The drive yesterday from Saigon to Can Tho took 3 hours and was certainly much easier than the drive to Mui Ne last month even though it is further. The road was dual carriage way for the most part and the driver got his toe down .
You can stop at various temples on the way but we chose to get down to the hotel. After a couple of months in South East Asia you get templed out especially as it would have added some 2 hours to the journey.
The Mekong delta is large. Several times we thought we were crossing the Mekong, each time though it was one of the many offshoots that meander their way to the coast.
When we finally hit the real thing it was huge. An enormous bridge spans the river close to Can Tho and as you look down the massive brown river is full of ships and barges.
The Victoria Hotel sits on the River Hua a tributary to the Mekong but from the grounds you can see the big river
You can barely see the other side off in the distance.
The Victoria is an old colonial hotel built by the French close to a town that is now a major port and industrial hub.
The hotel itself is surrounded by large restaurants catering to the local populous and so during the day the various acts that entertain the diners practice their songs and music at full volume whilst a night they then do the act for real. So quiet it is not. Nor is it a quiet hotel inside with marble corridors and teak floors accentuating the noise of people walking about.
But the setting is superb and they do a lot well.
There is a sunset cruise on an old rice barge that doubles as the happy hour drinks barge
Excitingly instead of the dreaded minivan shuttle into the town they do it by boat
the hotel prides itself on it’s green credentials hence the lawn growing on the top of the boat. It is certainly a great way to head into the large town and the pier in town is the central point for the local restaurants that cater for foreigners and therefore speak some English.
I was in this morning checking out places for tonight as in the dark last night we never really found the main area. The beer was cheap though and Can Tho produces it’s own local brew which you buy in various places for 9,000 dong (25P) a large glass. It is an acquired taste me thinks but at that price worth persevering with .
The market is full of flowers as people decorate everywhere ready for the Tet New Year holiday on Jan 31st.
there is yet another floating market here as well that opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 8 a.m. also selling flowers. Were we tempted to go see another floating market ? Er no.
The Tet is a 9 day holiday here in Vietnam for the first time under communist rule and the people seem determined to make the best of the new extended holiday.
The big thing to have is a peach tree that flowers on the 1st of Feb to mark the new lunar new year so market sellers try to make sure they have the trees ready for this.
It is quite strange to wander down the road seeing rows and rows of bare trees up for sale
these are being snapped up and carried away on the backs of motor bikes. Some poor market stall sellers though have got it wrong
not sure what they do with these now in bloom as nobody wants to buy them.
It is a bit like buying a Christmas tree hoping that yours is not going to drop most of it’s needles before Christmas Day.
In Canada I went out into nose bleed country north of Toronto to actually cut a tree myself. How fresh is that going to be I thought as I loaded it on the jeep.
Back in town and worried that is might need water i put it in a bucket on the porch. The frost that night froze the water and within 2 days we had a bare tree rather like those peach ones. Kids weren’t happy let me say.