05.09.2010 - 19.09.2010 85 °F
We took a boat along the Mekong River, where we stopped for the most amazing lunch which basically was in a families home. The food was just outstanding and all cooked by the man of the house (of course us ladies liked this!). This was the first time we got to eat the 'elephant' fish, which is like no other fish I have ever tasted before. You can basically eat for a king or queen for very little money here in Vietnam £10 and that is eating very well indeed with a couple of courses and in most cases include a nice cold local beer.
After lunch it was back on the boat, to another small village where we were split up due to the river being too narrow for our boat and having to take small row boats/canoes down the river to Mrs Moi's where we were all, doing our homestay. Given this is something that we all wanted to experience it was nice that we all got to stay in the same place, as you can imagine conditions were nothing like any of us have or had experienced before, kitchens outside with very basic living conditions, there was one large room with 12 beds, some would say a basic college dorm or a little like The Waltons for those in the UK older enough to remember that programme.
We took a walk around the village, which did not take long, and spoke with the locals, everyone has a few dogs and chickens seems to be the standard for all the families, I guess the dogs are used as security to protect there homes and possessions, as none of the houses have locks on the doors. In fact some of them do not have any doors, just a curtain for the entrance. This is basic living and in our modern world where we live, it is hard to think that people are living like this today. Given I guess the majority of them do not know any different way of living, they are very happy people, who are fantastic at recyling anything and everything, we could certainly learn a lot from them. It quickly became clear that education is very important in Vietnam, as many of the young locals speak excellent English, some with an American accent as they have been taught by Americans. Mrs Moi and her husband had called on other family members who live elsewhere to come and help them with our overnight stay. We were invited to help make dinner, which was good and we can all now make first class rice steam rolls. Just delicious
We had a fun night of talking, and singing old songs with the family, it seems a common interest here, is of old English romantic songs amongst the locals, who are shocked that we all did not know all the words..... to round off the night, Mrs Moi asked us all some questions where we also got to do the same. Mrs Moi is in here late seventies and was so strong, lifting huge pots and organizing her family, was just amazing, most people her age would not be able to do the things that Mrs Moi was capable of, or even rise before 5.00am in the morning to excercise. If I can do half of what Mrs Moi can do when I reach her age, I will be a very happy person indeed. I will never forget her beautiful smile for as long as I live, this lady has truly touched my heart and if I was given the chance to visit her again I would jump at it... on a yearly basis. In fact watch this space, as I plan to help raise money for Mrs Moi and her family, so they can improve conditions for future homestay visitors.