Drop down a few gears in the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is a throng of commerce and activity but there are many quiet necks of the waterways where locals still lead a very simple life.

A 30-minute boat trip from Ninh Kieu Wharf in Can Tho City takes in the serenity of Thuan An, a commune in Binh Minh District in Vinh Long Province. The attraction lies in the residents who live in harmony with nature and smile when they meet visitors, whether they are Vietnamese or foreigners.

I received a lot of friendly greetings and gestures during my hour of cycling around Thuan Tan and Thuan Phuoc B villages last week in the district. The many welcoming smiles and the innocent faces of dozens of children lifted my spirits as I cycled the 10 kilometer round trip.

In the channels, sons helped their fathers catch shrimp, fish and snail. In the rice fields children walked around and giggled, encouraging their parents to finish pulling out the weeds before sunset.

The breezes carry the scent of rice in flower this time of year. After a long day in the fields farmers chatted loudly all the way home, never stopping for a breath as they crossed the shaking cau khi, the bamboo bridges in the Mekong Delta.

At home, their families prepare a meal of rice they have grown and the fish and shrimp they have caught. Dinners in the Mekong Delta countryside start early, as soon as everyone back from the fields has had a bath.

The scene of people bathing and washing clothes in the canals in front of their homes is a common sight that hasn’t changed for generations.

After the bicycle tour of the villages we stopped at a café to refresh with a coconut juice to ready for the boat trip back to the heart of Can Tho City.By Binh Nguyen in Vinh Long SGT

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