February 23, 2018
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.
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”.
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.