Fell off a Bridge & into the Mekong River…Rat for Dinner Anyone???
Who does that???? Yes, I literally rode off a bridge and fell into the Mekong River!!!! I swear, I am the most accident prone person I know. Ughhh!!! To be fair, it wasn’t a huge bridge but it was very narrow and I had issues with changing gears. Thankfully, it was on the incline so I didn’t fall to far. I missed hitting a metal pylon with my face by 3 inches. I really thought the edge of the water would have been shallow, but it must have been more then 6 feet ’cause I totally went underwater and hit the muddy bottom. Fanny pack and all! I think I scared our guide more then anything. Everyone was freakin out as they thought I had hurt myself. Shockingly, not even a scratch! I must be a cat with 9 lives…and probably down to 2.
We enjoyed, red-rice wine and beer, riverside on stone benches and tables before dinner. We ate this tastly, barbequed meat a little, old, Vietnamese women cooked in a metal-bowl like grill on the ground. It was RAT!!! It was REALLY good!!! So much better then spiders. We also had elephant-earred fish, grilled prawns, spring rolls and vegetables. We celebrated one of the Dutch girl’s 35th birthday with a surprise birthday cake we picked up in Chau Doc. Our Vietnamese guide then taught us how to play a local drinking game involving cards, spoons and snake, blood whiskey. We laughed into the early evening and went to bed by 11pm as we still had to ride in the morning.
Vietnam…Mosquitoes, Monsoons & Communism
We had nothing but HOT, HUMID, 100+ degree weather while cycling to the rural Cambodian boarder town of Phnom Den. It wasn’t so much a town, but a green country side full of rice paddies, ducks, a bridge with crossing gates and an immigration shack. Very different from the hectic, city one we crossed into by the Thai boarder.
After passport formalities and officially being welcomed into Tinh Bien, Vietnam…it started raining. No big deal. We all through on whatever rain gear we brought and continued cycling. Then the skies opened and the true meaning of monsoon season showed itself. Hard rain..I mean hard rain!… poured down on us as we desperately navigated our bikes through flooded, bumpy roads and villages. The locals must have through we were crazy…but I look at it this way…when am I going to have the experience again of cycling in a monsoon??
Thankfully, the rain rolled through and the sun came out the last 10km before reaching the hotel in Chau Doc. I have to say, the Vietnamese people are very beautiful, friendly and greet you with big smiles and say”hello”…one of the few words they know in English. Kids would run out of their little, wooden homes on stilts and wave at us. Many would line up on the streets and want to touch our hands as we cycled through their villages.
We had dinner last night at this rustic restaurant on the water called Thuan Loi. I’m told its the finest restaurant in town and for $5 I had a yummy 6 course meal. I had the bonus experience of a little lizard dropping from one of the rafters and onto my ponytail. Nice…I know.
Aside from my new pet and mosquitoes biting up a storm, we had a pleasant evening. We had an interesting conversation with our local Vietnamese guide, Tom, a 31 year old, english speaking, university graduate about the “American War” aka Vietnam War. Tom is from Mai Lai (yes…where the massacre happened) and his parents were part of the Viet Cong. As my group is made up of all Europeans, they didn’t really know much about the war. Tom and I gave them a review. It was a neutral conversation and I was happy to hear he and most Vietnamese don’t hold any animosities towards Americans. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to say I was ‘Canadian’
Anyway, over the next 4 days I am sure we will have more dialog…especially tonight as we are taking a ferry to reach our homestay on an island in the Mekong Delta. I’ll write again when I reach Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in a couple days.