Cruising the Mekong

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It’s a busy water way

We left Phnom Penh and sailed down the Mekong toward Vietnam. There would be no excursions today although guests could join the chef for a cooking class in making fresh Vietnamese spring rolls or attend a lesson in fruit-carving. I think some of these activities were more for the benefit of passengers who joined as at Siem Reap because our group had already done some of these things at Ha Long Bay and at Hoi An. In any event, we took the chance to rest and watch the comings and goings on this very busy river.

A crane fills a barge with sand. I suppose it’s like dredging

We passed any number of cranes dredging sand from the bottom and loading up barges. I assume they would be headed for the building projects in Phnom Penh.

At one point our ship stopped and presumably dropped anchor. That would be where the Vietnamese border authorities came aboard to check passports and visas. Long had to leave us in Phnom Penh and return to Saigon for urgent family reasons but he had collected our documents a day or two before and his replacement handled the formalities without any more interaction from us. We didn’t see the officials come aboard and didn’t see them leave.

Packed above the gunwhales
I don’t think they could have crammed any more on there
This isn’t a fishing boat. We know this because it has eyes – and they scare the fish

The floating debris is water hyacinth (which is native here). It has been ripped off the banks and drifts on the river, providing habitat for small fish and places to land for herons and other water birds.

Sand bags? Cement? Seems you put on as much as you think she’ll carry.

I took the opportunity to take some sunset photos from the top deck.

The after-dinner entertainment that evening was a trivia night with teams of up to six people. That’s always fun so we joined the other folks upstairs and with Mike and Linda set ourselves up as a team of four. To our everlasting astonishment, we won! The prize was two bottles of sparkling wine. All of us were booked to go to Amalotus’s special fine dining restaurant, l’Indochine, the following night so we agreed we’d share the wine with our special friends that evening.

Way back when our cosy little group of ten who’d started together in Saigon suddenly swelled to twenty-seven, the ten of us agreed to make a booking at l’Indochine on the last night of the cruise as a kind of fond farewell. As it happened, Mike and Linda had booked on the same night, although they sat at a different table with another group. The original plan was that our tour guide, Long, would join us at our table but he’d returned to Saigon so we drank a toast to him and wished him well. He’d been an excellent host and we thought of him as a  friend.

Cheers

Next time we’ll visit villages in the delta.

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