Incheon Korea – Flight Cancelled

Fried wantons
Bi Bim Bop

Our Flight from Saigon left on time.  We had breakfast/lunch on the flight.

We’ll we’re stuck in Korea. Unfortunately Korean Air never asked us about bags and just checked them through to tomorrows flight. Fortunately Pat had her meds in the carry-on. I can live a day without them.

Korea form the plane.

The whole thprocess was handled very poorly, of course we had to go through immigration and customer and we did not know where we were staying and the immegration officier was very confused about us not have an address in Seoul or elsewhere in the country, I think he finally got it, because he finally gave us a stamp, really a ticket, but there were a number of strange looks.

Then we had to go to the Sky Counter and get hotel and meal vouchers, of course when were got to the counter we got a Trainee, who’s English was excellent but she clearly had not completed this process before. Then we sit a wait for the bus to the Grand Hyatt, once on the bus the driver would not drive above 50 kph, it seem to take forever to get to the hotel which is completely on the other side of the airport. We requested tooth brushes, tooth paste, razor and a comb.

Dinner and breakfast at the hotel with our vouchers mostly because were a long way from the city..

Final note: we have no coats!

It may sound like were bitching but it just the frustration of watching a proces that could have been handled smoother and more professionally, after all they knew the flight was cancelled and could have provided more information.

Vietnam – Street Food & Market tour/last full day

March 1, 2018
We’re off at 0830 for our market and street food tour with Chef Thân. We started our journey to the small permanent market Cho Vuon Chuoi in the 10th quarter. The side streets were lined with vendors and these were refered to as quick markets where people could ride up stop and get what they required for the day without the need to get off their scooter and park. The market was as expected narrow alleys with vendors on both sides selling fruits, vegetables, rice, noodles, and the list was extensive. First stop for a sample was the fresh spring being made by a vendor for the days sales. Rice paper filled with pork, shrimp, lettuce and garlic chives. Along the way we sampled fried bananas and sweet poatoes which were dipped and fried as we waited. I was able to get a great deal of information from the chef about various vegetables and herb and combinations.

A quick stop for an energy drink of tea made with various herb and a sugar cane syrup with gave the drink a taste of a hint of mollassas. Next stop was for breakfast at a woman who made home-made rice cake, similar to too but far more flavorful. She prepared the dish outside her home on a small flatish wok and sauted the rice cake with eggs. It was served with green papaya on top and a chili dipping sause which we added additional chili to. We also had traditional ice coffee with sweetend condensed milk which gave the coffee a chocolate milk like taste.

After the meal Thận ran off and came back with several fruits to small in addition to our cherimoya (custard apple)which resembled an artickoke in appearance. We had small fruits that looked like cherry tomatios but hade a sweet sour taste, lovi-lovi. We also tried Star Apple which has a soft and sticky center and was very flavorful.

Then we were off again this time we stopped for some Vietnamese sweet soup (Che). There are hundreds of variations but this one was made with Longon juice, Lotus root, seaweed, water chestnuts, and longan fruits. Pat and I asked to share, it was very sweet and an experience.

More food, we stopped to watch a woman making steamed rice paper and filling with meat, amd chopped mushrooms and we sampled a plate served with a sauce and lettuce and mung bean sprouts.

Next stop charcol roasted bananas, the bananas are peeled and partically dried in the sun the sopped in salt water and roasted over charcoal. It makes the exterior a bit leathery and the inside soft and creamy.

Wok roastered Peanuts with salt and ask, simply tastes like a reasted peanut. The peatuts are mixed with salt and charcoal ask which acts like and oven so they can be cooked in the wok.

Off to view the flower market Ho Thi Ky

Next stop lunch at Quán Ǎn: Cȏ Liêng, a tiny restaurant frequented by the locals. They served roast pork, minced roasted pork and roasted pork in bettlenut leaves. You use rice paper and lots of lettuce and herbs and dip in a banana flavored sauce. Outstanding! Tham concluded our tour and back to the hotel.

