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Misc Pictures from Vietnam

Here are some pictures I took around Ho Chi Minh City.




About the face masks and long sleeves...I initially thought this was due to hygiene concerns but one of my guides said it was to avoid sun exposure to keep skin lighter.  Another guide said it was to keep the dust from the street off of the face and clothes.  So I have no idea what the real reason is, but it seems less strange after almost a week in Vietnam than when I first arrived here.  









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Vietnam (Day 4) Part 3



  



It was really fun traveling through the canals on the small boat.  We would get right up close to the banks where I could see little fish darting in and out of holes in the mud and even climbing the roots and trees.


Also it provided the perfect setting for stereotypical tourist in Vietnam photos.




We then arrived at a coconut candy making factory.  Unfortunately, it was more of a tourist trap than educational, but it was still somewhat interesting.  It looked like the process of making the candy was similar to making taffy.  The result was a caramel like candy that had coconut flavoring.

Coconut meat extraction.

Heating the milk.
Stirring and thickening.


Poured out into strips to cool.

Finally it is cut into squares and wrapped.


Lunch was quite an adventure!  There were many courses including spring rolls that were made at the table as part of a demonstration.  






The delicious food attracted a little friend who I happily fed table scraps to.  



I also used the antenna from the shrimp to play with the kitty.  haha


After lunch, we had an hour to nap which I thought was a fantastic idea!  Then we made our way back out of the delta canals to the bus.  I took lots of pictures on the drive back while listening to travel tunes on my neglected iPod.  







One of the neat things about this time of year is that the rice harvest are going on.  As we drove, we saw the different stages of rice growth, harvesting, and replanting.  


Another interesting thing I saw was the graves that often were placed in the middle of the fields.  It is a common practice for people to ask to be buried on their land that they spent their life working.  This has a whole host of significant meanings.  The choice to be buried on their land shows the pride they took in their work, ensures that their kids and grandkids won't sell the land, and gives the kids and grandkids piece of mind that their ancestors spirit is protecting their land.  I thought that was kind of beautiful.


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Vietnam (Day 4) Part 2


After the market it was on to the Delta.  We boarded the big boat for a relaxing half hour heading up the river.





Our first stop was to a coconut craft workshop and museum.  I was amazed at the things that they made out of coconut shells!  




Then it was a bit of a walk through the jungle to a snack of delicious fruit.  Going clockwise from the 12 o'clock position, the fruits were called dragon's eye fruit, king fruit, pineapple, dragon fruit, and watermelon.  The king fruit was really interesting.  It tasted like a whole fruit smoothie in one bite.  I swore I could easily pick out pineapple, mango, and bananas flavors.  

The dragon fruit was mellony and mushy with lots of tiny seeds.



The dragon's eye fruit looked more like a nut than a fruit.  But once I bit into it, I found the gelatinous slightly sweet fruit part.  Can you see why it is called Dragon's eye fruit?  






As we were finishing up the fruit and tea, one of the ladies who worked at the restaurant sand a fold song for us.  


I also made friends with some puppies.  :0)





Then we had another bit of a walk through the jungle to our next mode of transportation.  I took my time even though I was feeling pretty ok to stay with someone who had a hurt ankle and to take pictures. 












Our next mode of transportation was a horse and cart!  It was a bumpy, exciting ride.  I had to hang on for dear life to not be shaken out of the cart.  After we got to the next place, I had some time to pet the horse too.  :0)




We passed by many shops and booths on the way to our little boats that would take us further into the delta canals.   One of the souvenir booths has some exceptionally creepy items for sale.





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