Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

Our last stop in Vietnam was in the south.  First we stopped in Ho Chi Minh for the day and then spent three days on the Mekong delta in a Sampan (small boat) that we rented for three days and two nights.  And Finally we returned to Ho Chi Minh for three days to terminate our trip.

Ho Chi Minh, contrary to the other parts of Vietnam we visited, was a very busy metropolitain city with all the exclusive brand stores and state of the art buildings, restaurants and stores that cater mostly to tourists and then there is the other part of the town that is more geared to what the vietnamese can afford.

On our first day we explored the city and visited the War Museum, the Post Office, the Cathedral and the city in general.  Then we headed to the Mekong Delta where we sent off on our sampan.  This is a private little boat that includes an english tour guide, a captain and two helpers.  They all catered to only David and I.  We spent three days and two nights visting the Delta, taking in the beautiful scenery and stopping periodically to visit a market, a brick making factory, a candy factory, a temple,  we also had supper at the house of a wealthy local, etc.  All very interesting and eye opening.

On our return to Ho Chi Minh, we took a day to go and visit the Cu Chi tunnels where the Viet Cong hid and fought the americans during the Vietnam War.  We were given a history lesson from the perspective of the Vietnamese and NOT what we’ve always heard from the  American version and movies it was very unsettling to see how these people managed to live for years in these tiny tunnels with all that entailed.  Bugs, scorpions, bombs exploding overhead, tunnels being flooded by the americans to ‘flush out’ the Viet Cong, etc.  I walked about 40 meters (walking is a generous term, more like scuttled along bent over, and I’m only 5’3”) and was very anxious to get out, so I definately, could not image living full time in these tunnels.

On our last day, we visited some museums and did a little last minute souvenir shopping.

The Vietnamese are an amazing, accepting, resilient people who still manage to be happy with the little they have and who have learned to put the past behind them and live for the future.

The Rex Hotel at night.

The Rex Hotel at night.

View from our room at the Rex.  The Rex is where the foreign correspondants would meet and exchange stories during the Vietnam war.  This gathering of correspondants was called the Five O'Clock Follies.

View from our room at the Rex. The Rex is where the foreign correspondants would meet and exchange stories during the Vietnam war. This gathering of correspondants was called the Five O’Clock Follies.

View from the Rex Hotel Bar

View from the Rex Hotel Bar

View from the Rex Hotel bar

View from the Rex Hotel bar

Ho Chi Minh at sunset

Ho Chi Minh at sunset

Inside the Post Office

Inside the Post Office

Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral build by the French during their occupation

Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral built by the French during their occupation

Traffic outside Ho Chi Minh

Traffic outside Ho Chi Minh

More Traffic

More Traffic

On our way to the Cu Chi Tunnels

On our way to the Cu Chi Tunnels

Washing the laundry

Washing laundry On the Delta

Brick Transporter

Brick Transporter

Water marketplace

Water marketplace

Would you like some pineapples?

Would you like some pineapples?

Each boat posts on a long mast what they are selling.

Each boat posts on a long mast what they are selling.

Bargaining on the river

Bargaining on the river

Water marketplace

Water marketplace

Another Village at sunset

Village at sunset

Activity outside the temple

Activity outside the temple

Inside the temple, where people are getting ready to worship.

Inside the temple, where people are getting ready to worship.

Marketplace garb.

Marketplace garb.

The village

The village

Brick Making Factory

Brick Making Factory

Workers in the factory

Workers in the factory

Shoveling in the rice shucks to fuel the fire to cook the bricks.

Shoveling in the rice shucks to fuel the fire to cook the bricks.

Carrying out the cooked bricks.

Carrying out the cooked bricks.

Young boy in the brick factory

Young boy in the brick factory

Brick factory angles, running around the factory with no shoes or safety gear.  Supervision you say?  None whatsoever.

Brick factory angles, running around the factory with no shoes or safety gear. Supervision you say? None whatsoever.

My little angles

My little angles

Once the bricks are made, they are shipped off by boat to other villages.

Once the bricks are made, they are shipped off by boat to other villages.

Fishermen

Fishermen

Fishing at sunrise

Fishing at sunrise

Work on the river at sunrise

Work on the river at sunrise

Landscape at sunrise

Landscape at sunrise

Internet cafe where young village boys congregate.

Internet cafe where young village boys congregate.

Marketplace in the small village

Marketplace in the small village

Young boy doing homework in the boat.

Young boy doing homework in the boat.

Housing and people working

Housing and people working

More Village Activity

More Village Activity

Activity at the village

Activity at the village

Small village at sunset

Small village at sunset

Landscape with reflection.

Landscape with reflection.

Temple, I loved the reflection in the water

Temple, I loved the reflection in the water

Bridges are very active and often have people, walking, biking or using their Vespas on them.

Bridges are very active and often have people, walking, biking or using their Vespas on them.

_MG_1611

Housing on the Mekong

Fishermen, this photo was taken at sunrise.  They are hard working and get to the task at hand very early.

Fishermen, this photo was taken at sunrise. They are hard working and get to the task at hand very early.

Fishermen

Fishermen with his traps

Fishermen on the river.

Fishermen on the river.

