Today, we traveled by sampan to reach the city of Chau Doc, passing through the man-made Tan Chau Canal. Along the way, we observed people living on their boats and tending to their daily activities. A visit to a fish farm helped us understand the challenges of market fluctuation and high costs for fish food, not to mention the labor involved in tending to the underwater constructions. Patrick gave a presentation on the “Ecology of the Mekong River Basin” when we returned to the ship, which helped us put everything into perspective. Visiting the central market was a great experience. Once again, we discovered many products that were new to us, especially tropical fruits, and we felt as if we were blending with the landscape. The trishaw tour sent us back in time, and it was amazing. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our Vietnamese guides, but the days we have spent with them were very enriching.
During the afternoon, it was interesting to discover more about the behind-the-scenes functioning of the Jahan and to cook some typical Mekong Delta dishes with the chef. Julia helped guests understand the many religious components we have seen so far as we prepared for our discovery of Cambodia. Barry’s short but wide-ranging presentation on the functions and types of stupas was also enlightening.