Pool time! We laid around the pool and went in several times to cool off for a few hours to decompress!

Tonight were on the hunt for pizza, and then off to bed.

We went to Nano Italian for dinner of focaccia, fruit mist, pizza with chorizo and a couple glasses of beer; I think you can tell were looking forward to some good western style food.

Wake up time is 0430 tomorrow.

Vietnam – Cooking Class & more

February 28, 2018
Today was our cooking class at Hoa Duc Restaurant. They have a complete kitchen on the 2nd fllor dedicated to the school. We had a young Vietnamese female chef named Tûn. She was young and very sweet. Because we created our own tour with the cooking class and the street market tour we had a private lesson, and while I have taken many of these type class the fact that our was private really benefited Pat who did and excellent job. The items we preparded were:

Saigon Spring Rolls
Lotus Stem Salad with prawns and pork.

We had decided to have a light breakfast of fruit and coffee, of course is had to have a croissant, very close to the good french croissants. Its a good thing we did because the tree courses, although light, were very filling. We learned the in Vietnam the Vietnamese eat their fried spring rolls wraped in lettuce along with Shiso leaves, basil, and lemon mint yo increase their vegetable intake. This was an excellent idea and we will be adopting when we return home.

BBQ Pork for the Rice noodles with BBQ pork and raw vegetables

The lotus stem salad was a first for the both of us. In all my trip the the Asia market in Richmond I have not used lotus stem and I am hoping that they have them. The salad like so many others we have had on the trip were tasty, light and refreshing, but filling.

Next up was Fresh Rice Noodles with marinated BBQ pork and raw vegetables. We marinated the pork in fish sauce and honey with a pinch of black pepper. Then we prepared the sauce and the lettuce and herbs, along with sesame seeds.

We placed the marinated pork on a grill basket a BBQ and grilled over a charcoal fire in the kitchen.

For dessert passion fruit mousse, which we did not make and the chef was quick to point out it was not Vietnamese.

Note: Pat was a trouper and used chop stick upto the last course and then they brought her a fork, and she did not ask for it.

Through the whole 4 hours were serves a light a refreshing ginger tea.

After the class we when for a walk down to the river, now that we have gotten our bearings were finding that we a very convenient to almost everything. We were on the pedestrian mall and heard music and walked towards the water and observed a group of performers practicing for a upcoming show, we do not kwnow when.

We’re theinking about going to Chuck’s Burger tonight because we had such a big lunch and as American’s after 3-weeks we alway crave a burger and Chuck’s is surposed to be the best in Saigon.

Vietnam – Saigon

February 27, 2018


Jade Emperor Pagoda

Built in 1909 in honour of the supreme Taoist god (the Jade Emperor or King of Heaven, Ngoc Hoang), this is one of the most spectacularly atmospheric temples in Ho Chi Minh City, stuffed with statues of phantasmal divinities and grotesque heroes. The pungent smoke of incense (huong) fills the air, obscuring the exquisite woodcarvings. Its roof is encrusted with elaborate tile work, and the temple’s statues, depicting characters from both Buddhist and Taoist lore, are made from reinforced papier mâché.

Inside the main building are two especially fierce and menacing Taoist figures. On the right (as you face the altar) is a 4m-high statue of the general who defeated the Green Dragon (depicted underfoot). On the left is the general who defeated the White Tiger, which is also being stepped on.

Worshippers mass before the ineffable Jade Emperor, who presides – draped in luxurious robes and shrouded in a dense fug of incense smoke – over the main sanctuary. He is flanked by his guardians, the Four Big Diamonds (Tu Dai Kim Cuong), so named because they are said to be as hard as diamonds.

