Putt, putt, zoom, zoom, moo. Our methods of transportation have been varied and delightful. From investigating Kampong Tralach via the local tuk tuk, a hybridized motorcycle with benches, to a trailer like contraption that could easily double for hauling hay to the ox carts hauled by cattle that have the appearance of lop-eared rabbits on steroids. We immersed ourselves in the countryside, and local artisans displayed their skills.
Binh Thanh Island and Cai Be, Vietnam
As the Jahan dropped anchor near the small town of Sa Dec in the Vietnam Delta, merchants crisscrossed the early waters while fishers pulled up nets and traders loaded rice and bran to make fish food, fuel, and rice for export to the rest of the world. After breakfast, guests boarded sampans to visit the island of Binh Thanh. We disembarked at a dock that is also used by local ferries to transport locals to and from the island to mainland. This island is known for fruit, reed mats, and rice candies. The shoreline is dotted with mango, jackfruit, and papaya, and while the men are out fishing, the women tend to the families and weave reed mats that are sold in local markets. Locals invited guests to visit their houses, and they demonstrated how the mats are woven and finished. Afterward, we stopped at a local temple to meet village elders. They shared remarkable stories of survival and rebirth during and after the Vietnam War. Returning to the Jahan , guests learned from presentations. Linda Burback, photo instructor and naturalist, spoke on the use of Seek, a plant and animal identification app. Then we had the final recap of the voyage and a disembarkation briefing. Lunch was served, and Linda began collecting photographs for the Guest Slideshow. After lunch, guests went on their final excursion to visit Cai Be, a fruit and vegetable hub of the Mekong Delta. The sampans toured the busy channels before docking at a local rice candy shop. Here we saw how rice paper is made, in addition to rice popcorn, rice wine, coconut candy, and rice noodle treats. There was something for everyone in the souvenir shop where guests shopped on their last day in the Delta. The evening finished with a farewell dinner, presentations by the crew, and dancing on the sun deck. This was all followed by the world premiere of the Guest Slideshow. It was a wonderful finale to a memorable voyage down the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers through Cambodia and Vietnam.