Monday, February 2, 2015

Sunday: Thoi San Island and Vinh Trang PagodaA shrineA

Sunday we had a big morning of sight-seeing. We started out by visiting the Thoi San Island in the Mekong Delta. We took the usual local boat with about 30 chairs to the dock. There we were loaded into small four-person sampans, sitting one behind each other. It was a bit tricky getting in and the distance between the seat and the floor was only about 6 inches, not easy on those who have knee or hip trouble. We rode through a narrow inlet almost covered with palm trees on both sides. There was a fair bit of traffic; we saw a large group of Chinese students returning to their boat.

Our guide called this a swamp coconut

Congestion at a dock (we went further in)
We had our first taste of durian, a popular fruit in this part of the world. It is famous for having a horrible stench. It looks similar to a jackfruit. We all had a taste, and it didn't smell too bad. It was a bit like mango, but not nearly as good.

I liked this tree we saw
There was also a bee farm; contrary to the US, the beekeepers pay the longanberry farmers to let their bees pollinate. One hive was sedated and we had the opportunity to hold them. But not for me!

We were given a drink of honey, pollen, lime and jasmine tea. We also had a small taste of royal jelly with honey. Of course there was an opportunity to purchase if we wished.

The next place also served us jasmine tea and this lovely selection of fruit. The small dish had salt mixed with a small amount of hot pepper. We were to eat in order of most sour to sweetest, beginning with pineapple and moving clockwise through papaya, custard apple, sapodilla, jackfruit and ending with mango.

While eating the fruit, we were serenaded by a string player and drummer and four women who took turns singing, I think Vietnamese folk songs.

As we reboarded the local boat (not the sampans!) to return to the ship, we saw a group of children swimming in the river. Not only is it muddy, but we saw lots of questionable effluvia flowing from pipes. Ugh!

From the island we crossed to the mainland to visit a 150-year old temple at My Tho, the Vinh Trang Pagoda. As we got off the boat and onto a bus to the temple, we passed these drivers taking advantage of downtime. They had their hammocks strung up in the luggage compartment, shaded, with the bays open to the breeze.

Happy Buddha of the future

Vinh Trang Pagoda

A shrine in the courtyard
We got back to the ship about 1:00 for lunch and a leisurely afternoon aboard as we sailed toward Saigon. We passed through a very busy canal to get from one branch of the Mekong to the Saigon River. We spent overnight moored on the river and will arrive at the dock around 11:00 AM on Monday.

1 comment:

  1. You have a good eye on your camera. When I zoom in on your pics the details are so much more dramatic ...almost as if I were there!


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