On the Highway to Saigon
20 November 2014 • So happy I got up very early this morning to witness one of the most beautiful sunrises of this trip.
We leave early for the first visit of the day. We are in My Tho, which consists of 4 islands. We visit the largest one, Thoi Son, with a boat. Our charming guide of the morning, Mrs Thang is in love with Paris and seems very happy with this boat full of French tourists.Our guide, Mrs Thang
While we walk to the honey-bee farm we pass a beautiful home with a splendid garden. We are allowed to visit the green paradise and later on we are even invited by the master of the house to have a look inside his mansion. Some of the ladies of our group seem to have found the man of their dreams and pose proudly with Mr Nguyen, a very nice, modest man. Thank you for your hospitality.How to shape a treeMaster of the houseInside the mansion
At the farm we taste some tea with locally-made honey, listen to some traditional music and try some of the local fruits. Then we can take place in sampans (small boats) and enjoy a short sail through the palm-shaded narrow arroyos.Chaos while the boats wait for usA touch of modern life through the palm treesHappy passengers on board
It is still early in the morning when we set sail for Saigon. I am meeting chef Tith and his team in the kitchen. I witness how they prepare for lunch. On the menu for lunch, fish cakes, pork leg, seafood…Choices are endless. Even though the kitchen is not big, everything goes smoothly and it is all ready on time. He even prepares a special dish for me, meat in a sweet & sour sauce. Little did he know I don’t eat meat. But I do taste the veggies and it’s delicious (afterwards I share with the others at my table and they gladly accept).
After lunch everybody is present outside to enjoy the sailing on the Cho Gao Canal. It feels like driving on a motorway, all kinds of ships are making their way to or from Saigon on this busy canal, which connects the Mekong Delta with Saigon.
Everybody gets super excited when we see the first towers of Saigon. Even if it is not exactly New York, it is by far the most modern city we have seen for a while.Passengers enjoying the view on the terrace just in front of the navigation bridgeAs we approach Saigon vessels become biggerSaigon skyline
After our arrival in the Port of Saigon we visit the town together with our guides. The most difficult thing to do here is crossing the street. Like an endless swarm of bees tens of thousands motorbikes turn the traffic into something crazy. What we learn to do after a while, is to cross (kind of) confidently, while we raise our hand to mark our presence. Main rule: do not stop.Crossing the street needs courage and firmness
After dinner Mike & I go for a short walk near the port. Not a lot of tourists to see there. People are eating dinner at restaurants on the sidewalks. What we also saw, was lots of rats. Yes they are part of Saigon too.
Photos: Mike & Véronique