Can Tho is the biggest city in the Mekong delta with a bustling 1,2 million inhabitants. It is hot and humid as hell down here which is part of the reason I’m spending the afternoon not sightseeing, but seeking refugee in the shadow on our hotel rooftop terrace, enjoying the occasional breeze.
Today’s sightseeing is already well over as we started out at 6am, meeting our guide Mr. Tom (I am not at all spelling that right, but that was how it sounded) by the river.
We found Mr. Tom because he is a friend of Benoit, who is a friend of the parents of the two girls I used to babysit when I was younger – I love how stuff like this happens, when you travel.
Anyways, as you might know, The Mekong delta in southern Vietnam is especially known for it’s colourful floating markets, the biggest one being Cai Rang 6 km SW along the river from Can Tho – so that’s what we went out to see.
We made one stop at a local noodle factory, where we got to see the whole process of noodlemaking, from the crushing of the rice to the finished 5 kg packages sold on the floating market. The round rice “pancakes” on the picture below are steemed for 1-2 min. then left in the sun to dry for 3 hours. After that they are sliced into perfect, long noodles on the cutting machine
Apart from being a really nice and funny guy, who always made us smile, Mr. Tom also only spoke maybe 3-4 English phrases. He had, however, a special talent. When we met him on the boat I was greeted with a large “flower bouquet” made entirely out of “water coco” leaves.
He won my heart right there and then but nonetheless continued to make every imaginable artwork out of these leaves, all while steering the boat and telling us about the landscape. The fact that he consequently referred to me as “Madam” didn’t hurt either.
Seriously, how could you not love this guy?