We got up for our last breakfast on board the “Mekong Eyes” ship. We only have a half day left in the Mekong Delta before heading North to Hanoi by plane. We had packed our bags already and were boarding a smaller boat with all our luggage. During the whole trip we were really lucky with the weather. It was warm, but not too hot, Sunny but hazy, so you never felt you sweated too much or got sun burned. The Vietnamese told us it was unusually cold for this time of the year but we found it to be perfect.
Heading out on a very wide stretch of the Mekong river, we encountered an ever increasing stream of trading vessels, loaded with fresh produce. As is customary here, each ship, small or large, has a set of eyes painted on the front hull. Those are the Mekong eyes watching out for each boat as to not have an accidental crash with a rock or another boat.
We were heading to Cái Răng floating market, one of the nicest floating markets that are custom here in the delta. The lack of roads and the ease of transport by boat make the water a natural trading place for goods of all sorts. Each merchant boat is anchored on the floating marketplace and announces it’s goods by attaching a sample to a long pole in front of the boat so everyone can see what’s being sold there.
We saw turnips, watermelons, carrotts, tomatoes, jack fruit, and many other fruits and vegetables tied to the long poles and the smaller boats of the customers moving in between the larger boats and doing their shopping like on a regular market. Small kiosk boats dash between the larger boats selling breakfast (rice noodle soup of course) and drinks.
The market is only from about 5 AM to 12 noon each day and the traders stay there for a week until they sold most of their goods. They practically live on their boat for that time and then return home to get more goods.
Hence the ships are like small houses complete with dogs, kids and laundry hug out to dry. It’s a lovely sight. Everyone is shouting from boat to boat so it’s not a quiet place but rather bustling with energy and commerce.
We stopped at a floating supermarket, where four boats were tied together to form one big shopping area. One boat sold anything dried fish and seafood, another sold anything rice noodle related, One sold everything sauces and spices and the last sold drinks. Did we mention that the Vietnamese are the kings of commerce?
We would have loved to spend more time here, but it was time to head out again, for us it was towards the airport of Cần Thơ to catch a flight to Hanoi. From the very south of Vietnam we fly to the very North.