Friday, April 6, 2012

Mekong Delta Vietnam

This blog is written by Blaine, as I had the opportunity to go with 36 students and 4 other teachers to Vietnam for 5 days. Our school sends groups to a variety of countries.  There are also some group activities for students who wish to stay in Hong Kong.  This picture is of our leader, Tom, a Texan, who is our band director. He did an excellent job.
Meeting up with the bus and guide in Ho Chi Min City.  The gentleman in the striped shirt is our computer director from New Zealand, the lady by the bus is one of our Mandarin teachers from Shanghai.  It is very interesting to be able to get to know and work with so many different teachers with different backgrounds.
First supper, wouldn't you know it FISH!
Chicken: looks good, but they just take a cleaver and chop up the chicken, they don't try and
 pick off the meat.
Squid !!
On the bus for a day out to the Mekong Delta, our guide explaining a bit about Vietnam (90 million people, 9 million in Ho Chi Min City, formerly known as Saigon)
There are scooters everywhere! Very few cars. You'll see families of 4 on one scooter.
The houses are very narrow and built close together.
A Michelin store.  The French used to govern Vietnam until 1954, but there are still lots of rubber trees in the delta.  In one of the war books I just finished there was a huge Michelin rubber tree plantation that soldiers were to avoid.
A rest stop. Very beautiful, warm and tropical.
Typical buildings along the road.  Vietnam is a very poor country.
In the countryside of the delta.  People bury family on own land.

There are canals everywhere , both natural and man made.  People live along these canals and
 everyone has a boat to do business.
One branch of the Mekong river.

Gas was $1.10 per liter, go figure! I guess communists don't  tax gas.

Another rest stop with beautiful furniture.  The country is really starting to develop tourism.

Boat load of vegetables going to market.

Rice fields.  Other important crops are cashews, coffee, pineapples, coconut and 

An old French style house .  It has been used in some movies.

A table inside the house.

The name of a movie that was filmed at this house.

We went to visit a 'Stork' Sanctuary.  We had to walk there about 1/2 hour, and on the way went by
 many little houses(shacks) where people lived.  This was the canal their houses backed up against, 
and they use this water for everything but drinking: washing, getting rid of wastes, etc.

A grocery store along the walkway.

Gathering firewood for cooking. Every little twig is valuable to them.

Jars to collect water for drinking.

The houses.  Extremely poor, but many had a T. V. Certainly makes one think twice about grumbling 
when we consider how much we have and take for granted!

Washing dishes  in the canal.

One of my favorite pictures of the whole trip. This kids are looking out their living room "window". 
Even though they don't have much materially, the people seem very relaxed and happy.  Maybe there 
is a message for me there.
Our guide showing us how to transverse a bridge along a village canal.

The tower we climbed to see the storks.
White, black and tan colored storks.  Hundreds of them.

We drove back into a city on the Mekong river and went on a river cruise where we had supper.

Beef in a bamboo dish to keep it warm.

The beef actually was quite good!

It was a beautiful calm ride.

This teacher is a French teacher from Pennsylvania.

The highway bridge over the river.

An older couple entertained with singing after supper.

Everyone was given a paper flower, a candle , we were to make a wish and let it go on the water.

I didn't set mine down gently enough and it burned up!

Pole to release candles.

Pretty when a number of the candles were released.

My hotel room.  Each teacher had there own room so that was nice.  After a long day
(Wake up was 5:15, bed check 11:00)   I was ready for a good rest.

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