A Day of Wonder Upon the Mekong River
Shortly after Thanksgiving, while visiting South Vietnam, 18 of us from the Ship climbed aboard the Aqua Mekong in My Tho and prepared for a multi-day adventure along the Mekong River. With room for 40 passengers there was plenty of space for our group.
One afternoon we boarded the boat’s “skiffs” and set out for Binh Thanh Island, which is noted for its grass mat weaving. There are seven villages on the island with a population of about 21,000. Mats are woven by hand from river reeds and water hyacinths, both of which grow profusely in the warm, humid climate.
On our way down the canal to the village we saw water hyacinths growing behind bamboo poles that had been strung with nets to keep them from floating into the waterways.
The river was bustling with activity from boats loaded with goods on their way to market.
Hidden among these massive vessels we were lucky to witness a family launching a small floating memorial to a loved one. It was quite a moving scene.
Arriving at the village we picked our way through the muddy bank to walk up a short hill and begin a visit to various weavers.
Even though it was interesting to see how the mats and baskets were woven, our attention was captured by the many children swarming around. One of the Residents had given the guide some small gifts to hand out and when he opened the bag he was mobbed.
While most of the children angled for a treat, there was one young girl whose attention was focused on the fascinating image of herself in a Resident’s camera. Others were soon drawn to the camera and were anxious to share their beautiful smiles.
Soon it was time to head back to the skiffs and the Aqua Mekong. On the way we stopped at one of the many fish farms and our guide jumped onto the floating platform to pour some food in and get the red carp churned up. Within seconds the water was foaming with fish vying for the food.
Back onboard the Mekong, we enjoyed another fun evening with our fellow travelers. Tomorrow was going to be another early day as we were going to a bird sanctuary.
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