26 december My Tho (VIETNAM)

What a wonderful day! We started by visiting a Buddhist temple… suddenly many monks entered followed by many disciples… A bit embarassed, we assisted at their religious function, made by continuous bows, reciting moanful prayers and scented or “poisoned” (according to the different point of views) by the unfalling incense! Meanwhile the slippers (of a lady of our group) that we left at the entry of the Temple, “disappeared”. And just thanks to this "unforeseen" event we got the opportunity to have a wonderful experience in the popular market in My Tho to buy a pair of slippers for the lady.

 

In that small market, all these admired people who looked at us, some of them, less shy, smiled at us, some other, simply stared at us from a far distance and very respectfully as they had never seen such "weird people…” All the small stall tried to help the lady, who climbed to take a pair of clog, who handed some slippers… incredible! Everything cost maximum $1!

 

We kept on the visit till Thoi Son Island crossing, with a boat, the mythic Mekong. This river originates in Tibet, crosses: China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand… a huge river… about 8 km wide…

 

We board on a small canoe that takes us through creeks and small canals…


Very impressive! Sometimes some small scorpio appeared to look at us… while our canoe lightly glided in that Equatorial paradise…

Every single word is inadequate to describe these moments…The lady paddled quietly, the silence around us, completely swallowed by that huge green coppice…

 

Vietnamese girls are so afraid to tan… they try to keep their skin as more white as they can, that's why you see them dressing, even at 30° in the most ridiculous and unthinkable way… Always on their motorbikes, with their coloured little mask that covers their face from the nose till the chin (I had thought it was a protection from the smog!); the weirdest thing is the gloves... so long, till the armpit… they do not leave any small space uncovered… "how can they protect their feet if they always use slippers?"   No problem… there are some socks for the maximum protection, in the end there is the cap! Considering that the helm is not obligatory, everybody use hats, that's why you see people selling towers of hats everywhere, and all NIKE: fakes!

 

While I am writing on the bus which is taking us to our hotel, these motorbikes overtake us everywhere, it's very hard to see another vehicle overtaking in the right way (bus and lorries as well)… they just horn very noisily to make the driver in front notice their presence and then they keep on their path… and if you ask your driver the reason for their dangerous manoeuvres, he, in a very quiet way, answers you: “Maybe that driver has been already fined!”

 

Returned to the quiet life of Saigon, we soon leave for an uncontrolled shoppingspree… Four whole hours through thousands stalls, small stores and among thousands chaffers, so mush so that later I found myself in my hotel with so many things that I couldn't shut my suitcase anymore…

 

 

27 december Phan Thiet (VIETNAM)

Today 27 December I lay down on a Vietnamese beach after an exciting bath in the Southern Chinese Sea.

By the way, I heard the news, yesterday a violent earthquake (TSUNAMI) hit Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia causing nearly 11.000 casualties and of the 5.000 Italian, some of them are still missing! In Malpensa airport we did the check in close to a group of guys and girls that were leaving to Colombo and Male… I still remember their faces!
It happened so close to us… I'm still shivering after watching the images on the TV.

After dinner we had a walk in this desolated town! We ran into a popular feast… They are so less used to the tourist presence here that wherever we go they smile and greet us!

28 december Phan Thiet (VIETNAM)

This morning I had a stroll with my aunt and Claudia to a wonderful fishermen village… They were working hard, some of them were folding the gaunt nettings, others were coming back from the fishing on weird boat which seemed like a huge coconut… A child and a lady were digging in the sand searching clams… Whatever!

Meanwhile the international television news update us about the tragedy of our neighbours, so far they have counted 27.000 casualties and in the course of the time the balance increases…

 

 

 

29 december Phan Thiet (VIETNAM)

We spent the afternoon on some funny “rickshaw”! Very amusing! We have visited another Pagoda with all its Gods… Sometimes I think that religion is weird! You believe in this or that God just because your parents do it… I mean: I'm Catholic, even if not very practicing, (too bad!)…and what about if I was born in Saudi Arab? What would I have been? Catholic or Muslim? And what about in India? Still Catholic or Buddhist or Induist? I am still confused!

Next step: the popular market… In my opinion it was the first time for some tourists over there to be welcomed! All the people looked at us, they touched us as we were some Martians, I stopped at a stall to a buy a hat, suddenly a mob of people stopped too to look at us, three or four served me, all the others watched the scene…
In the food area… they were selling meat leaving it on wood bench… sometimes some rat crossed our way…

Once in the hotel, a relaxing sauna charged us for the evening…

At this point I decide to go out and see this place by night, I call a taxi and here we are downtown! “Tonight you will follow me!"
We stop at the “Truc Link Cafè”, a popular bar, we drink something and the usual scene, everybody look at us, when Annina (a nice and funny 58ers, from Milan) pours some water in the coffee by mistake, a whole group of guys from another table stand up to show her how she should have done…

But me, ice creams lover, I couldn't go away from there without tasting a Vietnamese one! That's why we stop at “Pinky Bar”, we are soon served by four or five waitresses, at a certain point the owner come to us too!

I visit Phan Thiet by night!

Among those dirty lanes where sometimes a rat crossed your way… what feelings… I felt one of them…

 

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