March 28, 2012

Traditional Homestay on the Mekong Delta

Santa Barbara students in Vietnam

Days 4 & 5

The home stay for us was a really great experience!

We arrived at our home stay late at night to a wonderful dinner and buzzing mosquitos complemented by mosquito nets for the beds. The night we spent there was a fantastic bonding experience, but we woke up with throbbing bites. After we ate breakfast, we had the opportunity to learn how people in the countryside did their laundry. It was a interesting experience that strangely was enjoyed by all.

After learning to do laundry, our day's adventure started out at a local market, where we we saw the exotic dishes and treats that the native Vietnamese prepare for sale (and for us tourists). Following our culinary lesson, our awesome tour guide, Mr. Hau, set up a game for us which involved using 150,000 dong (roughly $7.50) to bargain our ingredients for dinner. Communicating with the locals wasn't easy and after several very expensive turnips the winning team (as well as the losing) received delicious mangos.

After the market, we took four person canoes through the canals of the Mekong delta. The scenery of the surrounding landscape was incredible. The lunch we had after the boat ride was both exotic and traditional, as well as filling. Thankfully we burned it off with a six mile bike ride. The bike ride was such a great, fantastic experience; it was almost everyone's favorite. The ride wound through backstreets and over lots of narrow bridges with no handrails; this made everyone nervous, especially Justin who's bike riding experience was limited to that day. But after some wrong twists and turns, and scenic routes, we all made it back home safely.

Our reward  for returning safe and sound consisted of cooking the first course of dinner, traditional Vietnamese flour pancakes. They were delicious, as was the rest of the dinner that followed. With bulging bellies we all played Mr. Hau's signature games, a twist on pin the tale on the donkey that involved smashing ceramic pots, and then a two person potato sack race. Losers were faced with face painting from the grimy under side of a cooking pan.

We all miss you and love our friends and family back at home and thank you for this wonderful experience! 

Saavan and Naomi wish there mothers a happy birthday!

More to come soon!

Mica and Gabija

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