Out the door on the left-hand side of the Jade Emperor’s chamber is another room. The semi-enclosed area to the right (as you enter) is presided over by Thanh Hoang, the Chief of Hell; to the left is his red horse. Other figures here represent the gods who dispense punishments for evil acts and rewards for good deeds. The room also contains the famous Hall of the Ten Hells, carved wooden panels illustrating the varied torments awaiting evil people in each of the Ten Regions of Hell. Women queue up at the seated effigy of the City God, who wears a hat inscribed with Chinese characters that announce ‘At one glance, money is given’. In a mesmerising ritual, worshippers first put money into a box, then rub a piece of red paper against his hand before circling it around a candle flame.

On the other side of the wall is a fascinating little room in which the ceramic figures of 12 women, overrun with children and wearing colourful clothes, sit in two rows of six. Each of the women exemplifies a human characteristic, either good or bad (as in the case of the woman drinking alcohol from a jug). Each figure represents a year in the 12-year Chinese astrological calendar. Presiding over the room is Kim Hoa Thanh Mau, the Chief of All Women. Upstairs is a hall to Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy, opposite a portrait of Dat Ma, the bearded Indian founder of Zen Buddhism.

Fine Arts Museum Ho Chi Minh City

Being one of the largest fine arts centers of Vietnam, Fine Arts Museum is conveniently located near the Ben Thanh Market, at 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The building that houses the museum was originally a mansion of a Chinese during colonial time and after – Mr. Hoa, the wealthiest man of Saigon at the time, who also owned other famous buildings in the city such as Majestic Hotel and Tu Du Hospital.

This yellow-white grand colonial-era mansion is a combination of French and Chinese styles which brings about a typical colonial feeling through its marble floors throughout and the spacious, airy rooms. It’s no wonder that the building is considered as a masterpiece itself by most people. As Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City and the country reunited, the building was reformed into a museum in 1987 as the result of a decision of the City’s People’s Committee, though it was not officially opened until 1991.

The Fine Arts Museum is indispensable for those who are keen on Vietnam arts and culture. Although the museum itself is not big and modern enough, its abundant collections can make up for these mistakes. The museum focuses on collecting, keeping, preserving and displaying fine artworks typical of Vietnamese people, especially Ho Chi Minh City and the South. It comprises three floors of exhibition space.

The 1st floor is for domestic and international arts display. The 2nd floor is where to store arts work – both paintings and sculptures of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese artists. Some leading Vietnamese artists of the last 50 years whose paintings are displayed there include: Trinh Cung, Do Quang Em, Diep Minh Chau and Nguyen Gia Tri.

The 3rd floor holds a collection of historic arts ranging from 7th century to early 20th century, featuring Champa and earlier civilizations such as Oc Eo archaeological site in Mekong Delta. The contemporary Blue Space Contemporary Art Centre, located near the entrance, is run by the museum. There’s a warren of galleries in the basement, accessed through the courtyard in the center of the building.

While the guides point out that not much is in english, at least the titles of the painting are in english. While thw collection is small and often dark in nature the pieces do show talent by the artists. Like make other places the tilt is towards communism and tends to make the French, Japan and the US the bad guys. Ir still woth the 30,000 dong or $1.32 US.

museum throug the streets of Siago, andWe walked back from the art we stopped by the cooking school to verify the schedule for tommrow and confirm our “street maket and food tour” which will be given by by Ms. Tham.

We also made reservations at Hoa Tuc Restaurant for dinner at 1900. The menu looks great and its one one the best in the neighborhood. The restaurant specializes in regional cuisine of Central Vietnam. Some of the best seafood dishes in the area are to be enjoyed in a traditional setting with traditional music.

Pat’s still feeling a bit down from the common cold that I past her way compliments of some Britiah tourist next to me on the plane from Hanoi to Siem Reap.

Dinner was excellent. We had Saigon spring roll which we wrapped in lettuce leaves with mint and other herbs. We order two kinds of shrimp, both lightly battered and sautéd. The food wa light so we have room for dessert chocolate ice cream for Pat and grilled bananas with vanilla ice cream.

