Vietnam’s Mekong River (II): A Day in the Life — The Sun Always Rises


I expected the Mekong River jungle to be relatively silent. But it is not. In a humid, green undergrowth, I stride to the sound of distant thunder. A gasoline motor, at first just a low drone, eventually chugs by on some hidden tributary of the larger river, probably carrying locals going about their daily chores, or hauling lumber, or indulging tourists. My view is obscured by the ferns, palms, mangroves, and nature generally. Other interruptions on the path include a motor scooter, then a bicycle, issuing a weak beep to warn pedestrians; our tour group crowds over to the edge of the trail to let the traffic pass.

A rain is coming, as is common here in the Delta — a few hours drive and boat ride south of Ho Chi Minh City. Downpours are brief though, and welcoming residents along the way invite transients like me and our tour bundle onto their porches/patios, usually stocked with coffee, soda, candy and snacks, and even hammocks.

I marvel at the pace of life here along the maze of well-worn trails and also the wealth of flora and fruit leaning in over us, sometimes covering the ground. Sunlight plays with gloom but the effect on the senses is never dull. Water is creeping up alongside the pathway — this is tidal, and repeats itself multiple times during the day.

One more day in Vietnam and then I and my companions depart. We return to Ho Chi Minh City, and then fly further up the Mekong to Cambodia’s comparably vast wet basin (Kampuchea). (A report-blog on Cambodia/Siem Reap will follow in 2019).

I finish off this story about Vietnam mostly with pictures, depicting what is normal here on the southern edge of the South China Sea.

Laundry amongst the flowers