Sunday, December 17, 2006

10,000 clicks from home

The 777 'cockpit cam' flickered into life at dawn as the sun reflected on the mighty Mekong, a silver snake winding its way through the delta - our first sight of Vietnam.

We landed at Saigon and spent an absorbing few days exploring the city by day, then strolling down the old Rue Catinat and sinking a beer or two at the haunts of foreign correspondents in darker days. The Majestic, Caravelle and Rex (where the US Press Corps gave their daily updates on 'progress' against the VC, then moved to the bar to forget the reality of war).

Thuy, our local guide, painted in words what the books can't describe - what are the hopes and fears of the new generation of Vietnamese? Has the 'American War' been laid to rest? You've really got to make your own mind up by visiting this incredible country and talking to its people.

Following Saigon and the inevitable trip to Cu Chi, we travelled into the heart of the Mekong Delta, visiting local business, factories, and crossing this magnificent river along the way (16km wide at one point). My usually conservative tastes were put to one side whilst we sampled Elephant Ear fish, Snake wine and the like!

After an exhausting few days, we plunged into the luxury of the
Victoria Can Tho and its majestic setting on the banks of the Hau River, and relaxed.

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