We met two men at the table next to us from the international mission board, headquartered in Richmond; small world! Sam James worked bor the board for 54 years, they were here in Saigon for a conference.

Ben Thanh Market

Vietnam – Cu Chi Tunnels

February 26, 2018

We’re headed to the Cu Chi Tunnels.

The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi District of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort.

The 75-mile (121 km)-long complex of tunnels at Củ Chi has been preserved by the government of Vietnam,[3] and turned into a war memorial park with two different tunnel display sites, Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc. The tunnels are a popular tourist attraction, you can crawl around in the safer parts of the tunnel system. The Ben Duoc site contains part of the original tunnel system, while the Ben Dinh site, closer to Saigon, has tunnel reconstructions and some tunnels have been made larger to accommodate tourists. In both sites low-power lights have been installed in the tunnels to make traveling through them easier, and both sites have displays of the different types of booby traps that were used. Underground conference rooms where campaigns such as the Tết Offensive were planned in 1968 have been restored.

Where is was stationed early in my last stay in country.

October 1967 – Bearcat Base (also known as Bearcat, Camp Martin, Camp Cox or Long Thanh North) is a former U.S. Army base near the city of Biên Hòa in Đồng Nai Province in southern Vietnam.Bearcat was originally a French airfield, later used by the Japanese during World War II. Early in the Vietnam War, the 1st Special Forces established a base there. It was later the base camp for the 9th Infantry Division from January 1967 until the division moved to Đồng Tâm Base Camp near Mỹ Tho in late 1967. The camp was located on Route 15, 16 km southwest of Biên Hòa. The camp took its name from its Special Forces radio call sign.


December 1967 – Đồng Tâm Base Camp was established on the banks of the Mekong 7 km west of Mỹ Tho. Due to lack of available dry land, the base was created by dredging from the river. Dredging work to create the base commenced in August 1966 and involved the reclamation of 600 acres of swampland. The Vietcong attempted to sabotage the base construction sinking the dredgeship Jamaica Bay on 9 January 1967 with the loss of 3 crewmembers.  In January 1967 the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantrywas deployed to Đồng Tâm to provide base and construction security followed in March by Headquarters, 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division which moved from Bearcat Base. In April the US Navy River Assault Squadron 9 was deployed to Đồng Tâm to support operations. On 1 June 1967, the Mobile Riverine Force (MRF) comprising the 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division and the US Navy River Assault Squadrons 9 and 11 was established at Đồng Tâm. By this time the base occupied 12 square kilometres and included a 500m runway and a loading basin for boats. The name Đồng Tâm meaning “united hearts and minds” or “singleness of mind, in thoughts, and actions” was chosen by the U.S. Commander General William Westmoreland. From June–December 1967 base facilities grew providing improved support and rest and recreation for the MRF. The Vietcong regularly harassed the base with mortar fire.


AO Show

Tonigh we will attend the AO Show at the Siagon Opera House.

Lune Production was established in Saigon, Vietnam, in 2012, under Square Group Investment Holding.

With the vision to be come an excellent entertainment corporation that inspires Vietnamese cultural values to the world, Lune Production focuses on researching, developing, creating, and promoting quality Vietnamese cultural entertainment products. The company has had the honor to work with many internationally renowned artists, known for their talents and integrity. Back to Vietnam with background from established organizations such as Cirque du Soleil, they come together at Lune Production, sharing the passion and dreams of upholding Vietnamese cultural heritage through performances and other forms of arts.

Under Lune Production, Lang Pho Joint Stock Company was founded back in 2012 to specialize in managing and developing Lune Production’s assets.

Ever since, Lune Production’s four key spectacles, naming A O Show, Lang Toi – My Village, Teh Dar and The Mist, have inspired and received much love and critical acclaim from both local and international audience while performing at the Saigon Opera House, Hanoi Opera House, Vietnam Tuong Theater, as well as during the world tour of Lang Toi and A O Show throughout the past few years.

