Having slept like a baby I was up early and able to fit in a bit of AM yoga before Mr. Kim was knocking at my door. Like dinner, I was once again eating alone (why Mr. Kim had to sit with me I do not know) but breakfast was less than appetizing. I guess they assumed I couldn't handle Asian breakfast of noodles or rice so instead I was given an entire baguette with some incredibly sweet jam, accompanied by some incredibly sweet coffee. Thankful to not be in a sugar coma I packed my bags and jumped back on the bike, it was time for us to move on to Can Tho.
The rides were possibly my favorite part of this trip like most of my travels so far I enjoy being on the back of a motorbike being able to observe the world going by me. This was no different as I sat on the back snapping pictures as we drove through small towns, rice, banana and coconut fields, local markets and even crossed the river on a local ferry. We stopped at one roadside stall where Mr. Kim kept insisting that the man was selling Kiwi's, and although they were delicious they were definitely not Kiwi's. [Thanks to my friend Peace, who I met later in my trip I found out they were actually sapodilla]. We did make one stop at a honey factory and this time I was persuaded to buy the royal jelly, I hope this stuff really does make my skin beautiful.
At a few points during this trip I thought that Mr. Kim might have a sixth sense because just as my legs were getting tired or I was dying of thirst, we would pull over for a 'cafe' break. Like I said in my last post, I'm glad Mr. Kim was a fan of coffee because these roadside breaks provided great relief from the sun, bike seat and heat. Basically, this entire day was devoted to driving, the trip to Can Tho took almost the entire time and once we arrived there wasn't much else to do than eating and relax. We stopped at a small shop for fresh spring rolls which were delicious, after my breakfast of pure sugar and then it was off to the hotel. With a good WiFi connection and a sudden downpour outside I decided to do some yoga before venturing out for a walk along the river. Mr. Kim took me for a dinner of, what other than, noodles and with a fruit shake in hand, it was back to my room. The next morning would be an early one as we were set for a 6:30am departure, this time by boat to see the nearby floating market.
Our boat was driven by a friendly Vietnamese woman who seemed amused that she had a young white foreigner aboard her boat. Starting early definitely had it's benefits as there were not many other tourist boats out on the water yet and it wasn't too hot. The ride out was a bit further than expected but I was throughly enjoying the scenery along the way. I was seated at the front of the boat so it was easy enough to pretend I was alone and simply enjoy the moment, except when Mr. Kim took time to play tour guide.
The market itself was pretty small but interesting at the same time. Vendors hung their good from a tall mast advertising to the others what was available at their boat, while 'shoppers' steered their way between 'stores' and dogging tourist boats. Also mixed into the confusion was the occasional 'cafe on water' selling anything from noodle soup, to coffees, red bull and tea. We didn't make any purchases but I did get a fair amount of pictures by the time we made it to the end of the line.
I wasn't sure what was in store for us next but it turns out Mr. Kim had another stop for me to make, more rice paper making! I had doubts about how interesting this would be, as it would be my third visit of the kind, but it was unique because the "rice papers were really big", and sure enough they were the size of a car tire. I wondered what they could possibly be used for (spring rolls for giants?) but found out they were just cut into noodles, not as cool. I took a few pictures, got stared at and asked to buy popped rice snacks, but ultimately left with all my money intact.
Before getting back on our boat we stopped at a small cafe for nothing other than cafe sua da (ice coffee with milk), noodles (for Mr. Kim) and some mystery Vietnamese pastries for me. Having finally reached the sugar coma I had previously avoided, I made my way back to the boat and got comfortable for our return journey, blazing sun and all. There wasn't as much as excitement this way, seeing as we took the same route, but it was still beautiful, despite the sweat dripping in my eyes.
An hour or so later we were back at our hotel where I had an hour to shower and relax before getting back on the bike to return to Ben Tho. The ride was enjoyable but I think the heat and maybe lack of good food was starting to get to me, by the time we stopped for lunch I was definitely in a state of hanger. I think Mr. Kim even caught on to my attitude as we sat down and I stared at my mound of rice and a meager plate of weird fish. I keep reading food blogs about the 'great vegetables' in Vietnam but I'm sorry, a plate of weeds does not constitute vegetables in my book, those are a garnish.
The rest of the day was pretty standard, we drove, and drove and then drove some more; I took lots more pictures, many of which probably looked the same, and we eventually arrived in Ben Tho. A shower and lie down were 100% in order when I got back to my room, and eventually, the day ended with dinner and an early bedtime, day 4 was waiting for me the next morning.
I was warned that I'd either love it or hate it. For some Vietnam is a food and adventure paradise while others just can't seem to find their grove. With a turbulent history and remains of division between north and south, it's an interesting place to say the least.