busses and fireflies
hmm, just lost my whole post!! ah well...again:
left comfortable air con, slick saigon - got a bus from the cholon... station, hot city bus, stops at every corner, we buy hot coconut cookies from a stand out the window, buy a baguette through the window, oh switch buses at this corner, ok, next bus is even rattier, seats too high, the feet don't touch the floor, hour and a half of dust and heat and we are on the edge of my tho..., 2 moto guys say "ride into town?" sure, hop on bags between their knees, daypack in the basket, and they take us to a big hotel just barely in town. we start walking to town, and walk and walk, dragging our suitcases behind us. like walking in LA , no one walks in LA, and i know why! - it is hot, we are making no progress to anywhere. sit and drink a coffee, decide to get a moto back to the ferry and just go on to the next town.. ask about a moto, and fellow who speaks english says no ferry, now a bridge, i'll get you 2 motos to take a look at a place just over the bridge, in the country.. ok, so off we go with 2 nice older guys, not hotshot drivers, but the bridge is ENORMOUS and very high and i am a bit terrified, but soon we are in ben tre driving along a tiny banana and coconut tree-lined alley, kids on bicycles, beep, more motos, and there we are, a thatched roof over a bunch of tables, another thatch roof over the kitchen/bar/office, and some solid little houses, and all around fish ponds and a garden, hammocks and bicycles. stay here? oh yeah... we get a big air con room with window, very nice.
all this for $15 night.
do we want to go by boat on the mekong? yes, we do! uncle comes to take us - he is in his 60's, worked as a translator for the US during the war.. nice guy, skinny and strong, i can almost understand him... we get on a biggish motor boat, set out through the canal, then stop at a fruit farm where we are presented with a table covered in tropical fruits. i am in heaven, dan is not quite as thrilled, but oh, tiny bananas and dragon fruit and longans and rose apples... and the tiniest, sourest tangerines in the world, and honey tea. do we want to buy a plastic bottle of honey? or maybe rice whiskey? banana whiskey? sure, and i can see these plastics opening in the suitcase... oooh not so good! instead we get a cd from the locals who are playing traditional music and singing as we eat fruit. even if it doesn't play in the US, it won't get all over the underwear... then back into the boat, and into tiny canals where we change to a canoe thing paddle by a woman who stands in the stern with a single oar... slide along through the green, too amazing for words,- then a few more stops, and finally, magic: it is full dark, the boat is going close along the bank, and the trees are full of fireflies!! like live christmas lights... the male fireflies are putting on a show for the girls... it is so beautiful, so quiet, so magical.
today we ride the bicycles on the little palm lined alleys , calm and green. then lunch with the locals, no idea what dan had but it was like beef stew with carrots and the best gravy imaginable, slurped up with a baguette. i had, of course, pho with yet more green herbs... no picture of this, the folks there thought we were pretty weird as it was!
now relaxing at the computer and sleeping in hammocks...