The Mekong River

MekongMekong RiverThe Mekong River is a huge and powerful river that runs trough six countries, China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and has millions of people depending on it. Every day! It starts with the floating marked at four in the morning, and the boats runs up and down almost all night. It is a main rout of transportation and a lot of people have their houses either on or straight off the river. Most of them are very poor and with a living standard beyond believably bad. It is quite sad to see, but it is good for both us and our kids to get some things into perspective so we can remember to appreciate how unbelievably lucky we are. Most of the kids that grow up here are too poor to ever see the inside of a classroom, and so the chain reaction of poverty continuesMekong

Although tourism can become a strain on a country’s resources, it is also lifesaving for some. And the increasing number of tourists means more income for those who can manage to take advantage of the situation, in a positive way. On our full-day trip on the Mekong, we first stopped by a small village sustained on keeping bees and making honey. They pay our guide to bring us there, we get to see the bees, try the honey, have some tea, and then they sell us the honey (and other things they can profit from). At places like that you end up buying things, even if you didn´t care much for it, but because you want to help. But it wasn´t the bees that made this stop memorable for us, but the two three meter long pythons that hung out in a cage right by the toilet (which wasn´t really a toilet).  Luckily we were at the Turtle Island, which means luck, so no one got injured!The houses

Snake wineThe snakes also popped up on our next stop. Primarily we were supposed to take an interest in how they made coconut-candy here, but since we are not big coconut fans, we proceeded over to the bar and a big jug of something freaky. It was a ten-liter jar filled with ten different snakes and some wine. Of course I had to try it! I don´t think I will ever feel the need to try it again, but who would… The guide took us on a stroll by a few more “shops”. Our girls got to pick out a “beautiful” dress each and were super happy. Further on, we rode on a horse carriage for a few meters, got some fresh fruit, and then finally got to snuggle with a big ass python. I have done it before, but it never seizes to amaze me how muscular this creature is and how freaky it feels when he slides around your neck and arms. Moments like this really makes you feel alive!Snake

All in all, we had a good and memorable day on the river. It is huge and powerful. It took us a while to get from the Saigon part of the river, but it was worth it. It was very interesting to se up close how the average Vietnamese live. Most of them have very limited means. They cook their meals on a small space, sleep together with their whole family in small rooms with next to no comfort, and then most of them spends most of their time not doing much at all. There is a lot of just sitting around doing nothing, and it seems like a bit of a waste when you think they should be doing something to improve their and their families’ lifestyle. But who am I to judge…The fishOld man at Turtle Island

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