Taking the Long Way travel blog

 

Houses on the river's edge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making rice paper

Lotus flower gardens

Boat eyes

Rice husking mill

Cow on a spit outside the hotel

Check out this menu...rat anyone?

Why is the fried noodle with pork more expensive than the fried...

The bus starting fill up


The second day of my three day tour in the Mekong... I was downstairs at 6am for breakfast then the bus was delayed and so we left about 7.30am on foot to walk the 200m to the river (no idea why a bus was needed!)and board a boat to head to the Cai Rang floating market.

Unfortunately the bulk of the market was already over for the day by the time we got there at 8am but it was still worth it to head out and see the boats heavily laden with coconuts, cabbage, potatoes and all sorts of other produce all being bought and sold on the river. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of people who live on the Mekong so its fascinating to see them living in such cramped and unusual ways. I don't think I could do it...

From there we were off and on the boat for the next few hours, visiting a fruit orchard, a rice husking mill and a rice paper and rice noodle making shop. It was a relief to finally get off the boat; wooden seats get very painful after that amount of time.

We went back to the hotel where people who were only doing the 2 day tour were leaving while myself and 4 other Germans were waiting for another bus to take us further into the Mekong for the last day of our tour. After waiting awhile we realised that our tour guide, King, had disappeared (with our tickets) and we were hustled onto a rather shabby looking minibus by the hotel owner.

I got suspicious when the driver and his mate tried to squeeze all 5 of us into the back seat and leave the rest free...it soon became obvious that the bus was no tour tour bus but rather we had been put on a public bus that then stopped randomly letting all and sundry on. At final count there were 25 people on a 15 seater bus! We were so annoyed! Not only did we not get the private bus we had paid for, we also didn't do any of the sightseeing we had paid for either, or the English speaking guide.

We were supposed to go to a crocodile farm, another floating market, Cai Khe market, Long Dinh Pagoda and Sam Mountain. Instead we were dropped off at a dingy looking hotel in Chau Doc 3 hours later and the staff had no idea who we were. I had previously paid extra on my tour price to get a single room with air-con so when we finally established we were in the right place I fought for my air-con room valiantly. I nearly didn't get it but in the end I succeeded; not that I should have tried so hard.

The room is exactly the size of the queen bed that it is in and the bathroom is only accessible by climbing over the bed, there is no window or fan and the air-con intermittently works and the whole thing is FILTHY and damp. We were all very unhappy with the whole thing and rang the tour company to complain and as compensation they offered to arrange motorbikes to take as to Sam Mountain, as included in the tour. I can't work out how that is compensation???

SO I am curious to see what tomorrow will bring but I am very much hoping it will deliver the boat that I am expecting to catch up the Makong and into Cambodia!!

But for now a cold beer with the Germans and more ruminating on a terrible tour!



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