Mar 07, 2019 - The Jahan
Good morning, Vietnam! Our first day in the Mekong Delta saw us climbing aboard local boats and cruising through a floating wholesale produce market. Bulk transports bearing fruit and vegetables fresh from the farm drop anchor in the middle of the channel where they unload their cargo to distributors in smaller vessels, who then take the produce to local markets ashore. Along the way to Châu Đốc, we stop at a floating fish farm. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese make their living this way, in which large cages are located underneath the waterline of their floating house.
The fish are fed pellets made of a mix of fish powder (offcuts from the filleting plant), rice flour, and sweet potato flour. Each farm has a mixing vat in which they make their own recipe. The most common fish farmed in this manner are Basa and Red Telopea. When we get to shore, we experience another form of local transportation, the bicycle rickshaw. These bike-trailers are typically used to cart packages and passengers around town, and our convoy takes us around the city’s perimeter to give us a sense of the size of this town.
As the day progresses, we continue our cruise down the Mekong and eventually tie ashore at a small farming village in Đồng Tháp Province. We cross the gangway and come into My An Hung, a small farming community which primarily grows red chilli. Walking, we see men unloading a cargo boat of rice husk to be used as fuel and locals playing volleyball. Puppies and roosters roam around. Children wave and smile. At the village centre we sample a full smorgasbord of fresh tropical produce, including durian, or “king of fruits,” of which 30 species exist. We are also treated to a traditional Vietnamese dance, coupled with a steel guitar and accompanying vocals that are typical of the American Delta. As the sun sets Jahan maneuvers out from the dock and we drift downstream.
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