Exploring the Mekong Delta – with 13 month olds

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Today we had a pretty epic day. Not only was it daddy’s 32nd birthday, but the twins got to explore the Mekong Delta, via speedboat.  Old Adam and Marissa would have taken a 5 hour bus ride deep into the Delta, followed by a home stay. But now that we have children, we decided we needed to be slightly less adventurous, just slightly though.  We opted instead for a one day trip with a well-reviewed boat operator, Les Rives.

The day started early — we also realized upon waking up that we only had two diapers left and twin B had diarrhea (yikes). I texted a mom that we met in our compound and she gave me a few diapers to take on the trip (note to self – don’t let the diapers run low).  We packed a bunch of snacks, hats, sunscreen, change of clothes, and alas, diapers.

The boat had 11 people total on it and was a nice speedboat.  They had lifejackets, but for adults only, so we held the twins in our arms and hoped that the propeller didn’t hit any of the crazy debris that was in the water.

The Mekong Delta, called the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, is the region in Southwestern Vietnam that flows all the way to Cambodia. In fact, our apartment is right on the river  (In Ho Chi Minh) and we see all of the boats pass by, transferring transferring goods from deep south in the Mekong. The idyllic scenery is filled with fruit orchards, rice paddies, canals, streams, boats, houses and floating markets. It’s also filled with sewage and tons of debris, sadly.

Our boat made a brief stop at the Tuong Van Pagoda, where we learned more about the importance of Buddhism to the people of the Delta.

After the Pagoda, we went to a local market, where we spoke with an 80 year old woman that has been selling eggs in the same spot for the past 40 years.

From there, we turned off the river into small, winding canals of the Thu Thua area, where we visited a traditional riverside house.  Here we met two sisters who served us fresh coconuts.  The twins really enjoyed the refreshing coconuts.

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No trip to the Mekong could be complete with out some local whiskey.  The group sang happy birthday to Adam over some whisky shots.

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Lunch was incredible; served at a local pagoda and included multiple courses – spring rolls, soup, rice, chicken, and a fried elephant fish.

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The best part of lunch was when our tour operator took our children so we could eat. They brought them into a local house where the locals played with our girls – we heard laughter and singing, so we were okay with it. It’s becoming a theme in Vietnam, nice people watching our children so we can eat!

We returned back home around 5PM. Our girls were allstars. They had smiles on their faces the entire time. They got some quick shut-eye while we were on the boat, in our arms, but other than that, they were troopers.  We were so proud of them!

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Exploring the Back Alley’s of Saigon

Today was a fun day! We took our twins (and nanny) on a little adventure; an unplanned exploration of the alleyways of District 4, Saigon. Up to this point, we’ve gone to the main attractions and have explored where we live in D2, but we’ve not gone down the small alleys, the areas where the locals live.

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Our adventure started off at Xom Chie Market.  A sprawling market filled with food stalls, fruit and vegetable stalls, dried goods and meat and fish.  The smell was overwhelming at times but the colors all around were vibrant. The only annoying thing was that everyone tried to touch our babies. We constantly had to say no and block them with our hands. I really enjoyed that no one was hassling us to buy from them, but there was a lot of pointing and laughter when we walked by!

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After the market, we kept veering down side streets and would get lost in the alley’s. I was nervous; between hearing stories about getting mugged, trying to navigate around the motor bikes, seeing stray dogs and on top of all of that, being weary of mosquitoes (supposedly there is Zika here).  However, looking back, we were in no danger and we had a phenomenal time.

One of the streets brought us to a nice family celebrating their daughters first birthday. They gave us balloons for our kids, as well as some snacks.

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After that, we came across a wedding where the bride and the groom asked to take a photo with us.

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After corralling the back streets, we did what we did best — found some delicious street food.

The kids were amazing — we wore them the whole time. They loved interacting with everyone and joining on our adventure. We brought them lots of snacks, including water, rice cakes, pouches and some animal crackers.  As soon as we got into the taxi to come home, they passed out!

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More adventures to come…