Friday morning we were at anchor in the river for most of the time waiting for the border patrol officials to come. Sam, our purser, had all our passports and had done the piles of paperwork for leaving Cambodia and entering Vietnam (we had to get visas for Vietnam before we left home). He did all the work and we loafed around.
In the afternoon we came to Chau Doc. We met our Vietnamese guide, Dui, who will be with us for the rest of the time. He is a lively person and a good guide. Again, we four Americans tour around on our own, leaving the larger group of French people to their own guide.
We visited a Cham village. These people are primarily Muslim, refugees who came from the north.
|View along the river|
|Poinsettia in village|
|Jackfruit tree -- the fruits ripen at different times|
After the village, we took vans up a nearby mountain, about 280 meters high. Everything else is low-lying and it gave a wonderful view all around the countryside. Unfortunately, it was quite hazy, so photos aren’t that great. Acres of green rice paddies were in every direction. We could see the Cambodian border, where Vietnamese workers can cross over to till the fields.
A family lives here. There is a military station on the mountain; they probably live by working for them and selling food to tourists.
It is clear that Vietnam is further along in development than Cambodia. Although they clearly suffered much from the war, they didn’t lose an entire generation of intellectuals as Cambodia did.
We took a wonderful walk through very narrow pathways into the market area of Chau Doc. And at the end we visited a shrine. A picture outside is of a female who became a monk and everyone thought she was male. At one point a pregnant young woman named her as the father of her child. The monk never said anything against her. Much later when she died, they discovered her true gender. Now she is venerated and her picture has her with a young child.
|Flowers in the market -- the arrangements in front are for temple offerings|
|Fish and other things (?) for sale -- marinated in something with oil, I think|
|Many bonsai in this area -- this one is in a public plaza|
|Inside the temple -- notice the safe where you can securely put your donation|
The children in the Vietnam towns we've been in seem very friendly and happy. They all wave and say hello. This children were playing around outside the temple and loved it when I took my camera out. I tried to ask the little one how old she was, and the tall boy started counting one-two-three-four-five in English. He was proud of himself, but it didn't help me figure out their ages!
A correction is needed: our ship is the Toum Tiou II; I misspelled it earlier. The food has been quite good. At breakfast we have a buffet of fruit, meats, breads (delicious fresh croissants) and eggs made to order. Lunch is also a buffet, often with soup, always two or three unusual salad combinations, rice with three dishes (two meat, one vegetable), and fruit for dessert. Occasionally there is an addition to dessert; today we had pineapple fritters with honey. Dinner is served family style, with tables of six. We are now at a table for four with Tom and Gayl, the American couple. We are having a good time. They are keeping us very busy with excursions morning and afternoon. Today (Saturday) I am taking the afternoon off and just resting. The others all went off on a small boat to another pottery and floating market.