ceF in vietnam – part 5
the mekong delta – lower river

October 21st, 2010 · 10 Comments

i’m happily back in saigon for the night before i take off for the beach in the morning. i like it here, big city girl that i am. but not enough to go out tonight. i just ordered some room service pho ($1.50) and i am staying in. it’s just begun to storm and i could use the downtime to catch up on some more sleep – and sort through photos – and write this post. again, it will be more pics than anything. it’s gotten late.

i’m just back from can tho which is as bustling a city as you will find in the mekong, but for the likes of those like me (tourist. said in a hushed tone) it’s not much more than a jumping off point to experience the floating markets. the riverfront is abuzz with people hawking their boats. you choose one and off you go on a 20 minute ride up (down?) river.

there is this notion of a steadfast purpose when you see these people doing what they do, knowing that every single day of their lives it’s pretty much going to be the same thing over and over again. as a whole, the vietnamese are quite poor but since the land is fertile and the rivers are busting with fish, if you’re ok with living in what amounts to not much more than a hovel with a hammock, you can sustain yourself doing very little. find food, cook food and repeat.

the duck, trying to look innocent yet all the while planning his escape. the chicken has accepted its fate, regardless of what it may bring…

the mastlike bamboo poles advertise their wares…

there are boats that sell the staple ingredients of vietnamese cooking, like this woman with the dried fish and shrimp, whose entire life must be permeated with that smell, while others offer only produce. i saw one small boat outfitted like a mini cafe selling coffees to the other bigger boats that was just an incredible sight but i didn’t snap a pic in time. we circled back around to find her and i happened upon an even smaller boat with a woman selling pho. i missed that photo op as well and was sad about it all. but it’s hard to stay sad in vietnam…

beauty abounds…

dogs on boats. you see this a lot. i was told that it is for security. 

the bucket below gets pulled up and repeatedly dumped over his head and down his pants. i know this for a fact.

many people come and buy from this market to then sell at their own smaller more local market…

gidgit goes to vietnam and sells pineapples

another of my favorite shots


this house was beautiful to me. it almost had a modern vibe to it…

back in the city… where it is 90 degrees and many of the women and some of the men dress for an autumn day in the hudson valley. white skin is in and if you’re tan, it’s just not sexy. so they cover up in a big way. gloves, opaque stockings and jackets. and then what might get tan gets bleached with skin whitening creams. it is big, big business in this country. be as white as you can… i suppose since they’re already so thin, they have to obsess over something.

in a skirt and side saddled. note the heavy stockings and gloves and facemask and jacket… this is the norm.

i’m only hoping she’s a well loved pet and not, well – you know… dinner.

this was right outside of can tho. at first we thought it was a buddhist temple but it is a temple to honor the founding fathers of the city. the man in his pajamas lives there in plain view – like his hammock hangs next to a little table – and that is his spot. so roughly what is happening here is that she is praying for something or other and then shakes a can of sticks until one falls out and on that stick there is a message and then she proceeds to throws these oddly shaped shell like things on the ground and depending on how they fall this tells how her luck will be. the vietnamese are super superstitious. note her outfit. remember, it was 90 or so degrees outside… and humid. i now find her crazy for 2 reasons…



i went to the supermarket and this was the fish sauce aisle. i have been well schooled in the powers of this elixir.

i laughed and laughed and laughed…

larvae. it’s what’s for dinner. i had many interesting supermarket shots but this one was the winner for me. oh and see the tongs? why, it’s self serve!

dinner at a local place.

this was our dinner. i picked up the tab and it was 100,000 dong or $5. two bowls of excellent chicken broth with noodles and chicken, etc. plus a plate of bbq’d duck and pork with more chicken meat, the table salad and pickles. $5. (five).

 that was my table… just so you know.

the street scene where our restaurant was.

pure vietnam.

Tags: asian · travel

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jack // Oct 21, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Those river photos are great and the market pics look so exotic. They really take glutamate seriously over there. Thanks for another window into your latest adventure, Claudia.

  • 2 Donna // Oct 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Lovin reading and seeing–thanks for recording & sharing all this.

  • 3 Tim Johanson // Oct 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I am so happy that you are doing this! And for such a long stretch but then home for the holidays. I’ll bet you will wish that you were back there in January when it is cold.
    This is so wonderful for you and for us too. Please don’t stop writing. I loved that your dinner was $5.
    I do wish there were pictures of you.

  • 4 Jan Edwards // Oct 21, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    UNBELIEVABLE!!! I’m hooked!!

    Really want to see a pic of YOU, Claudia!!

  • 5 michael pardus // Oct 21, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I’m not sure about those particular larvae, but the ones I’ve had are about the same – coconut grubs. They are the larvae of large wasps which lay their eggs in young coconuts, the larvae hatch and live on nothing but the sweet interior of the coconut until discovered. Typically deep fried and eaten as-is or with rice. They taste like chicken livers with unsweetened coconut on them, not bad, really.

    Baby, I’m having so much fun following you. Next time, we do it together, I really miss VN and you.

  • 6 tommynoodles // Oct 22, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Great stuff Claudia.

  • 7 ethel // Oct 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I love being transported across the globe following you in your glory. The photo’s are wonderful but how about one of you ?Interesting to see the diet food section . I would have laughed too. I didn’t know about the white vs tan color in that culture. Keep those photo’s and comments coming. Love them all and especially love you. X O X O

  • 8 yveala // Oct 23, 2010 at 1:50 am

    i look quickly at first because i can’t wait to see the next shot and read the next comment – then i go back and look slowly to try and see everything you’re showing us!
    what an experience you’re having…and although sharing it with you in person would have been the best.. this is terrific.
    keep experiencing and loving your journey. and take care.

  • 9 Lesley // Oct 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Larvae…oh my.

  • 10 Barbara Feldman // Oct 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Ethel has been sending me your comments and I love everything you write about. I feel as if I’m on a trip to VietNam. Keep them coming.

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