What a beautiful, sunny day on the Mekong River! We started out at 8:00 am down the bumpy roads of Saigon towards the Mekong River Delta where we took a boat to one of the river's four major islands. Apparently they have farms out there! They grow cocoa, pineapple, jack fruit, coconut, bananas, water apples, and a bunch of other fruit. They even have 13 different varieties of orchids.
Once on the first island, we were treated to local music, a variety of fruits, and tea. They also have honey bees on the island, which are supposed to be friendly but actually ended up stinging our tour guide on the eye! Ouch! Though maybe not so friendly, the honey bees did produce some pretty great honey. The tea prepared for us contained honey, pollen from the honey bee flowers, kumquat, and green tea. The tea was served with peanut and banana chips that were also pretty delicious. It was here that we also had the opportunity to hold a snake (and many of us did). After we left the island we took tuk-tuks through the coconut trees and eventually stopped for lunch where you'll never guess what we ate.
Today was a very special occasion (today Lindsey turned 22), so to celebrate we ate rat...oh, and some birthday cake, too. Apparently this is the first time in thirteen years of doing tours that Thai (our tour guide) has convinced his group to try eating this "treat". Thai says he likes rat better than chicken...that's debatable. However, when in Vietnam, do as the Vietnamese do. You have to live a little and be an adventurous eater every now and then!
After lunch we went on paddle boats to our main boat and drank fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut. The boat guide cracked the coconuts open for us so we could eat the coconut "meat" as well, yum! We quickly stopped off at a floating fish farm and then found our way back to land. That was the majority of our day, and now, we are headed back to Saigon where we are free for the night! I know a lot of us are craving some pizza, or just American food in general, and some of us may even go to the night market to work on our bartering skills. Here's to another great day in Vietnam!
Amos and Selena