After mooring mid-stream overnight, we’re headed ashore via local boats to Sa Dec were we visit both on-water and on-land markets. The boats in the floating version of the market display their products (mangos, fish, chicken, etc.) by hoisting one of the product up a large pole. In the street market, all products are displayed in small, individual booths much like our farmers market. Among some of the more unique products were fruits such as the large jackfruit, the spiny rambutan and the delicious dragon fruit. In the meat sections, snakes and snake blood is popular, skinned river rats and every sort of poultry including duck.
Returning to the ship, we enjoy lunch while cruising the short distance to Cai Be. Our afternoon excursion includes a short walk to a workshop that recreates the making of rice paper and coconut candy. Here we’re also invited to enjoy what’s known as “Asian Viagra” or snake wine. Large, venomous snakes such as cobras are dropped into huge bottles of rice wine and left for many months. The alcohol of the rice wine (hopefully) neutralizes the venom of the snakes. We tried both the rice wine and the snake wine and I must admit, the snake wine was very tasty.
Back onboard, we’ve all fallen into a sort of “farewell funk”. Tonight is the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail hour followed by our Farewell Gala Dinner. The daily briefing isn’t about tomorrow’s excursions but instead we’re told how to settle our onboard accounts and when disembarkation will begin. And, we have to pack – ugg! We’re enroute to our final destination of My Tho, the closest commercial port to Ho Chi Minh City where we’ll transfer tomorrow. There are lots of pictures of staff and crew taken in the dining room and lounge tonight. Even though they have only been with us for 7 days, many have made a lasting impression with their stories, curiosities, open hearts, friendly smiles and laughter. We’ll miss our newfound Vietnamese and Cambodian friends.