Chau Doc to Ha Tien

Firstly, happy birthday Maureen, Connie, Laura and Randy.

Another great day on the bikes. We rode 95 km today and it was all flat.

There are a few ways to go and we chose to ride along the canal. Once you get out of Chau Doc, you ride the road to Tinh Bien. At that town, don’t take the large bridge but rather ride under the bridge. If you keep the canal on your right and head south you will find your way

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It was like riding to Lakefield, only longer and less curves.

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If you get thirsty, there is always a place to stop for a drink on a hammock.

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The only problem with drinking lots of water is you have to pee. So Janis asked to use their restroom. It was quite an adventure. The daughter took her through their one room house (stilted house with slatted floor over the canal). There was a mother and baby in the bed. Once through the house they went down a field to three logs heading out to three outhouses over the water. Each outhouse had little walls of potatoe sack about 2 feet high. There was a constipated guy in the first one and the girl wanted Janis to tightrope walk on a round log to the second stall. If she fell it could be a scene from Slumdog Millionaire. She opted for the third stall as the log was flatter. The walls were lower and when Janis squatted the girl was yelling at her to get lower. I opted for peeing in the woods. Below is a picture of a similar toilet.

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How about some pink ducks.

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Here is a little video showing the first part of our ride today (getting out of Chau Doc).

It was a little warm for the ride today, getting up to 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit)

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Bye for now

Janis and David

Mekong Delta – Part 2

The things we saw were too numerous to mention.

Pigs in a boat.

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We rode a ferry full of scooters. (there are 83,000,000 people in Vietnam, and over 40,000,000 scooters).

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In the town of Chau Doc, one part of the river has the floating village. Families ave a type of hand made houseboat, with a fish farm underneath. As currents change they move the house to ensure a good flow of fresh water for the fish. Each house can produce between 40 and 70 tons of fish per year. Below is a picture of types of boats they use to commute between land and their homes.

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This is one poor family’s houseboat (father, mother and baby)

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How the fish farms work.

Water buffalo enjoying the mud.

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Snails and ducks.

Making Vietnamese pancakes at a home stay.

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David celebrating his 56th birthday (thanks Luce, Anouk and Viet for the cake.

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And last but not least, who wants a hot dog?

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We came across this barbecue of dog. Not all Vietnamese eat dog and it is listed in resteraunts if they serve it. A few weeks ago we passed a truck full of light reddish dogs heading to Hanoi (similar to a truck full of chickens in Ontario). We decided not to knowingly eat dog.

The mighty Meekong is the 8th largest river in the world and supports 50,000,000 people along it’s 4,500 (5 country) journey. An amazing site.

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Bye for now
Janis and David

Back On The Bikes in the Mekong Delta

The real TET celebrations happen after the lunar New Year. We chose an assisted ride for 4 days through the Mekong Delta. This assisted ride is designed not to ride on the main highways. It was an amazing excursion.

We decided to travel with Sinhbalo Travel adventures out of Saigon (www.sinhbalo.com). We had an amazing tour guide (Viet) and he knew the history of the delta and had lots of stories to tell. We spent 4 wonderful days with 4 new friends, Luce & Anook (from Amsterdam and Francine and Frank from Germany (although they both currently live in China.

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The mighty Mekong is about 4,500 km long, starting in China, passing through Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is an amazing social, cultural, economic and lifestyle element of the delta. Fishing and farming are key in this area.

We took a boat to an island and had some rice wine to ring in the new year.

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There are many canals and they expect and need floods every rainy season, as it is part of the annual agricultural cycle (washes away the excess chemicals in the ground).

We travelled a lot by bike and boat. The sights and sounds were spectacular.

We were getting on a boat when we came across this young girl (future contestant on vietnam’s got talent).

The first night we stayed on an island at a remote Eco Lodge. You can hear the crickets and vermin. I think Janis is assessing the odds of a critter visiting us in the night.

Sweet dreams

Lunar New Year

We found out when we first started our biking trip that the lunar new year in Vietnam was January 23rd and it was called TET.

One of the big traditions is to travel back to your hometown to celebrate. For that reason it is not recommended that you cycle the main highways for about 1week before TET and 1week after TET.

We flew to a vacation island in the south of Vietnam (Phu Quoc Island) and we stayed at Long Beach. It was a very quiet and lovely place to wind down.

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We met a lovely couple from Norway (Greta & Knut Arvid). We learned lots about life in Northern Norway (the Northern Lights, the Midnight Sun and many other fascinating traditions).

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The Vietnamese people appear to be very family oriented. They use the TET to all come together and celebrate New Years Eve with food, family, flowers and fireworks. It is a very lively time of the year.

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Happy Lunar New Year

Cooking Classes In Saigon

We took a cooking class in Saigon. It started in the market with our chef and she explained the origin of the fruits and vegetables. She also explained the culture around food.

We made flowers from tomato skins for our salad.

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Next we made spring rolls.

Finally we made Carmel fish in a clay pot. The whole adventure was fun and we can’t wait to test the new skills. Watch out Roo.

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Graduation time.

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BFN
Janis and David

Bus From Bao Loc To Saigon (HCM City)

We decided to take the 6 hour bus to Saigon. The route was unclear and extemely busy (401 rush hour busy on the route for the last 100 kms).

We came across a box of live chickens who were destined for the luggage rack of the bus. This local boy had fun with the birds. It didn’t look like the birds were having fun.

We paid a local person to build a bike box for us. This is how you travel in this Country. It worked well.

 

 

We rode on a sleeper bus. What a comfortable ride. Each person has their own berth and you settle back and enjoy the bumpy ride.

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Sweet Dreams

Janis and David

Di Linh to Bao Loc

We planned a short ride today, so left a little later in the morning. It covered about 40 km on highway 24. Of course the road was busy, but a relatively good paved road the whole way. We had lots of time for stops along the way.

We stopped for breakfast at a roadside stand, expecting a fried chicken egg on a but. The stand owner provided the bun and a little cafe beside the stand cooked the eggs. They had little hot plates on an open flame and brought us the eggs on the hot plate and it was like having fajitas eggs. With their special sauce it was amazing.

The cafe next door was visited by a heard of water buffalo.

We ended up staying at a hotel that specializes in weddings. It was a lovely place to stay. The ext day they had two weddings with a total of 1,000 guests. There was a real lively buzz in the air.

We took a cab to a local water falls. It was very pleasant, and we saw monkeys in the jungle. On occasion, people have seen wild elephant in this jungle, but we were not so lucky.

Bye for now

Janis and David

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