Day 6: Saigon to Phoenix Island (Mekong Delta)

Last night turned out to be much more eventful than expected. I was just nodding off when Boo came up and asked if I wanted to join him and his family outside for some rice wine. Well, this led to a beer, which lead to us going to the local bar by the river for a round or three of Vietnamese rum (on me of course). His family is so used to spending small amounts of money on groceries at the market that the idea of spending 20,000 dong (70p) on a drink is ridiculous. Therefore I shout them and they are all over the moon. I sit and listen and smile and laugh mostly. I also carry Ben on my knee and he is so cute and looks very cool in his backwards cap.

Today involves a whistle stop tour of Saigon, taking in the War Crimes museum, the notre dame, the post office, the palace and the enormous market at china town. The war museum is totally overwhelming and I can see I’m not the only one walking through with watery eyes. It’s devastating to see what was inflicted on these people, and amazing that they can still smile and be happy.

It’s not even lunch time before we leave the city. I’ve been so used to countryside and no ‘whiteys’ that I don’t like the city too much. We speed off out of the city dodging other bikes and traffic. It’s calming and helps me shake the sadness from the museum.
An hour or so later we arrive at Phoenix Island, a small island at the Northern edge of the Mekong Delta. Getting these requires traveling along one of the narrowest roads I have ever seen. It was exciting and a bit scary going along a road as wide as a paving stone and bordered by water on one side and fruit trees on the other. The whole island is a fruit farm and was lush and tropical.

sian