15.04.2009 28 °C
The friendly Vietnamese guy on the bus helped us communicate with the driver where in town we wanted to be dropped off exactly and we ended up in the middle of the very small town right near some cheap hotels. A friendly man brought us to a hotel he knew and within 10 minutes of getting off the bus, we were settled in a room and had purchased tickets for the slow boat to Cambodia, the best part was that the boat tickets were significantly cheaper than we expected! This left us in a great mood and we had the rest of the afternoon for to relax and enjoy the quaint riverside town.
We walked out to a local marketand grabbed a couple glasses of iced coffe, we met a friendly local woman who offered her seat but instead we inited her to join us, she couldn't really speak any English but she had a huge toothless smile and was constantly giving us the "thumbs up". We continued our walk to the river where there is a well maintained park area and a strange fish monument that we couldn't figure out the meaning of. Hawkers immediately started bothering us to take boat tours of the nearby fishing village and a Cham village nearby. We first goofed around with some local kids who wanted to practice their pretty decent English then found a boat guide who seemed friendly and we decided to take the 1 hour tour for only $3 total. The guide's name was Nam and we hopped on his small row boat first to a floating fishing village and then then to a fish farm that was connected to a network of floating houses by creaky wooden planks. We fed the fish and were amazed at how many there were! We continued on enjoying the views of the river life as the sun fell low in the sky. We made our way through the village and finally arrived at the Cham village. We got off the boat and crossed a pretty rickety wooden bridge to the village. There wasn't really much to see here, a few houses built on stilts and of course a shop selling various things. There were a handful of Cham kids who could speak really good English, the girls were trying to sell us some waffles despite the sign above them that warned NOT to buy cakes from the kids because they are really old. The girls tried several tactics to guilt us into buying saying things like " we are poor, you buy we are smiling, you don't buy we cry". They really couldn't pull off the whole line though without a smirk. One boy eventually read the warning sign aloud then simulated eating one of the cakes choking and dying. We goofed off for a bit more and then decided it was time to move on.
We hoped back on the boat and passed some more kids playing in the water, one little girl getting scolded because she was absolutely COVERED in mud. We started back to Chau Doc but on the way back we made an unexpected stop at Nam's house on the river. We were able to meet his wife and adorable little boy, Bi. They gave us fruit and water and we all played with the very entertaining Bi (which was a relief since we really didn't have any way to communicate with eachother). Unfortunately, our camera died when we got to the house and weren['t able to get any pictures but it ended up being a fun game for Bi who thought that if he pushed buttons on our camera it would make the screen turn blue (it was actually me turning the power button on and off) he was screaming with delight wioth this game for at least 20 minutes. We finally headed back to town with Nam and his family as they needed to make a run to the market. We felt quite honored to have been invited to his home so paid him a little more than the $3 he had asked for which he seem extremely grateful for.
It was dark by then and most shops had closed, we found one tiny Vietnamese restaurant that had OK food and then headed to bed since we needed to be ready to go by 6AM the next day