We boarded sampans for the morning excursion. A long the way we saw numerous brick factories. The kilns look like large red beehives. The bricks and tiles are all made from the local mud and baked for several weeks. After the baking process the kiln must cool for several weeks before bricks and tiles are removed. The bricks are used locally but the tiles are sold in Europe and asia. The kilns are heated by burning the rice straw. Besides being hard workers the people in this area are resourceful,there is little waste. They seem to use every part of everything.
When the sampan arrived at the town of Sadec, the setting for Margueritte Duras’s novel “THE LOVER”. We visited the home of Huyn Thuy Le the man who inspired the story.
The next stop was the farmers market where the farmers wholesale their goods to the restaurants and local markets. The variety of fruits and vegetables was amazing but nothing compares with the selection of meats. Chickens, ducks, pork, a million kinds of fish, snails, frogs, crabs, snakes and filet of rat were all there to purchase. Today there were no turtles or dogs. Rat filet looks a lot like chicken breast.
We returned to the ship for lunch. The ship moved on to Cai Be towing the two sampans so they were available for the afternoon excursion.
On the sampan ride we saw rat filets drying on the line of one house.
In the afternoon we visited a family candy making business. The made popped rice and Noodles which were covered with a coconut milk combination. The final product was like rice krispy treats. The family also makes coconut candy and fried rice paper, all of which are packaged on site and sold around the country.
The majority of the country is Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu or some combination of the three. A small percentage of the people are practicing Catholics, a throw back to the French colonization. We went. To visit a catholic church, unremarkable architecture but the inside was…..well… Done in neon lights. The altar sports an computerized message banner that posts and a greeting and one can only guess – probably the prayers and hymns roll by during mass. The crucifix is outlined in red neon with a white halo. Outside the Mary grottos are also done in neon but probably are only turned on at night.
On trip home we watched farmers harvest water hyacinth.
One member of our group collects souvenirs in all forms. During dinner she asked Eileen to get a cream pitcher from the waiter station. Eileen followed directions and handed over the cream pitcher. The profanity that ensued was hysterical. The unnamed collector was unaware the pitcher contained cream which spilled on the floor and in her purse as she tried to tuck it away as a souvenir.
Some of us could not stop laughing at the wheel of karma.