Hi again, we just got back to Ho Chi Minh City from 2 days on the Mekong (with an overnight ‘homestay’ that is really sort of a Vietnamese bed and breakfast). Internet connectivity was unavailable down there and also at our hotel tonight so I’ll try to post more with photos tomorrow when we have a chance (at an internet cafe right now).
The Mekong was a really pleasant surprise and the kids both actually ate the local food (elephant ear fish and spring-rolls we made ourselves at the table) but we have all burnt out on riding the buses to see the sights (about 4.5 hours return today). Also, the weather at the beach (and here in the city as well) calls for rain the next few days so we have decided to punt on the beach which is a big disappointment for Carolyn most of all. Instead we’ll do Saigon/HCMC to death and hit all of the sights around here, sleep in late, and move slowly for the next few days.
A couple of factoids until I can post some pictures; The average salary in HCMC is about $2700/year USD. In Hanoi its about $2200/yr. To buy arable (farm-able) land in the mekong it costs about $300 per square meter so anyone wanting to start a farm these days has to be pretty well off.
Mosquitoes in the delta were almost totally absent ( I think I saw 2 last night). It never ceases to amaze me that southern Ontario where I grew up has more, and more aggressive, mosquitoes than places like the Mekong, Brazil, equatorial africa and anywhere else I have ever been. Then again, until EEE came along the mosquitoes in MA and Ontario didn’t carry any nasty diseases either so that does tend to balance things out quite a lot. From what Alex and the guys who did the helicopter surveying all over the world have said, the worst places of all for these nasty little pests is up near the arctic circle in summer.
Hopefully we’ll be able to post some pics again tomorrow