With steady business growth, Lune Production expanded its network to Hanoi, tapping on a market with great potential for cultural products of high quality. The result is Lang Toi – My Village settling in at two of the most notable theaters in Hanoi: Hanoi Opera House and Vietnam Tuong Theater. Performing at these two historic and culturally rich theaters, Lang Toi has grown to become the No. 1 performance in Hanoi on Trip Advisor, getting much love and critical acclaim from both local and international audience visiting the city.

Beside expanding in business scale, Lune Production constantly keeps the commitment on research, creativity and quality of service. This promises an exciting future with more inspiring cultural entertainment products to come.

Vietnam – Headed to Saigon

February 25, 2018

Luggage out at 0700, breakfast at 0630 and departed ship at 0800 for the 1-1/2 hour bus ride to Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City as it is called now. When we arrived we stayed on the bus for a city tour. Of course the hotels rooms will not be ready so they are filling the time. We will visit Notra Dame amd the old post office both built in the late 19th century.

After enteing Siagon we when to the Reunification Palace, the past home of the President of South Vietnam until Siagon fell in 1975. We toured the place seeing hte conference room, meeting rooms, bed chambers, and even the kitchen. In the basement was all of the communications equipment, switchboard, teletypes, including a model 28s, 35 and 33.

We stopped at the old Post Office across the street from Nore Dame.

We went into the Post Office which is still and operating PO but also the building has souvenir shops, post card shops, etc. Post Office had been designed by Gustav Eiffel.

We then when to Minh Phoung Hand Workshop where they make Lacquered art items. The process uses duck egg shells, and mother of pearl for inlay and in addition hand painting.

The use the tar from the lacquer tree and apply two coats of lacquer after the inset of mother of pearl or egg shell and then it is sanded with 17 different
grits of paper to achive the shine.

Following the workshop we walked through the Ben Thanh Market
and were shown the fixed price portion which is run by the government and the negotiable part of the market where capitalists are willing to bargin to sell their products. Of course the market also includes fruit, nuts, meat, fish flowers and other items that are editable.

The Ben Thanh Market was built in 1870 by the French, the market was initially called Les Halles Centrales before being renamed Ben Thanh in 1912. From a wet market created by street vendors by the early 17th century, Ben Thanh has experienced many ups and downs throughout it’s history, and is now the oldest surviving market and one of symbols of Ho Chi Minh city. That makes it a must for any visitors travelling to this 300-year-old city.

Today, because the market possesses one of the most crucial locations in District 1 (the intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao Avenues and Le Lai Street), transportation is extremely convenient and trade is bustling. In the morning, you can find almost everything from dry food to clothes for a reasonable price. The market atmosphere can sometime be a real hustle and bustle, but it is an exciting experience after all. However, always remember that bargaining is a must in any Vietnamese market.


We then checked into the Park Hyatt Hotel adjacent to the Opera House.

Park Hyatt Saigon, one of the leading accommodation in Saigon District 1; with 245 rooms including 23 suites, which recently underwent a complete renovation of décor, facilities and furnishings. Today, the upgraded French-colonial style rooms combine elegant, traditional comfort with the latest technology, including in-room mini iPads, Nespresso machines and sensor lighting systems. For those of you who welcome additional space, the suites at Park Hyatt Saigon all feature a separate living room, as well as a curated collection of oil paintings, antiques, lacquerware and handcrafted embroidery by established Vietnamese artists. Discover spaces that meet your unique preferences during your time in Ho Chi Minh City at Park Hyatt Saigon.

We have a free afternoon others have elected to go to a cooking class, which was not an option when we booked, this is the reason we are staying and extra 2-days for our own cooking class and market tour by the chef, which will be more comprehensive.

Tonight we dine abroad the Saigon Princess on the Saigon River.

Vietnam – Vinh Long and Cai Be

February 24, 2018

The roughly oblong-shape province of Vinh Long sits along the Delta island, with the Tien Giang (Mekong) river running along its northern boarded and the Hau Giang (Bassac)river running to its south. Lush and heavily cultivated with both rice and fruit orchards, the province is criss-crossed with canals and tributaries all flowing into the teeming rivers that form its boarders.

