Our day started with an early morning Tai Chi class followed by breakfast in the Viceroy Dining Hall. Guests then enthusiastically departed on their first excursion with a visit to Cai Be floating market via local longboats, cruising among local long boats from various provinces around Vietnam selling fruits and vegetables. We continued on toward Phu An, passing Cai Be’s gorgeous gothic cathedral before visiting an authentic family-run workshop making rice paper, pop rice, and coconut candles, not to mention famous rice wine! Guests were treated to family style hospitality before returning the ship at 11am.
Once back on Jahan, guests were given a talk on “Introductory to Photography Techniques” in the lounge by photographic instructor Adam Britton. Afterward, guests enjoyed a gourmet lunch before their afternoon excursion.
After lunch, guests set off to explore Binh Thanh Island at Sadec again taking longboats, cruising through narrow channels overrun by water hyacinth and settled by local fisherman who farm Tilapia. Riverbanks were covered by mango and papaya trees. The long boats crossed a local ferry crossing before landing at one of the Binh Thanh villages known for making reed mats widely used throughout Vietnam. Guests walked through local homes and had the opportunity to chat with local elders in a local temple employed as a community center. In local homes, guests were introduced to the difficult process of weaving, finishing, drying, and exporting functional mats made from bamboo sticks and reeds. Guests also got to see baskets being woven from water hyacinths. Local children were ecstatic to see Westerners and had the opportunity to practice their English while interacting with delighted travelers. The visit ended with long boats returning to a repositioned Jahan and guests enjoying cocktails during an epic sunset over the Mekong Delta.
To top off the day, guests enjoyed a delicious dinner followed by a showing of the epic film The Quiet American, based on Graham Greene’s novel, screened in the lounge.