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Floating on the Mekong.

Floating on the Mekong.

Days like yesterday are rare and always inspire me.  It is unbelievable how many “life moments” can happen within the span of a day, not to mention how much exotic fruit a person can eat.  I could write a novella about yesterday, but I will refrain, seeing as there would really be no climax to the story (the entire day was climactic)  or conflict other than my literature paper due Monday, which isn’t as interesting.  Now please join me while I continue to procrastinate that paper while I write about Loyola’s journey to 10°10′N 106°0′E.

It is common to see banana trees growing in the Mekong. These are ripe and ready to go!

If you Google 10°10′N 106°0′E you will find Vĩnh Long Province located in the Mekong River Delta of southern Vietnam.  Many local Vietnamese people travel by boat because many locations are easily accessible by water, especially during the rainy season when pathways become muddy or flooded.  The soil along the banks is ideal for growing many exotic and traditional fruits such as: banana, mangosteen, durian, rambutan, pomelo, and watermelon.  The people also make bricks from river clay, sell prawn and catfish, as well as open their homes to travelers.

The Vietnamese roommates were invited to join the trip to the delta.  We were bug spray ready at 8am.  I sat by Neg, a senior sociology major, on the two hour bus ride.  We talked about being a young adult in Vietnam, family, and music while we snacked on milk cream filled crackers.  I am good friends with Neg already.  I appreciate her sarcastic personality which compliments my own and her love for American movies, which range anywhere from Finding Nemo to Ocean’s 11.

Half of our day was spent on the water. Traveling from one destination to the next. I have never traveled on a river with such a strong current.  The current is faster in the south of Vietnam, especially during the rainy season.  The scenery was a constant view tropical trees and houses.  It looked exceptionally beautiful in the rain.  Many children came out to wave to our boat, shouting “Hello, nice meet you to!”  It was nice to meet and wave to them as well.

The “life moments” I spoke of earlier are moments in which time and troubles don’t matter.  They are moments of firsts or moments of joy or moments of learning.  Here are my life moments from the Mekong Delta:

#1: Walking through Vinh Long Market. Many live animals and fruit are sold here. Some animals include: chicks, snakes, birds, lizards, etc.

#2: Visiting the brick factory. The kilns looked like giant coconuts, and the bricks themselves were fiery red. They clay to make the bricks comes from the delta itself.

#3: Eating lunch at a local home. Menu included elephant ear fish roll with rice paper, veggie and noodles, spring roll, shrimp, and rice noodle soup.  I still remember everyone saying “We are going to eat an elephant ear?!”  It is essentially a lettuce wrap.

Many fish dishes in Vietnam require you to remove the meat with chopsticks!

#4: Hiking and biking through the community was by far the best experience I have had so far in Vietnam.  I saw numerous plants, animals, and local homes.

#5:Rowing down the river with a local guide.  I even wore a straw conical hat for the first time! It is a true symbol of Vietnam.

#6: Quan’s Shirts

Shirt #1
Shirt #2

#7: Cooking spring roll’s with our home stay family.

#8: Visiting a local floating market.  This market will only sell exclusively to the locals.

#9: Standing on a bridge with friends at sunset, overlooking the river.

#10: Enjoying a lovely cup of Vietnamese drip coffee, served with condensed milk (of course!) for breakfast.

Ten moments seem like the perfect amount to share! For more Mekong photos check out the Flikr slide show. My paper awaits!

Xin Chao!

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