Day 5: Dong Xoai to Saigon

At 4pm we arrived at Boo’s mother’s house. I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed ever since. But in a good way. Firstly I met his 3 year old son Ben, who is so incredibly cute and fragile. He’s not well and visits the hospital once a week, he’s terribly thin for his age. However, he has a lot of character and obviously loves to see his dad. Next to be met was a whole host of children who are nieces and nephews and who love to laugh at me. One actually walked up to me whilst I was taking a nap and starting squeezing my tummy – a gentle reminder that it’s bigger than most he’s seen! Then I met his sister and mother. His sister smiles at me and is warm and I get the feeling she’s a little wild/ crazy too. His mother just works around me in the kitchen and I feel like I’m in the way.
After a delicious meal of fish soup and (a different) BBQ fish with rice, I head to Boo’s sisters house over the path to see my room, or rather floor space, and set to writing. Within moments of turning on my laptop the whole family is in the room with me including Ben and Mother, sister, niece and Boo. I realize that they are all very friendly and simply find it awkward to communicate when there’s no common language. The laptop is something we all understand and the family proceeds to look through lots of photos, spanning Australia to Vietnam. His mother and sister like my nails (thank god for that spare afternoon in Hue), Ben clicks us through the photos using the arrow keys and everyone is happy. I’m so tired from the heat and driving and meeting the family that I am about to fall asleep, maybe squeezing in 1 chapter of my book.
The morning started with us visiting a small market at a town we were passing through on the bike. As usual I let Boo order and this resulted in my breakfast being a bowl of noodles, grated carrot and onion, chopped pork sausage, deep fried shrimp with fish sauce and chillies. As if this wasn’t enough, it was followed by what is best described as breakfast dessert, banana tapioca cake with coconut milk – yum! The locals found me particularly funny and there was lots of laughing as well as one woman slapping and stroking my arms!

Earlier in the day we drove to Cu Chi tunnels, just North of Ho Chi Minh City. This is where the guerrilla fighters lived under ground throughout the war and the tunnels are incredibly long and intricate, as well as tiny. The average size at the time was 50cm by 70cm, but some have now been enlarged to accommodate tourists.

We also visited a little factory that manufactures rice paper, you could hear it crackling from the water evaporating in the heat. We visited a small manufacturer of earthenware pots which are famous throughout the country and residents from the Mekong Delta come up river to purchase these pots for water storage.

Just before getting to Boo’s mothers house we stop by at a local fishing spot to visit Boo’s brother in law. He’s been fishing for 4 hours already and caught 5 big fish. We collect 2 to take home for supper.

I’m sleeping with Boo’s 10 year old niece tonight in her room.

sian