Today we drive on from Can Tho to Chau Doc along the banks of the Mekong south channel.
The river rises some two thousand five hundred miles away in Tibet and flows down through China, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia before entering the South China Sea in Vietnam. At the height of the annual flood it is moving thirty eight thousand cubic metres of soil every second so no wonder it is so brown. Vietnam, thanks to particles of soil from all those countries is growing at a rate of 200 feet per year.My thanks to Michael Palin for that rather useless piece of information. He was coming down the north channel of the Mekong when he penned that.
Can Tho was a fun place and we had another good night out last night though Vietnam food still rather leaves me cold. I still haven’t really discovered what it is about. The city is the 4th largest in Vietnam and in Vietnamese the name means River of Poems.
I have read the great reviews the Victoria hotel gets and am amazed. It is as I said yesterday a very noisy hotel ad to me the French owned place seems to typify what was wrong with French Colonial rule. Milk the locals dry ( in this case read hotel guests) and put little back in it’s place. The hotel certainly adds to the debate on whether a five or four star hotel that is unable or unwilling to supply drinkable tap water should charge for bottled water. I’m firmly in the no camp but the Victoria takes it one further by charging eleven times what a bottle costs in a shop. Now that really is gilding the lily . A small bottle of beer there costs 125,000 dong ( US$6) which is far more than in Saigon’s best hotels.
The problem is they have a monopoly and get away with it though I quickly found a small local shop to get around it.
They also have a monopoly here in Chau Doc having for years had the only decent hotel in town and now having opened a second up on the hill over looking the town .
It is here we now rest our weary heads The Victoria Nui Sam Lodge.
This is where to view the sunset as it goes down over Cambodia. As you can see they meant it when they said it is on an hill. Indeed it is built into the side of a very steep hill. All round us are paddy fields
The Mekong Delta produces over half of Vietnam’s rice crop each year. Rice exports are the third largest export after seafood ( mainly shrimp and pastes) and timber. China takes almost all the rice, and the U.S. A. takes almost all of the seafood and the timber.
Being on the side of an hill the hotel has plenty of hiking trails and health walks . We stood in reception whilst the kindly lad rattled though his speech giving us the list of exceedingly healthy options. However then I found these to counter act it all
Looks like we are set anyway.
Mind you we got plenty of exercise getting the bags to the room. To beat the system I had the driver stop at a shop and bought 12 bottles of beer and a couple of sodas. Brilliant I though paying 25,000 dong for each beer, at usual Victoria prices that has saved me well over a million and a quarter dong. After staggering to the room under the weight of them I looked at the price list at this Victoria. Small bottle of beer 40,000 dong.
Damn damn damn !!!