Friday, 16 February 2018

Vietnam, day 12: Didn’t Think I Could Barter, But I Can Tho

Ben Tre, Vietnam
25 May, 2017
Having just experienced such an eventful day, we awoke on the 25th and decided to go a more restful route.
We lazed about at the hotel, and once we were feeling up to it, took a walk into town. Along the way an incense-making operation was spotted, and no suspicious individuals trailed us. Having followed the advice of Ken, the hotel owner, we made a beeline for a cluster of ATMs along the main road. I found the ATM that Ken had advised us to use (the one that would allow you to take out the most dong), even with Yannick trying to convince me otherwise due to his gut instinct to "go to the shiny one". However, the ATM wasn't cooperating. It informed us that the maximum withdrawal was 3.5million dong, so we entered that amount. But it popped up with a message stating that we should enter an amount less than the maximum, before restarting to the greeting screen. The next time we tried 3 million, but again it didn't like that one bit. Exasperated by the heat (we were both literally dripping with sweat) and by the frustrating machine, we gave up and pressed the 2 million dong preset button and it finally worked!

Back at the hotel, we took our time packing up and then caught a taxi to the bus station for our journey to Can Tho (we wanted to make the most of our expedition into the Mekong Delta and had heard grand tales of the floating markets there). Before departure, some ladies came aboard selling snacks, and some funky fish was loaded into the cargo bay. Funky to the max. During the bus ride, a dude a couple of seats ahead of me was picking his nose. Like...the whole time. For hours. There can't have been anything left after a few minutes, so I think it must have been some sort of subconscious nervous behaviour. I couldn't look away. Like...the whole time. It was disgustingly fascinating.
Upon arrival in Can Tho, we approached some taxi drivers who tried to charge us 100,000 dong for a ride to our hotel. Impressively, Yannick used his bargaining skills to cut the cost in half! I didn't think his tactics could be so effective, but I was proven wrong in the best way.

While checking in to our hotel, we were informed that we had been upgraded to the VIP 2* room! (We never did find out that the asterisk was for.) I'm not sure what our original room would have been like, but the VIP 2* room was very spacious and boasted many windows.

Darkness fell, and we returned to the reception desk to arrange a tour for the next morning. Though we could have headed down to the river ourselves and found a boat, our Vietnamese wasn't exactly up to scratch and we decided that a tour with an English-speaking guide would be the best option.

Dinner was a simple affair at a restaurant a little away from the waterfront (where there were far too flashy restaurants that sold mainly seafood). At the top of the photo you can see a small shrine on a loft-like level of the restaurant, and beyond that was the family's living quarters. We traipsed back to our hotel without seeing much else of Can Tho, as we had a 5am start the next morning!

Today's post was almost called: The Infinite Nostril