cef in vietnam – part 4
the mekong delta – upper river

October 19th, 2010 · 17 Comments

 

i’ve been on the move, so for now this post is one in pictures… about 40 or so, briefly captioned.

i wanted to lead with this shot. it’s from the home where i stayed the night before last which you will see more of in a moment. this is a wall in their kitchen which although somewhat rudimentary was quite large. these past two days have been incredible, only marred by my sleep schedule being thrown off in a big way. i’m just now back on track and i am on my way out the door to the cai rang floating market of can tho. more on that later but in the meantime please have a look at my latest wanderings. i’ve only brought my little point and shoot camera with me as i’m traveling for 5 weeks with one carry on bag. i’m a terrible photographer but i fancy myself having a decent eye so i hope you enjoy what i was able to capture. i’ll write more soon…

now on to the pictures…
 

launched out onto the river at ben tre

a stop for lunch on phoenix island. this is an elephant ear fish which was then rolled in rice paper with cucumber and served with a dipping sauce. it was 2 days ago and so i can’t recall just what the sauce was

 

after the river, a stop at a beautiful pagoda. i should tell you the name of it but i can’t recall that either. and atop the adjacent building sits…

 a smiling buddha that is ginormous. kind of like vegas comes to the mekong.

we walked around the pagoda and happened upon a back kitchen area. a group of people had come from 40km away to spend the day working on the landscaping and doing repairs to the temple. i believe it’s an annual sojourn from their village. they were sitting down to lunch and invited us to join them but having just eaten we politely declined. they were so incredibly lovely and we had a really nice exchange via my guide…

the vietnamese are wonderful people…

then we drove about 30 minutes and the driver pulled into a little storefront. we got out and i was told we had to walk to the house where i’d be staying. there were no roads for cars…

along the way i got a closeup of some of the graves. they dot the landscape all through the mekong. you see them in the rice patties, the fields, next to homes… if you lived on the land and you died there, that’s where you stay.

a warning. i think he’s saying "look what happened to the last guy…"

a road less travelled…

and on that road sits this house. and in that house the tv is on… i was relieved that was not to be my house.

security gates

my home for the night… looking out.

dining area. almost al fresco…

interior space leading onto my bedroom

closer up. and through the back door of my bedroom…..

the wash room

angles and rooftops

the lovely dinner served to us by the host

that night, laying in bed and looking at the window through my mosquito netting…

kitchen wall

one of the 5 family dogs… she was my favorite

a monkey bridge, temporarily widened for me…

the next day driving towards can tho. this is one of my favorite shots taken so far

snakes for sale… the recent flooding helps business

we stopped to buy durian. this place was just visually amazing

the proprietor 

i really do like durian

while we were driving – a typical shot of a (very) local market

 

(update: from here down, i am in can tho which is now considered the lower river of the mekong)

in can tho by the river just talking a stroll. i’d not eaten so i bought this off a street cart. fishballs. pretty much tasted as bad as they look. i ate a few and tossed the rest.

roasted corn and bananas along with some tapioca cakes. a german guy shared his tapioca cake with me and i liked it. the corn was dry and not so sweet.

but she was really nice and we talked to her for a bit

these are everywhere… rambutans.

and these were totally weird. i’d never seen anything like them. they grow in the water and you crack the shell with your teeth. the inside is like a cooked taro root, slightly sweet potato’esque.

the red fruit they call water apples in english. the juice is milky white and they’re quite sweet. i bought a kilo of the mangosteens. they were "pricey" at $2.50 a kilo (about 20 of them) because they were from thailand. the season is over for them here. god, they’re good…

banh boa with quail egg and some spicy meat with onion. i like these things…

this banh bao man ran over to see his picture after i took it. we all laughed and chatted for a few minutes

  

i ate the bun at ths cafe right next to the cart with my guide nghiep and a woman who wandered over to talk to us… i had a coffee with just a touch of condensed milk and it was dreamy.

another mosquito netting picture – because i thought it was so cool…

i’ll be back soon. thanks for looking…

Tags: asian · travel

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ethel // Oct 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    What a journey this is. Adventures every where. Keep taking those photo’s. Never enough for me. Water apples? Wonder if you can get them here.

  • 2 The Italian Dish // Oct 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Such luxurious accommodations! Just kidding. I love seeing all these exotic photos and the people. What an experience.

  • 3 Donna // Oct 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Claudia—so glad to see & hear from you. I’m getting kinda maternal on you. I was worried and Michael said, “she’s traveling—give her some time to report back!”. Wonderful photos and comments—I really feel like I can imagine being there—kinda (sigh) anyway—keep us posted. I’m jealous of that Elephant Ear Fish photo—I’ve never photographed food like that before. OXO
    D-

  • 4 yveala // Oct 19, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    i am in awe!!

  • 5 Jan Edwards // Oct 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    What ARE those little yellow prickley things? GREAT pics Claudia!! I want a large print of your mosquito netting! BE SAFE.

  • 6 Tim Johanson // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I check each day to hear more. Would love to meet you wen you get back.

  • 7 laura // Oct 20, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I’m lovin’ it! Thank you SO much. What a wonderful trip for all your senses – and what a vicarious thrill for us. (I do wish SOME things were not vicarious! Like the mangosteens!)

  • 8 nancy at good food matters // Oct 20, 2010 at 6:42 am

    I am really enjoying your photo essays of VietNam–what a rich journey you are on! I’ll be checking back—

  • 9 Heather // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Wow, these photos are really giving me the itch. Not in that “SE Asian hooker” sort of way, but I wish I were traveling. :)

  • 10 ponyboat // Oct 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Wow, just wow. What can I say? I am so happy you’re doing this. Beautiful photos, Claudia, feel like I’m right there with you. Well almost. If only I had a mangosteen, I love them!

  • 11 Lesley // Oct 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Hey, some vegetarian-friendly food!
    The purple thing reminds me that I stopped at a Jollibee in Las Vegas and had an ube smoothie with tapioca balls. YUMMERS. Unlike In N Out, I don’t think Jollibee would make it in Nashville, though. We can’t support a lot of South American food so we sure can’t support Filipino food.

  • 12 Jan Edwards // Oct 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Hey Claudia!! We need a pic of YOU now! Everything you have taken pics of is great but nothing with your happy face! Proof of you being there! LOL

  • 13 Claudia Henao Olsen // Oct 20, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Amazing…..you are quite brave….I love your photos!

  • 14 Tim // Oct 20, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Great pics Claudia, glad you had Nghiep as your guide, he is an absolute star, one of the loveliest guys you could meet.

  • 15 Pam // Oct 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I love your photos and your captions and your sense of adventure.

  • 16 Ulla // Oct 22, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Fantastic pictures and what an adventure! Those meals looks AMAZING!

  • 17 yveala // Oct 29, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    hannah and i are loving these posts..her favorite is the dog..mine are all the rest!

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