A gentle mist over the Mekong River greeted our first full day aboard the beautiful Jahan. The mysteries of river life beckoned to us as we boarded longboats docked alongside the ship. Puttering into motion, our driver navigated us along the river forging through the village of Cai Be, past the early morning floating markets, past an iconic church steeple, and toward a small family workshop as the scent of toasted rice grew. The workshop showed us just how versatile grains of rice can be, creating everything from delicate rice paper to a rather less delicate fortified wine.
We journeyed further along the channel, passing rice factories large and small that run among the native vegetation and wildlife, with the river continuing as it has for as long as anyone can recall.
Back on Jahan, following a presentation on taming the unruly beast that is the camera, and with a little extra food in our bellies, we set off once more by longboat, passing by fish farms and locals harvesting bundles of water hyacinth. We learned that the nearby village on Binh Thanh Island has been turning this prolific weed into something useful, weaving resilient mats, baskets and other goods.
Back aboard Jahan for evening recaps and dinner, our second sunset, and the promise of further adventure up the Mekong River in the morning.