For our last day in Vietnam, we made a short journey to the town of My Tho, on the wide and muddy Mekong Delta. There, we boarded a longtail boat and visited a floating market, got off to see a fruit orchard where we sampled the produce while enjoying a performance of Vietnamese folk music, continued by horse-drawn cart to a honey farm/coconut candy-making operation/snake wine purveyors (yikes!), were handed a python for a photo op (eek!), then were shepherded onto rowboats for a ride down a narrow canal, where our longtail boat was waiting to take us to an island restaurant serving the unique local delicacy, called elephant-ear fish, after which we were given fresh coconut juice and deposited ashore to catch our bus back to Saigon (insert sound effect —big, gasping inhalation— here). At each stop, another group of tourists was just leaving as we arrived, and just arriving as we left. It was all interesting, but sort of like being on a tourist conveyor belt.
Honestly, I’ve had that feeling more than once on this trip. Maybe it’s a wonderful thing that so many people these days have the money, the time, and the desire to see the world, but it means that every notable place is jam-packed with tourists trying to have an “authentic” experience. And maybe it’s a good thing that each set of local attractions has a coordinated program to move everyone around, provide interpretive information, keep everyone adequately supplied with food, beverages, entertainment, and toilet breaks, extract a modest sum of coin for souvenirs, and control the flow so the ponies aren’t overworked, the boats don’t capsize, and no one has a nervous breakdown, but I can’t help feeling like I’m just an exploitable commodity.
I must be in need of a break, which is bad. We have one more country to go on this tour, and it’s going to be a tough one.This entry was posted in Honeymoon 2013