One day in Chau Doc in Vietnam
"Night, loneliness, arrive in a strange city - this feeling of suffocation own insignificance next to the body, more complex in a thousand times. Suffice it to next morning to find the main street, and everything comes in order; We settle in a new place. "(Albert Camus)
Chau Doc - a small provincial town in the Mekong Delta almost on the border with Cambodia.
Night visit and search for reference points
Four o'clock in the morning. The bus stop, the feelings, somewhere on the edge of the world. Stations of Phuong Trang are always far enough to get lost, away from civilization. Carefully groping in the dark, narrow metal steps. At the same moment from all sides flock taxi drivers and motobaykery (by motorbike), waving their hands, Gulden, vying with each offering their own transport. Sleepily brushes off cabs, trying in vain to understand where we are. Humming motors, lights are lit, colorful ship passengers luggage. Just a minute, the fuss is over, and we remain in the midst of a dusty road in splendid isolation. On three sides of the world creeps sticky darkness, filled with the chirping of cicadas. We rush ahead - there, where through the dense foliage barely discernible whisper traffic lights and tires. Miraculously, lost in the dark lonely motobayker, nodding in the direction of our movement, significantly extends: "Mafia" ...
Instead of menacing thugs we meet the drivers of the same motorcycle taxi, but informal. A simple question can not be answered on our location. Uncertainly step to the first intersection from the streets indicators. We reach from the backpack laptop, open the map and do our best to match words with nameplates on the screen. Our actions attracted the attention of the rare passers-by at the time, and a minute later we find ourselves in a very strange company, consisting of the rickshaws, the driver of a moped and a dubious-looking man with a thick gold chain and pendant on his chest, like a dollar sign. Hit us into this situation somewhere on the outskirts of the Moscow region, was fit to be on the lam. But we're going with the spirit, we take a deep breath and enter into dialogue. None of random assistant does not speak in English. With geography, apparently too tight - one by one the men gingerly poke in the opposite edge of the card. After a long conversation with gestures one of three asks: "Chau Doc?". 'EU, the EU, Chau Doc "- nod we get an indication of the direction. As it turned out, the bus stop is located outside the city limits, and choosing the wrong vector, can be in the other settlements. An urgent need to wake up. On the side of the road very handy podvorachivaetsja kiosk with coffee. Please "ice coffee visas Milk" (!) And sit on small plastic chairs for a low metal table. A few minutes later, we brought cold coffee with ice (!) And hot green tea. Beg mugs for tea is not possible, warm up, too, but the taste and vigor, presented a real Vietnamese coffee, fill this stop meaning.
Early morning at the town market
Finally, we reach the long-awaited River embankment, and the horizon barely shows an orange sun disk. Around rustle hammocks, start to ring the pan, on the river, the lights - the city wakes up. Dark silhouettes of boats and waves shine on the background of the dawn sky fascinate, and we finally remember why come here - to see the famous life on the water in the Mekong Delta.
Sunrise over the Chau Doc
Bottom unload ships with flowers and fruits, and we decide to find a more comfortable place to hire a boat. On the bridge Cầu Cồn Tiên hurrying to meet the pioneers lessons schoolgirls in traditional white ao dayah and locals do gymnastics. After a short walk up against the ferry, which is just approaching a strange wooden structure, which just brings us to the other side for a thousand VND per person (5 cents). We continue to dream of a breakfast and a river walk.
In the morning, be sure to do exercises Vietnamese
From somewhere in the alley towards us a man runs and gestures calling depth. Well, with the adoption of food will have to wait, because now we go on a journey on a wooden boat on the Mekong or, as some call it Vietnamese, River of Nine Dragons. This poem is derived from the amount of the water hose connecting the mainstream. To start moving to the main attractions of these places - floating market. And immediately we understand that knowingly arrived in Chau Doc at this hour! Despite the fact that the water market is open until late in the evening, the busiest time - the early morning. Trade is carried out in the middle of the river - with many vessels of different sizes. Small flat-bottomed boats, designed for several people called sampans.
Heavy loads made to transport by boat to the cargo space, called junks. Above each boat rises a long pole - "keybeo". He is kind of a sign - merchants hang on keybeo its main products. It sells mostly fresh fruits, vegetables, and river gifts. Buyers also get to the shelves in a variety of floating facilities: wooden motor boat, rowing canoes and tourist boats.
Life on the water
The next point of our route becomes a settlement on water. The grounds of houseboats are empty metal drums or old boats. Under each building are suspended cages or nets - they are locals grow fish that are fed food waste. By type of home it is often possible to determine the consistency of the family. In these floating houses, as a rule, ordinary people live, while more affluent families can afford the more expensive and reliable house on stilts near the shore. The rest of the life on the river is very similar to normal: the facades are decorated with flags on the terraces in special vats brew moonshine, as pets keep singing birds, and even give birth to dogs.
Life on Earth
Our water tour lasts a little over an hour, after which the boat is approaching a small market in the village of Cham - this time on solid ground. Under the eaves selling souvenirs, silk, conical hats and the famous non. On one of the shelves hanging advertisement in English I zyke with a warning not to buy from local children cakes as cakes may be old and "cause colic." Right under the warning are confused girl with full trays of muffins - they do not know English, and really do not understand why their business is not. Buy a hat and set off to roam the alleys between the houses.
The Vietnamese - very friendly people, and we have grown accustomed to the ubiquitous smiles and pious wishes. But in the narrow streets Chau Doc hospitality takes on a truly universal scale. Local floating market is far from being the largest in South Vietnam, so the city is not so many tourists. Basically, come see the house on the water and looked roam the numerous temples, undeservedly neglected by ordinary courts, where the working life of the common people. On a white man with a camera chaudoktsy watching with interest, from all sides is heard "Hellou", and within fifteen minutes of the facial muscles are tired of endless strange smiles.
On the road scurry carts with fruit on roadsides women dried freshly made incense sticks, the children try on to Tetu (Vietnamese New Year) lion costumes. Here roadway runs across chicken, rooster next man washes, fishermen on the river put online, the students ran out to change - life goes on. The heat of the midday sun becomes unbearable, and we set off in search of a cafe with air conditioning or fans, to wait out the hottest hours. Lunch rooftop in the main street and back to get acquainted with a local touch.
In the shade somewhere near the river group of young people drinking rice brew. Seeing us from afar, offering to join. Unable to deny the onslaught of their liberality, carefully taste the drink. Because of the language barrier, the conversation does not go, and we continue our way. We pass by the cafe, where, according to the sign, prepare sobachatiny.
Admiring tangerine trees grown on the frame and having the shape of a dragon. Try something like dumplings cakes bao, steamed, and drink their freshly squeezed cane juice. Go back to the embankment, which early in the morning we began our walk through Chau Doc. In the shade of a tree resting in hammocks street vendors and other workers. Around the low trees on the ropes dried their clothes.
In the light of the day to notice strange chetyrnadtsatimetrovuyu stele with sculptures of fish. Around her held an open-air photo exhibition, and we are happy to admire the images of scenes from the life of Vietnam. Nearing evening. In school, appear to have ended a class, and the square on the waterfront is filled with children's laughter and hubbub. Rebyatnya teaches English at school, and with great pleasure to communicate with foreigners. We throw a few words about themselves and their countries and take pictures for memory. Imperceptibly it is time to rush to the bus in Ho Chi Minh City has already become a mother.
A small provincial town Chau Doc, despite its exotic and unusual way of life, not staggering - he quietly sneaks you into the heart of its unique tranquility. Such a trip, regardless of their length changed consciousness and remembered for a lifetime.