I set off from Phnom Penh yesterday, down the Mekong River to cross the Cambodian boarder into Vietnam and the Mekong Delta. Although the rainy season has just started there are just emerald green rice paddies as far as the eye can see and you cannot believe how busy everything is here and how dependant life is on the river. There are hardly any Westerners here at the moment which means that everything is really quiet and you keep on bumping into the same people, which is great as you compare notes and know that you will see each other later on the journey, as you follow similar routes up the coast.
As I was the only one on the boat from the border my guide Jade decided that I should learn some Vietnamese and so far so good as at least they use the same alphabet as us even though the pronunciation is tricky. I am officially from Nam Phi (South Africa) and without fail the very next question is "Why are you not black?" They seem to be very puzzled and I travelled around with two Americans today, one of whom has Asian parents which confused everyone even more. After spending the night in Chau Doc we went up the Sam mountain this morning to visit the cave pagoda and look out over the delta towards the Cambodian-Vietnamese boarder, then we took a row boat through the floating city where everything from the petrol station to post office is only accesible by boat and the local supermarket comes to you and moars outside your houseboat's door. Here we visited one of the Cham minority villiages were they tried to teach me how to weave but it is complicated and I am not coordinated enough! And last but not least the food in Vietnam so far has been fantastic! Rice pancakes, delicious noodle soups (R3.50) and more once I am feeling more adventurous (still recovering from a Cambodian bug... but thanks to Dr Carkeek and Dr Butler I am prepared for anything, but maybe not bird flu from the ducklings - one for 2000 dong - only R1!). I have another day exploring the delta and then on to bright lights of Ho Chi Min City (aka Siagon). Gotta respect Uncle Ho and not the Frenchies even though they introduced cheese, bagettes and some pretty buildings to the area.