Mekong Delta 10.28.16

Like water cooler talk at work, travelers have go-to topics of conversation too. As a person from the U.S., I am often asked about the election and Donald Trump. People ask for my opinion without regard for social conventions dictating politics is off limits. It is great to discuss a topic that we avoid in some settings at home.

I have had the election conversation many times with people representing different countries and I always hear similar comments from my conversation partners. They say:

  • How has this happened? I cannot believe it!
  • We think less of the United States because of Donald Trump’s candidacy.
  • We love Obama. Regardless of the election results, the new President is not as exciting.

I know backpackers are a homogenous group – millennials, people with some financial means, people interested in travel even if it is not always comfortable or easy. Even given this homogeneity, I am intrigued that no person I have talked with supports Donald Trump.

I am happy to be out of the country during this election cycle so I can avoid the non-stop coverage. I still read my newspaper daily and also listen to election podcasts. For two of the three debates I streamed the audio live. (An aside: technology is amazing!) It is excellent to be able to choose how much election coverage I hear every day.

I am aiming to be in a larger city for November 9 (a day later because of the time zones) so I can continue my tradition of watching the voting results live on television. I am excited to see what an election watching party outside of the U.S. feels like.

Quick note: I returned this afternoon from 6 nights on the Cambodian Island Koh Rong Sanloem, a place with no roads, no ATMs, and no wifi. It was fabulous! A number of blog posts will come in the next few days. 

I met these fabulous German women, Pia and Marina, in our hostel in Can Tho. Because it is the end of the low and rainy season, we were the only people staying for both nights. I am grateful we had each other!
The big activity in Can Tho is a daybreak visit to the floating markets. Many other tourists also joined. We boarded a small wood boat without life jackets.
It was a grey day and the water is really this brown. I was told the water is less brown in the dry season when there is less run off.
This market is a working market. Each boat advertises their produce item by hanging it from the tall pole. The buyers must purchase in bulk and usually re-sell in the local markets in town.
Eyes are painted on almost every boat I saw in the delta region and also in the north in Halong Bay. They ward against evil and are also lovely to look at.
Pia, Marina and I along with our boat driver toured a family’s rice noodle factory. No one spoke English, including our boat driver, so I did not learn much about the factory. It was interesting to observe.
I left Can Tho and slept one night in a border down called Chau Doc. From Chau Doc I took a larger ferry (with life jackets!) for a 5 hour boat ride from Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was cool to cross a border through a river crossing. The blue sky pictures are from the border crossing trip.
Yom Kippur passed while I was in Can Tho. I streamed services from my synagogue. The cyclo taxi that would have picked me up for the boat ride across the border did not arrive. The kind and helpful front desk person at my hotel drove me on his moto the short distance to catch the boat. This was my first moto ride!
Photos from the boat ride on the Mekong to Cambodia.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Woessner says:

    Fascinating, as always. No life jackets, moto rides? – you’ve become quite the risk taker while living dangerously;);) Loved the update. Keep truckin’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. grandma lange says:

    i bet mia was happy to be with you and practice her english with you …….

    all my life the world looked up to the freedom in the great USA. and now, they and we here are perplexed indeed !!!


    1. Perplexed seems about right from the conversations I am having… Both Pia and Marina spoke great English. At home they are in business and use the language often. I continue to be impressed by everyone’s second (or third) language skills!


  3. Laura Johnson says:

    Worried when I see you on the water without a PFD (personal floatation device)…I remember when I was in Mexico and we took a boat from Ixtapa to Ixtapa Island…it wasn’t until we had left the shore that we noticed there were none on board……… Mind how you go…you’re important to all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you always Laura for caring about my safety! We were not so thrilled either but, in the moment, there wasn’t much we could do besides confirm we all knew how to swim! I am getting better at scanning my environment when I get on boats or busses to try and be as safe as possible (PFD, seat belt, escape routes).

      Sounds like you had the same thing happen! Love hearing your stories. I didn’t know you had journeyed to Mexico. Neat!


  4. Kat says:

    I too was mildly concerned about the lack of lifejackets after seeing this adventuresome situation. I also find it hysterical that this is also the concern of my fellow commenters.

    The markets just looked fantastically interesting – the idea of dangling the wares to show what you have is so interesting! I also got a kick out of your interpretive rice noodle factory tour.

    Always so interesting to read. Be well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat!! What can I say, great minds think alike 🙂

      I think you’d have been equally entertained by the interpretive movements needed when I bought deodorant recently. There was a nose holding followed by armpit pointing game of charades. Success in the end though! Well wishes to you too and welcome back from TX! Many thanks for reading.


  5. Ellen says:

    Can’t wait to hear where you end up on election day and what your experience is like. I was in Guatemala in 2008 and it was so incredible to see the whole country celebrate and realize how far Obama’s popularity had already spread.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a special memory Ellen! I get the feeling Cambodia is less connected to the US so I am not anticipating a lot of interest from Khmer people. I may be 100% wrong! Excited for the experience and you betcha I’ll let you know where I end up. Good luck in NYC – both campaign HQs could be extra interesting.


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