The Floating Markets

Due to sleeping late yesterday I was completely unable to drift off last night and as we had to be up at 5.30 I had a complete freaky at 1am and resorted to a chemically induced coma. Taking sleeping tablets is something I only do in an emergency and when Simon woke me up when the clock went off I really didn’t think I had been asleep for any longer than an hour max.

I was so tempted to tell him that the floating markets could shove it and it was only due to his usual chirpiness that I managed to scrape my sorry arse from the sheets. It was as much as I could do to brush my teeth, chuck some clothes on, my sunglasses and in an effort to convince myself I looked normal, some lipstick. If I still smoked I would have had about 10 by now and even I admit I probably looked fairly sad stumbling along the street, clutching a baguette and scowling around at the world. I am so not a morning and that is the understatement of the century. Being drugged with night sedation really doesn’t help.

By the time we reached the river a little of the early morning goodness has started to seep into my black world and I am actually feeling not too bad. We clamber into the boat and I lean back close my eyes and let the warm sun slowly coax me awake. After about an hour we reach the floating markets and hallelujah the first seller we meet does coffee. Simon grabs a few and despite the fact that he has to gently point out that the fella has short changed him (Twice!) we are on our way.

The floating market here is the largest in this region and we can see straight away the difference between this and the less authentic floating markets near Bangkok that are geared towards tourists. For a start the sellers ignore us knowing that we won’t buy anything of substance. The huge wooden boats are laden down with all sorts of fruit and vegetables. We see pumpkins, pineapples, potatoes etc. The much smaller boats are busy buying from them and will take their produce back to Can Tho to sell in the street markets there.

After paddling around for an hour we start to head back but take a much quieter route through a network of canals. It is a shame to see how disgusting and polluted the water is. We had to stop 4 or 5 times when the propeller became choked with plastic and despite the natural outstanding beauty of the waterways it was spoilt by the rubbish everywhere.

When we arrive back we have our photo taken with a giant Ho Chi Minh statue (No Vietnamese city is complete without him. We make our way to Nanbo’s for breakfast and try and consolidate some of the information we have learnt with the kids about Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh. It is complicated and takes us a few hours to decipher the American intervention in the civil war here. Explaining it to Ali and Maisie is hard and inevitably they draw comparisons on their own about the current situation in Iraq.

In the afternoon we swim at the Victoria hotel and Simon and Ali play tennis. In this heat they must be mad and return to the poolside very hot and tired! We get pizza for dinner and eat it in our room. Tomorrow we are going to Ho Chi Minh City and are hoping to see a bit more of Vietnam and make a bit more of a connection with it. The people I have met here have been so friendly and welcoming to us but I feel there is so much more to Vietnam that we haven’t touched yet. Feeling tired tonight, hopefully will get to sleep a bit earlier and feel more refreshed tomorrow.