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Passing the Frontier

by Véronique and Mike

13 November 2014It’s a new day and we are in a new country. Well, we still have to wait a couple of hours before the border authorities let us pass. Together with all kind of other ships we wait for our turn to get clearance. Meanwhile we enjoy a fresh coconut juice prepared by the bartenders, after our visit to the navigation bridge.

A bit before 5 AM the pilot leaves our ship with his fancy pilot boatLocal ferry serviceCruise Director Hélène gives the passengers a tour on the bridgeSmall altar on the bridgeA nice coconut juice while we wait for custom's clearanceChau Doc terminal

We moor at Chau Doc, where we board a boat to visit a local fish farm, which is basiaclly nothing more than a floating house with a cage underneath. They cultivate the freshwater Pangasius fish (shark catfish), an important export product. The visit itself is not that all exciting. The fish farmer throws some food, and we see the fish jump up. That was it. The majority of passengers is more interested in the adjacent shop where all kind of tourist stuff is sold. 

It is more interesting to see daily life on the water, as we did in Cambodia. Some people are fishing, doing the maintenance of their boat or just washing their hair in the coffee-with-milk-brown water. 

After this we board mini vans to visit Sam Mountain with a terrific view on the flooded rice fields. A group of men is playing cards…”No pictures!" they say… People seem more indifferent here to tourists. 

Mike is ready!Rice fieldsBirds for sale. Buying one and releasing brings luck.Happy to see pajamas are also trendy here

We visit pagoda Tay An. From the outside more Indian looking but inside it has the Vietnamese Buddhist style. When we visit the nearby Ba-Chua-Xu temple severe guardians make sure that we don’t take pictures inside the temple. The temple is built for the “Lady of the Realm”, a local goddess for prosperity. It is all very colourful but what amazes me most is the huge vaults you find in the temples and pagodas. It’s all about donations. 

Chau Doc is also known for its macerated fish. Almost every shop we encounter sells this smelly fish treats. Nobody was to interested in trying it.

Nice looking street food

When we walk back to the vans, the rain ponchos we received earlier come in handy. It will be the first of many of the short rain showers we will experience in Vietnam. After all it is still rain season.

A short rainshowerBack home darling Siny awaits with the cabin keys

Text: Véronique

Photos: Mike & Véronique

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