Washing clothes, a regular activity on the river.

Washing clothes, a regular activity on the river.

Banana salesboat

Banana salesboat

Women working in the Candy factory.

Women working in the Candy factory.

Process of making popped rice.

Process of making popped rice.

Making Coconut Canady, Delicious

Making Coconut Canady, Delicious

Woman showing us the making of rice paper

Woman showing us the making of rice paper

Spreading the rice paper around

Spreading the rice paper around

Checking if the rice paper is ready to take off to dry.

Checking if the rice paper is ready to take off to dry.

Dock to the candy factory

Dock to the candy factory

Building along the Mekong Waterway

Building along the Mekong Waterway

Young woman waiting to escort us to our table at a french restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

Young woman waiting to escort us to our table at a french restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

Typical bridge over one of the many small waterways off of the Mekong Delta

Typical bridge over one of the many small waterways off of the Mekong Delta

Fighting Cocks, this is still a widly accepted sport in Vietnam.

Fighting Cocks, this is still a widly accepted sport in Vietnam.

The Children of Vietnam

I recently went on a three week journey to Vietnam.  We travelled from as far north as Sapa  all the way to the Mekong Delta in the South.  What impressed me time and again were the children.  Whether they were in the north or 2000 km further south, they were happy, easy going, obedient, played with nothing and still had fun and very rarely did we hear any of them cry, throw a tantrum or complain.  We, as well as our children, have alot to learn from this gentle, loving people who have faced so much adversity and hardships over the years and who are still very poor, barely make enough to get by, are the hardest working people I have ever met, are extremely helpful and all this always sporting a beautiful smile and wonderful attitude.  Enjoy a few of the portraits I took while on my travels.

Water village children in Halong Bay

Water village children in Halong Bay

Child in Halong Bay water village

Child in Halong Bay water village

Young Girl living in Halong Bay Water village

Young Girl living in Halong Bay Water village

Family vehicles in Sapa are Vespas.  Cars are a very rare commodity.

Family vehicles in Sapa are Vespas. Cars are a very rare commodity.

Young boy carries his baby brother on his back at the Bac Ha Market

Young boy carries his baby brother on his back at the Bac Ha Market

Bac Ha Market near Sapa

Bac Ha Market near Sapa

The Bac Ha Market happens once a week

The Bac Ha Market happens once a week

Young girl looking after her baby brother

Young girl looking after her baby brother

Beautiful young Girl Boys looking at the tourists

These young kids were given ballons by a tourist and were having a ball with them.

These young kids were given ballons by a tourist and were having a ball with them.

Seriously trying to blow his balloon Father carries baby girl

Baby waiting for her mother as the mother was cooking in the local eatery

Baby waiting for her mother as the mother was cooking in the local eatery

School in one of the hill tribe villages

School in one of the hill tribe villages

Girl waiting in line to play a game

Girl waiting in line to play a game

Elementary school boys playing a game with their teacher.

Elementary school boys playing a game with their teacher.

Young boys waiting patiently for their turn.

Young boys waiting patiently for their turn.

Toddler was mimicking the moves that the elementary school kids were doing while at recess.

Toddler was mimicking the moves that the elementary school kids were doing while at recess.

Young Sapa Girl

Young Sapa Girl

Young child in the hill tribe in Sapa

Young child in the hill tribe in Sapa

Posing in the hill tribes

Posing in the hill tribes

Posing

Posing

These young girls gestured to us from the street (we were eating in a second floor restaurant) to purchase a floating lantern from them.  They waited for almost an hour while we ate and of course we could not resist buying a few of their lanterns.  School night, it was dark and getting late and no parents were around.  But they sat their and giggled the entire time we watched.

These young girls gestured to us from the street (we were eating in a second floor restaurant) to purchase a floating lantern from them. They waited for almost an hour while we ate and of course we could not resist buying a few of their lanterns. School night, it was dark and getting late and no parents were around. But they sat their and giggled the entire time we watched.

Young boys in a Hoi An suburb.

Young boys in a Hoi An suburb.

These two little characters were running around in the local brick factory, no shoes, not hard hats and no supervision.  Our guide gave them gum and they chased us for the entire time we were there.  The absolutely loved having their picture taken and then seeing themselves on the back of my camera.

These two little characters were running around in the local brick factory, no shoes, not hard hats and no supervision. Our guide gave them gum and they chased us for the entire time we were there. The absolutely loved having their picture taken and then seeing themselves on the back of my camera.

This young boy was rather sad because there was no gum left for him.  But he took it like a man.  No crying or tantrum

This young boy was rather sad because there was no gum left for him. But he took it like a man. No crying or tantrum

My little brick factory angels.

My little brick factory angels.

Playing with nothing

Playing with nothing

This young boy wanted his picture taken but was so shy that the first few pictures I took all you could see was the top of his head because he was looking at the ground so much.  With sign language and the help of our guide, I was able to have him look up.  The only smile I got was when he finally saw himself on the back of my camera.

This young boy wanted his picture taken but was so shy that the first few pictures I took all you could see was the top of his head because he was looking at the ground so much. With sign language and the help of our guide, I was able to have him look up. The only smile I got was when he finally saw himself on the back of my camera.