Taylor,

    Can we get your past posts from your Vietnam adventure?

    Thanks, Mike Nelsen (Ritchey’s brother in law)

    • Hi Mike, you should be able to see all of the previous posts below. If you are in a specific blog then just click the “tg photo blog” at the top to return to the home page. Let me know if it doesn’t work quite right for you, and thanks for checking it out!!

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