Hanoi to Bangkok - my 2008 adventure! travel blog

Leaving Saigon - roadside vendor

Typical countryside coffee shop and restaurant

Living on a boat here in Chau Choc

Ready for beer or coffee drinking customers - and comfortable too!

Vietnamese coffee with milk - sweetened condensed milk.

Washday - open water laundry on the Mekong River

The Mekong River is HUGE. Numerous delta fingers of the river mean ferry crossings, and boats of various sizes and every possible function everywhere. The bus ride from Saigon was about 5 hours, and the countryside a patchwork of rice fields (3 crops a year!) with strips of houses and the invariable family business along the road.

Chau Doc is a smallish town with a somewhat "down in it's heels" feel about it. The river houses (small dwellings on very tall stilts) are often made of corrugated iron, and the smell of poverty abounds. /So not so picturesque as functional. However, we did have fun! Most of us took a motorbike ride to a small mountain about 5km away to see the vistas and the sunset and of course, have yet one more Tiger Beer. The road out there was on a very high levee, and on either side the houses sat on their stilts and beyond that were rice paddies with the occasional cow/buffalo. In a couple of months the Mekong River will rise 3-4 meters and every house will be just above water level. I can't image getting everything that is currently outside into the house for the flood time. Looking into the homes one usually saw the family worship center, a TV set within that space, maybe a low table, and because it was after the work day, the family motorbike parked in that living room. I imagine that the bedroom and kitchen are the rooms behind the open to the street living space. There were more dogs out here in this part of the countryside, and they were not for eating!

From the mountaintop one could see for miles, with Vietnam and Cambodia both in plain view. Our hotel here in Chau Doc is " "5 star"" for the town, meaning pretty basic! However, having dinner and breakfast out on a floating patio was pretty nice!

In the morning about 20 people and their assorted luggage piled into a fairly large launch made for speed and headed upriver towards the Cambodian border.

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