We left the boat at 0830 for a rice factory where pop rice, rice paper and other rice products are made.

We then proceed to visit a pogoda where Vietnamees Monk and Nuns live. The Vietnamce Buddist sect is vegetarian only. Included in this pagoda is a nursing home where elerly people with no family live. While their live is regimented beginning at 0545 and ending at 2130, they arriver to live comfortably by Vietnamesse standards getting three meals of rice and vegetables and even sticky rice dessert. They can watch TV in the evening from about 1600-2130.

Were now back aboard the boat for lunch.

Vietnamese food is distinct and unforgettable. The cuisine relies on a balance of salt, sweet, sour and hot. achived through the use of nuoc mam, a fermented fish sauce, cane sugar the juice of kalamanssi citrus fruit to tamarind and chili peppers.

Cai Be

As we entered the canal at Cai Be we passed floating market, although few in number, since they construct a bridge across the canel ,we still observed boats selling daikon, bananas and sweet potatoes. They display what they are selling attceched to a long bamboo pole, advertising Vietnamese style.

We the got off the boat for a row boat ride, Pat went and I stayed on the sanpan because the sitting position was too low. Good move we skirted the island with an excellent breeze,while Pat and the others sweated being below the tall grasses and trees.

They joined back up with us at the water hyacinth is dried and made into baskets and other items. We then proceed to walk around the island, about a kilometer. First stop was to watch a grand mother making roof panels from coconut leaves

It  take about 100 panels for the average roof, the panels sell for about 25-cents US, the roof lasts about two years. Next we stopped at another rice paper producing venture this one was slightly different than the first. They poured the rice batter into a can with holes and then swirled around a small 12-inch wok. The finished product looked like fine lace.

Fresh coconut aboard the sanpan and a short ride to joing the cruise ship the mekong Navigator.

This is our last night on board, we paid our bill and got our passport back and tomorrow we depart for Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) via by bus, about a 2-hour drive depending on traffic.

Vietnam – Gieng Island

February 23, 2018

Catholic Church on Gieng Island

We left the ship at 0840 for the 15 minute sanpan ride to the island, the island is 50 square miles and a population od 50,000 people. We boarded a 6 person tim-tuk and drove to one of the 3 Cathloic churches on the island. As was past local sops and houses it was appearant that thia is a successful island. We toured the church and had a brief Q&A by the Franciscan priest, dressed in street clothes. He is also a physician specialing in leprosey and shin disorders and has been on the island for 40 years. We say our good bye with his blessing and continured by tsk-tuk to a manago orchard to see how the people grow and harves mangos. The mangos that are of high quality are pagged during the growing season to keep them near perfect foe export at a very high price with Japan paying the highest. They are also exported to the US, Canada and Australia.

Our next stop was the Sanpan cottage village where a family have been making sanpans for three generation. The sampan are madefrom Golden oaks which grow on the islan and ate 40-50 foot all buy slender. When on is cut more are planted. The grandfather was dilligently work on bending a lenght of oaks heating over fire for the fibers to be flexible enought to bend with out breaking.

They produce about 15 boats a month, depending on size and sell for about $350 US for a 20 foot boat. They build larger boats for special order and the sanpan we arrived on was built but them and it was about 35 feet in lenget and held 20 people.

Time for lunch but another excursion this afternoon.

Huyhn Thuy Le house

After lunch we were again met by our sampan and boarded from the lower level of the ship. We were wisked off to Sa Dec for a tour of a Chineese villa from the early 1900’s oven by a rich patron
Huyhn Thuy Le, who met and fell in love with a young french girl being educated in Saigon, she was 15-1/2 however claimed to be 17 and he was 32. This is the basis of the French novel L’Amant (the lover) written by Marguerite Duras whch in 1992 was made into a movie “The Lover”.

