I travel frequently, constantly look forward for more traveling, make a living out of travel, blog about travel … that should tell you enough about the T word in my life ☺
An hour and a half away by bus from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh city, I had booked this day trip to My Tho the previous evening after having realized once again how little did I read about this country before boarding my flight to Asia. One of the pluses of traveling alone is that it is easy to be added to a tour even when you book late. They can always squeeze one more in. ‘It should be enough to get me a feel of the Mekong’, I thought, ‘until my next visit’.
The mighty Mekong has its origin in the Tibetan Plateau and runs through China’s Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, which makes it one of the world’s largest rivers, so large that it has two tides a day.
Lying on its left side is My Tho, the first city you reach when going down to the Mekong Delta. Though it was founded by Chinese refugees who fled Taiwan back in the 1680’s, the Chinese population is small today having been driven out by the Vietnamese government in the late 1970’s.
The thing with arranged tours is that you have to follow a set program, which was not bad on this trip -diversified and fast enough to eliminate the boredom factor. It included a stroll in the market, a visit to the coconut candy workshop and a bee farm, listening to Vietnamese folk music, a sampan ride through mangrove swamps, another boat ride through side canals and a stop for a local lunch, all giving a glimpse of the typical Mekong Delta rural life.
Now, I may not be the first to volunteer to carrying a python around my neck. As a matter of fact, not only was I the last, I went so far as to ask for extra time to make up my mind. With my ‘I am thinking about whether I go for it or not’, I seemed to have unintentionally baffled the guide, snake handler and around 7 of the group who looked at me as if they never saw or experienced hesitation before!
I may neither be someone who’d give her full attention to the explanation of rice making in the Mekong Delta –the area which made of Vietnam one of the largest rice exporters in the world, the nation of rice omelette, rice porridge, rice wine, rice noodle soup, you name it.
But I am definitely the first one to drop it all –bag, money, ID, books, map- and jump in less than a second from the rear end of the bus when the tour guide asks if someone is interested in palm reading on the way back to HCMC. My only question was: ‘which hand do you need, the left or the right one?’
What he said:
– I already shifted my career path once and will do it one more time before I settle ( true)
– I will earn respect with whatever I will be doing next career wise (crossing fingers)
– I like the art (true)
– I walk in nature when I am looking for answers (very true)
– I look strong to most but am like marshmallows inside (debatable)
– I will get married in my thirties, that’s when I will find love (crossing fingers)
– My finances will always be enough to afford myself a decent life (hmmm)
– He refused to answer the children question and did the same with everyone else (ok)
– When pushed by the few around me about the question of the rich husband, he looked at me and said ‘this is not what makes you happy, you’re looking for a soul mate’. I felt tears forming up so quickly I had to stand up fast and divert attention to another.
And just like that, it was someone else’s turn… The guide was good, so good a guy next to me (read this well ‘A GUY’) was mumbling ‘we need to tip him well’. And we did!