Couch surfing in the Mekong Delta
Imagine sleeping on the floor with 3 Vietnamese girls, sharing the space approximate to a queen size bed. Except, well, there was no bed. No mattress. My couch surfing became more of a floor rafting.
Our hostess, lovely Julia, picked me up from an Overpriced French restaurant facing the river on her moped. My luggage that is a pain in the neck at this point, can be converted into a backpack, so I strapped it on and rode on with her in a crazy river of Vietnamese motorcycles. People had said it was shocking, but being in the middle I felt like a bee in a nest. We went to have the first true Vietnamese coffee I’ve had so far, a viscous dark substance closer to caramel than the coffee I’ve imbibed so far in my Western life. Quite delicious, but it felt like a shot of caffeine straight into my veins.
Later I met Thuyen, a couch surfer who graciously let me come on her Mekong Delta trip together with her sister, who did not seem too happy to be there at any point. So we were three staying at Julia’s and she had said in her profile that was her capacity. I’m not going to lie, Julia’s place was tiny, had an Asian toilet, meaning a latrine, no real shower and like I said before, no bed or any sort of cushion-like setting. But I’m sure it’s one of the experiences I’ll remember the most.
The highlight of the Mekong Delta are the floating markets. I had been a little concerned that I had already spent a day and a half in Chao Doc, and had gone to see the markets on the river, and this was going to be more of the same. It wasn’t though, and I’m glad I went to the border town first because the sunrise experience and the overall boat ride was much more magical. Having Thuyen though was a lot of fun. Things certainly change when you have a local who is not trying to sell anything to you just show you around.
The best advantage of hanging out with locals: they know where the good food is. We had a great hot pot that Thuyen was dying to try, with delicious fish and vegetables. I also had the best Pho I’ve had in my life in a place where Julia took us for breakfast. I tried chom chom for the first time! It’s kind of like a lychee, but a little less sweet and more firm. The fruit here tastes so sweet, even compared to the one in Colombia. Bananas are sweeter, mangoes are sweeter… Really the best place for a fruit lover like myself.