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Full Circle

Day 87: Saigon to My Tho

Mekong Delta, Vietnam 
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My bag's bigger than yours controversy. Mekong Delta.
Michael Palin - Full CircleOne of those mornings. Sit on my glasses and break the frames, then, getting grumpily into the bus, rip my trousers on the arm of my seat. These things always come in threes so I'm in a state of irritable anticipation as we drive south into the Mekong delta.

I have never seen as many people in the countryside as we see on our way south. It is quite easy to believe that this slim country is the twelfth most populous in the world. The rice fields are raked by long lines of women bending and picking. A small town like Cao Be has as many people living on the water as on the land. I join the shoppers at a floating market. Housewives paddle their dugouts from boat to boat in search of the best bargains. On one we're offered a pair of snakes. Two boa constrictors at one hundred dollars each. I have to tell them it's too late, I'm already packed.

This is the hottest day of the journey so far. An unavoidable lethargic humidity which seems to steam and ooze off the river as the sun climbs. It doesn't surprise me to hear that Noel Coward composed 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' while travelling in Vietnam.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 87
  • Country/sea: Vietnam
  • Place: Mekong Delta
  • Book page no: 127

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