Today we went from Ben Tre to the cute city of Can Tho. On our way there, we visited a beautiful cemetery which was also a memorial ground for the soldiers that died in the many wars Vietnam had to fight in the past. It was a beautiful morning there, and a very peaceful place full of gorgeous flowers.
Unfortunately there were also some roosters there that are used for fighting, kept in very little cages, but other than that it was a very enjoyable experience. As there are so many of these graveyards through Vietnam, it is good to finally visit one.
After that we went on a boat trip on the Mekong river. It took us all around an island, and it was very interesting to see how much influence the sea has on the river. Before lunch the tide was pretty normal, but afterwards the tide was so low that we saw some boats stuck along the way. Our boat had to go very slowly not to get stuck or broken, so that was a bit boring, but it was a truly lovely boat trip on this very interesting river.
What I liked most about the trip was that we stopped at a candy factory. May be factory is not entirely the right word, as it was just a small building where a few people made candies. First we were shown how they make the thin rice sheets that are used for making cold spring rolls. The lady made 600-1000 pieces a day! It was very amazing to see what else they did with rice. They also melted it together with coconut and something else to make this sticky sweet candy that was absolutely delicious. It looked very nice white and green, and there was this very thin piece of rice paper around it that was edible so you wouldn’t get sticky fingers.
The last piece where we stopped was the place where they made the puffed rice, they made sand really hot, poured rice into it and after a few seconds the rice started popping. It was remarkable to see. Then the puffed rice was sieved and put in a pot together with a caramel-like substance to make them all stick together. Then they were put in this rectangular baking shell and flattened, before they stuck them in a bag for selling. We had a piece that was still warm, which was great, but also the pieces with peanuts I bought in the store were very amazing. I could not help but also buy some coconut toffee thingies and other peanut sweets. Lovely. Not good for my new years resolutions, but as I haven’t really bought much, I thought it was okay. There is no chocolate in this country (or not really..) so I do not take in a lot of refined sugar here anyway..
After the boat trip we went to our hotel, which was the West Hotel in Can Tho. We had a beautiful view on the local market, which is pretty loud ! In the evening we went to Sao Hom restaurant. It was not very good, but it was not bad either. Just very turisty, near the water, with prices that are a tad high for Vietnam. What I did like was that there were all these little geckos on the walls and the ceiling, very cosy! Some people don’t like them, but they are harmless. Plus, it appears to bring luck if you see one in a room!
It was a very lovely day with the boat trip and all, but I am a bit sad we did not get to spend a little bit more time in Can Tho as it seemed to be a nice city. After the dinner we did walk to the very huge golden colored Ho Chi Minh statue, which was really impressive. It is fun to see everybody on the streets all the time, children, teenagers, older people, it is very different from The Netherlands. Plus, the big and loud market was all gone by the time we got back to our hotel. Odd how people clean up after themselves so swiftly (and they do this every day apparently !?).
Tomorrow we are going to travel to our last hotel and city of the trip: Ho Chi Minh. Excited!