Indo China – Day 18

This morning wasn’t such an early start as our bus wasn’t going to leave till 8.30am, so it was nice getting a bit more sleep, though I woke up with a bit of an upset stomach from the dinner the night before, as did Mollidy. We showered and ventured out into the streets, and we used Triposo to look for a good place for breakfast. The first two suggestions were just under 1km away, which we thought was too far away seeing as we had a deadline when our bus left, but the third option was a French cafe just nearby.

The place was run by a French lady and the food all very genuine, and Mollidy went for the full breakfast, and I went for a toasted cheese sandwich with an egg, though I forgot that a French cheese sandwich is very different than I’m used to, as I experienced last year in Cannes, France. The cheese is more like cream cheese which didn’t sit so well with me last year, and this time it didn’t either as it added up to a rather substantial meal, so by the time we got back to the hotel I had to once again visit the toilet, so I wasn’t fully comfortable about having to get onto a bus.

We settled onto our private bus and we headed off south as we were heading for the Mekong Delta for our home stay. It only took two hours to get there, and as we are so used to that now, two hours was nothing. After a couple of hours we got to a port area where we had a chance to take a toilet break, grab some water, and buy some hats, as some of the group did. After that we bordered a private river boat and met our local tour guide for the next 24 hours.

The boat trip was really cool, and it was taking us towards four local islands, Dragon Island, Phoenix Island, Unicorn Island, and Tortoise Island, and our first stop was on one of them to eat some local fruit and hear some local music played by the family that loved there. Sadly one of the first two bits of fruit gave me an allergic reaction, so I spent the next hour monitoring my tingly face and my throat closing up, and luckily it didn’t get any worse than that.

After I felt better I was able to partake in having some local honey tea and homemade snacks, which I also bought extra of to help support them. After this though we got on the boat again and headed to the mainland but on the other side, to a place that had a coconut candy factory where they made tasty candy. It was really cool seeing them make it all and to learn how they use every single part of a coconut to make money, so I bought some packs of the flavoured candy to take home as gifts, and then bought some really yummy coconut rice paper lollies. We also saw a python, but they said even though we could get photos with it, they suggested not to, as they couldn’t guarantee the quality of treatment of the snake by that particular local.

We got back on the boats till we got to another warf where we then jumped on smaller row boats, where Mollidy and myself had one to ourselves, but were joined by Bon, and of course the women rowing the boat. This was a really nice part of the trip, as you just got to sit back and bask in the nature slowly passing you by. Not long down the river though we were out of it and walking to a local village for lunch, which though nice, wasn’t very substantial, but they had hammocks for us to use after the meal, and that was pretty cool.

After this we walked back to our bus which had gone the long way over the bridge to meet up with us, and it drove us about 15 minutes more to our home stay, which was a major step up from Cambodia, and those of us who had done that one were sure to let the newbies know this was luxury compared to that. As we went to get beds, we were one of the last to walk in so we thought we’d get a bad bed, but everyone went right and we went left, and Mollidy found the only private room with a double bed in it, which was a major score for us!

The group then gathered again and we went for an hour long bike through the countryside, and with it being very flat, meant it was a really nice and relaxing bike, though a few of the group were very nervous riders, which made for a few laughs and smiles from Mollidy and myself. After this it was back for showers, and even though it was cold water only, this wasn’t that bad, and once again something we never had at the last home stay.

We then went into the main part of the home stay for dinner, and that’s when we found some of the group huddled around a table as it turned out they had wifi! Once again not what we were expecting from a home stay, though it was nice to be able to connect, even if it was an average connection. We then all gathered to learn how to make spring rolls which we were also soon to eat, and then we sat down for dinner and were served a banquet of food with the spring rolls the first course, and the rest of the food was both awesome and filling, and made us glad our lunch was now not that big.

After dinner our local guide pulled out a sheet of paper with 6 pictures on it, a rooster, a tiger, a squash, a crab, a lobster, and a fish, and three dice in a pot, with each side of each dice representing one of the animals. This was a local gambling game which we then played for sticks instead of money, and if you won you got to draw with charcoal on the losers face, and if you lost, well it happened to you. I think it could be an awesome drinking game, but after a three rounds a few of us were getting tired, so went off to bed.

The rest of the group joined us about 30 minutes later, and Mollidy and myself settled into our private room with its own fan, and just relaxed as we still wouldn’t sleep till everyone else also went to sleep and stopped talking. It was nowhere near as hot as the last home stay as well, so we thought this might make for a decent sleep, but as it was in the countryside, we still knew that the roosters were most likely going to bring a barrage of noise early in the morning.

Today I want to talk about shower jandlas. You see, every bathroom we’ve had so far have had tiled floors, and because the showers in most 2-4 star hotels are also part of the bathrooms themselves means the floors are almost always covered in water. So jandlas aren’t just for the hygiene reasons of keeping your feet away from areas where hundreds and thousands of others have stepped, but they also stop you slipping and sliding all over the place, and after a few close calls with bear feet, you’ll quickly come to love those rubbery bastards.

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