Cai Rang Floating Market

After spending Sunday night in Cantho, we awoke early Monday morning in order to go by water taxi to the biggest floating market in the Mekong delta at Cai Rang on a tributary of the Mekong River.

The sun had just risen,…

… but the market was already bustling and every mooring was occupied.

These vendors are middlemen, buying from farmers and selling to wholesalers. They advertise the produce they have available for sale by hanging examples from poles raised high above-deck.

We motored around and past the flotilla in the main channel, then returned through its midst.

Nearly all of these boats, large and small, have a unique engine mounting system. The larger boats have what look like water-cooled car engines with direct-drive shafts turning propellers about 20 behind, capable of being lifted in shallow water and swung around in order to be serviced at both ends.

The smaller boats appear to have air-cooled, specially built engines in the same configuration.

We stopped for fresh pineapple at one vendor who allowed us to climb up onto his roof for a photograph.

There were smaller, rowed boats transiting between the larger boats, transferring produce and collecting harbor fees. Once a vendor has sold his wares, he is required to cast off to be promptly replaced at his mooring by another vendor, licensed by the government for that location.

What a great way to start the day.

We made one last stop before returning to our embarkation point to see a rice noodle factory. The process for making rice noodles is the same as that used by Mrs. Three to make rice paper, but on a much bigger scale and with the addition of the machine that converts the rice paper into noodles, shown, below.

Back on land, we stopped at the Bihn Thuy Ancient House, a well preserved home from the French Colonial period, still in the same family ownership after six generations. Here we all are inside the house with its current resident.

A final stop at the Vinh Trang Pagoda with its huge Laughing Buddha.

Although temples and pagodas are both houses of worship in Vietnam, temples are informal and we have been able to simple walk in and explore like at any other site of interest. Pagodas, on the other hand, are more formal and solemn; they are the residences of (in this case) Buddhist monks; shoes must be removed before entry and dress and decorum is more reserved. Here’s the inner courtyard of the Vinh Trang Pagoda.

Day is done. Back to Saigon.

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