Chicken Eggs 97 cents per dozen.
The ricefield rat is a medium-sized rat with a grizzed yellow-brown and black pelage. Its belly is gray in the midline with whiter flanks. The tail is uniformly medium brown. They have chisel-like incisor. The ricefield rat is between 304–400 mm long with a tail length of 140–200 mm and a skull length of 37–41 mm. The average weight of Rattus argentiventer is around 97 to 219 g. Female have 12 mammae. Young have an orange-colored tuft in front of each ear.

We then walked through a typical Vietnamese Green Market observing local produce and some meats including beef, chicken, sea food of all types and the infamouse ricefield mouse (rat), which they BBQ. In Vietnam if it has 4-legs or more, moves or swims; they eat it!

Were now back aboard the Mekong Navigator steaming to our next adventure for tomorrow.

Back in Vietnam – Tan Chau

February 22, 2018

This morning we have to clear customers and immigration, at least the boat does I don’t think we paericipate the Pursur has had our passport since boarding.

We enjoy a leisurely morning on board and have nothing scheduled until after lunch.

Hui Nguyen, Our guide for the final leg in Vietnam

We also meet our new Vietnamese guide for the remainder of the voyage. Were looking forward to hearing his talks on the area and the people.

At 1430 we depart via sampan for Tan Chau. We have been anchored here all night off the cost, in the Mecong River. We took a ride in a XE LOI traditional Rickshaw using person power via bicycle and go for a visit to the local rattan factory that produces baskets and mats. Most Vietnamese now sleep on mattresses so it will be interesting to hear about changing markets, probably beach mats in Europe, Asia ans the US.

We took a sanpan to Evergreen Island disembark for an Authentic, cultural interaction and stroll around the island and dive into the daily life of it’s inhabitants. On the island they frow daikon, chilis, sweet potatoes, peanuts, mangos bananas, and corn for animal feed. They also have cattle for working the fields, chickens and ducks for food.

We met a Grandpa San who’s name was “five” because his parents had so many children she could not keep track of thier names. He was a soldier in the ARV army during the war and was wounded in 1973 and returned to his village. After the war he was sent to a Communist reeducation camp for a year but he must have been on good behavior or a good actor becuse he was released in 6 months. I do not think he spoke English but was very interesed in his fellow veterans in the group. I’m sure there was a story there that would have been interesting to explore more.

We visited a Talipia Farm where the family operations make an after expenses income of $30,000 which is a excellent income. They produce two crops of fisk per year, it takes 5 months and grow about 350,000 fish per crop.

Cambodia – Choung Ek

February 21, 2018

Today ay 1200 we loose our Cambodian guide SoKun who has been so helpful and such a nice man. We tipped him well.

This morning we departed the Mekong Navigator at 0830 for the “Killing Fields” Choung Ek memorial Stupta. Its hard to imaging the brutality that unfolder here when wandering through the peaceful, shady former longaorchard. The killing fields of Choung Ek was the scene of one of the most disturbing act of violence in contemporary history. The memorial stupa brings it home, displaying more than 8,000 skullaand their ragged clothes. In 1988 the memorial stupa was erected, and the museum in the corner of the grounds offers detailed background information on the Khmer rouge leaders, as well as victims. Of the 120 communal graves at Choung Ek, 49 49 have been left intact

Next stop Tuol Sleng Genocide museum or S-21. Originally a school built by the French Tuol Sleng was turned into the Khmer Rouge’s largest detention and torture headquarters. More than 17,000 men, women and children mmoved through S-21 on there way to the Choung Ek killing fields. The prison has been converted into a museum with thousands of photographs of the Khmer Rough victums, as well as diaries amd poems. It sadening to learn that out of the thousdand that lived here only 7 survived.

We departed Phnom Penh dock at 1430 and are headed down the Mekong River to Vietnam.

Were enjoying some down time as we cruise the river, we have been very busy and the weather hot!