Monday, April 26, 2010


So here we go -- into the Big Muddy -- a.k.a. the tiny waterways of Saigon's District 2 which take us out of the urban core and into, well, a whole other world very much like the Mekong Delta.

We found this boat by accident. A guy at the dock was hawking a trip but he wasn't especially official, and Daniel was a little afraid we were going to get taken upriver, surprised by some gang, murdered and dumped. But in the words of Blanche du Bois, "I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers."

So off we go into the harbour...

And soon we're seeing the skyline -- note the Financial Building from post one -- and disappearing into major off-the-beaten-track territory, and Daniel's fears start looking maybe possible.

Well possible, but not probable, I thought as I checked for something to swim to. Actually I felt way safer in Vietnam than when I lived in Hell's Kitchen in NYC in the 80s. But okay, yeah, maybe it's not totally smart to take rides from complete strangers on the other side of the world where you don't know the culture or the language -- although I think "HELP!!!! SAVE ME!!!" is pretty universal if delivered with enough sheer terror. Still, you can't book this tour through a tour guide -- I mean it isn't even listed in Lonely Planet -- so what the hell, eh?

Every few hundred yards we see a home on the water.

And wildlife...

And guys panning for shrimp...

Or setting out to fish or visit neighbours...

Or something as simple and perfect as this.

Anyway, it was a great outing -- even if it's not the sort of thing you tell your mom about. :)

Next post, something a little more disturbing. Inside the Viet Cong tunnels of Cu Chi...


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