Sa Dec City and Cu Lao Gieng Island
This lady is collecting Hyacinth stalks. When dried she can sell them for $1.20 a kilo.
They have built some impressive bridges here since the war ended. In 1985 they adopted a market economy so you can see some big modern factories along the river.
We get on a little boat to visit Sa Dec City on the river in the morning.
The city has extensive kilns for baking bricks, floor tiles and roof tiles.The pictures are a little dull, so just imagine. We also visited a rice processing factory.
The market is hectic. Mrs. Phred wonders how they can sell so much food. Motor scooters and people vie for the right of way. Fruit, vegetables, snails, eels, fish, chickens and rice. As far as I can tell rice is about 50 cents a kilo. They seem to have an inflation problem here. The 21,000 dongs to the dollar is a clue. The banks pay 14% on dong deposits, but only 2% on dollars.
I meet Mr. Henderson onboard. He served in the Merchant Marine in WWII at age 15. He was also a marine in Korea when the Americans went north and when they came back south chased by the Chinese. He also served in Vietnam. His wife of 54 years died last ye3ar at this time. I think he came on the trip to not be alone. Daisy sat down next to us. Her husband of 57 years died almost on the same day last year. Kismet.
The boat is full of doctors, lawyers and investment bankers. They all have interesting stories. Eleanor and Cam are from Canada. They lived extensively in Asia and Africa and did microfinance deals for poor farmers. Peter is an Australian vegetarian. He went to school at Berkeley in 1969 when things were total chaos. Now he lives in Hong Kong and works as an investment banker specialising in commodities.
We visit the island of Cu Lao Gieng on the Makong in the afternoon. The villagers are very friendly and curious (especially the children).
They have these strange vehicles to haul the rice out of the paddies.
One of the village rice fields.
These guys are stringing Christmas lights on the village's Catholic church. They work barefoot.
Mrs. Phred cracks up the village kids, teaching them how the eensie wiensie spider went up the waterspout.