Feb 25, 2019 - The Jahan
By sunrise, most guests were in ready anticipation for our morning excursion to the Vietnamese city of Châu Đốc. The convenience of using smaller vessel allowed us to anchor in close proximity to the city’s floating market, where after we boarded local boats and headed swiftly into the bustle of the early morning market. Positioned on the Bassac River, the Chợ Nổi Châu Đốc contains dozens of merchant vessels, each filled to the brim with local fruits and vegetables. Merchants will stay there for days while locals and travelers alike happen from vessel to vessel to buy and sell goods. Our guides maneuvered our own small fleet between much larger boats, bringing us within several feet of the action.
Châu Đốc takes full advantage of the Bassac River, where people operate fish farms. Under their homes, there are cages for storage containing perhaps thousands of fish. Following our stop, we ventured onto land to visit Châu Đốc proper.
We first strolled through the local farmers’ market, which is open every day and offers a flavorful array of fruits, vegetables, and vibrant flowers, as well as handmade goods and fresh meats. This is the photographer’s quintessential venue to capture market action, with a rich, ongoing flow of subject matter at every turn. After the market visit, we used trishaws to get a better sense of life in town; think extended golf cart with pedals and a motorcycle-like build at the front.
Back onboard the ship, Jahan pulled anchor and made her way toward Cambodia, a few kilometers from the city of Châu Đốc. As we approached the border, guests could unwind with Tai Chi on the sundeck after a hearty midmorning breakfast.
The rest of the day was dedicated to sailing, and there was no shortage of activities for guests to take on while aboard. Our guest speaker, Frances FitzGerald, shared on the historical impact of the French occupation and of the American War on Vietnam.
After lunch, yours truly talked about how to improve one’s expedition photography and how to get the most out of any camera. For culinary enthusiasts, Jahan’s head chef and accompanying kitchen staff gave guests a hands-on demonstration for preparing locally-inspired spring rolls and chicken amok. Guests got to sample their makings and leave with the secrets of a well-crafted spring roll.
As we ventured further into Cambodian territory along the Mekong River, our day wrapped up under a stunning sunset, which in turn brought us a beautifully lit Cambodian landscape, one that did not go unenjoyed.
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