Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Sights and Sounds of Saigon; A Bike Tour or Wandering the Streets of the City Are Two Great Ways to See the Region

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Sights and Sounds of Saigon; A Bike Tour or Wandering the Streets of the City Are Two Great Ways to See the Region

Article excerpt

Byline: Damian Bathersby

THE old woman looked up from her place on the front step of her isolated cottage, gave a toothless smile and waved.

Then, almost as if dismissing our interruption as being of little importance to her world, she returned to sorting the pile of herbs at her feet.

As we rode on through a seemingly endless maze of irrigation canals and rice paddies in the middle of nowhere, I wondered if we would be the only people she would see all day.

Life is lived at a different pace in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.

There is no need to rush and the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City is a world and two hours drive away.

The perfect way to visit the delta is on a bicycle tour that brings you face to face with the locals and allows plenty of time to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of this amazing rural region.

Anyone with even a passing interest in world history will be familiar with the Mekong Delta as one of the key battlegrounds of the Vietnam War.

The fact soldiers have been replaced by tourists on bicycles speaks volumes about the locals' transition to peace-time over the past 40 years.

It would take a wiser man than me to ponder the impacts of the war on the psyche of locals but today there is something deeply peaceful about the area and its inhabitants.

There is something quite surreal about spending an entire day up close and personal with the locals and not seeing another white person the entire time.

Apart from the farmers we meet on their rice paddies and coffee plantations, and the woman who served us lunch on the front veranda of her home, we are virtually ignored by the locals as we ride almost 30km through villages and markets and across farms and rice paddies.

There are crops to be tended, endless piles of produce to be moved on bicycles and handcarts, stock to be tended and lives to be lived.

Even as we ride through a busy produce market, following our guide on a winding course that threatens to take us through stalls, rather than past them - few locals acknowledge our presence.

Those who do, give the briefest of waves and the occasional half smile, but little else. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.