After Phnom Penh I started to realise that the “excursions ” that we were experiencing were not at all what I had been promised. Instead of visiting interesting historical sites, we were introduced to something called eco-tourism which involved a mind numbing series of visits to local villages. These usually involved clambering over river banks and rubbish tips, and being subjected to a variety of uncomfortable and unsuitable modes of transport, which considering that approximately 25% of the participants were of a certain age where mobility was a problem, was both unsafe and unwise. Especially as the reward for such adventures was usually a total anticlimax. Had I wanted to see spring onions or chillies growing for example, I could have stayed at home !! Also most of the local crafts that we were supposed to witness were absent due to the Tet & Chinese New Year which meant that most of the male population was off celebrating and inebriated ! Anyway Rant over (for now anyway) !! So a trip via Sampan to a floating village and fish farm
Lots of extremely friendly Vietnamese welcomed us to their island
A stumble around the paddy fields and vegetable beds before a visit to a rank smelling fish farm where we witnessed a feeding frenzy of small fish through a trap door in the deck of the “mothership”.
Then back to our “mothership” in time for sunset and dinner.
Due to not being terribly interested in basket weaving or flower pot making I decided to have a day on board and catch up with my reading (Saigon by Anthony Grey) which I wanted to finish, and indeed did, before we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (otherwise known as Saigon). Highly recommend the book as it covers the history of Vietnam through the 19th century through the eyes of an American family intertwined with Vietnamese and French folk from North and South of the 17th Parallel that split to country in two and caused all sorts or horrendous conflicts !!
Then we were off again by Sampan, rowing boat and horse cart to another island, more welcoming Vietnamese, a temple, alligator farm and a coconut candy factory.
Also an invitation to try Mekong Whiskey which involved a very dead cobra that had been marinating in a jar of the local firewater with assorted scorpions and other slithery people.
Back to our boat, another sunset and some musical entertainment before being serenaded by the ships entire crew and an invitation to dance with them to a medley of Chubby Checker and Abba songs. Needless to say yours truly did not participate !!
Our last night on board before we head of into Saigon just in time for Tet (think Chinese New Year) with loads of flowers and photogenic Vietnamese dressed in the finest finery.