We haven’t slept well lately – it probably takes time to get use to those hard beds. All my bones and joints hurt and I am awake with every move. At one point (it was like 3am) I can see Steve getting up and walking towards my bed (we are in opposite corners of the room again – well that is how it sometimes goes). It is obvious he is not feeling well. He didn´t get any sleep as well and his throat got much worse. More over his sinuses are totally blocked and half of his face is in pain.
I am giving him some pills to feel a bit better and we both agree, that we have to cancel the tour for today. Not worth it. That means I have to get up around 4:30am and go downstairs to the reception to tell them. Of course, that I don´t fall asleep again… just lying down and trying so hard to get at least a nap.

One and a half hour later I get to the reception – no one really had any problem with us not going – luckily. So I return to the room, check up on Steve and get back to my bed. This wasn´t pleasant night.
Whole day is in “resting mode”. Damn, that happened too early – but what can we do. That is what sometimes happens and we have to adjust our plans to it. Trying to take care of my sick boy… Bringing him breakfast (which is for free) – and it looks like a breakfast of the kings. Noodles, veggies and fried egg. I coated it with some chilli sauce, because I know he loves it. He never says no to food, when you put it in front of him. So he destroyed half of it – which was more than I expected, hope that will make him to feel better.
I am spending time on my laptop, find a gym to go to… Leaving my boy to get as much sleep as possible. In the afternoon we walk around 800m to some local shopping mall. It is always like you walk into the different world. Aircon – NICE SMELL!!! – everything is shiny and clean. Haha we love toilets at these places!!! 😀
We end up to see Logan in a fancy cinema on the top floor for $4 NZD for the tickets. Oh yeah – movies here are mostly in English with subtitles, so we are really enjoying ourselves. Although they had only sweet popcorn (MORE FOR ME haha – Steve isn´t a big fan) and they censured two scenes – not sure why as all the other bloody and naked ones were there. It is a big mystery for us.
Haha a big surprise – we are having another Vietnamese soup for a dinner :-D. We found out, there is not much other food to eat. So here we are – on our “noodle soup diet” – loosing weight. (Not like we are complaining :-D). 
I am doping Steve with pills and Strepsils and hoping he will be able to get up in the morning to go for the floating markets. In the end it is the only reason why we are here. There is not much else to do in this one million inhabitant city. We got many new people in the hostel – so it seems there will be a big fun group tomorrow.
Haha here it is! 4:30 in the morning and everybody´s alarm is going off. A little fight for a bathroom, all whispering, because there are two people staying and trying to sleep. Well – I think that 12 alarms going off at the same time, people getting ready, dressing up, packing, whispering – it must be quite hard to keep sleeping – but this what happens in this city – that is what people do and everybody is counting on it.
The funniest part is – that after all our whispering and walking with our phones to the toilet using them as a flashlights, so we don´t have to light up. (Glass door to the toilet.) There is a girl who when she gets up starts talking loud without any concerns and without thinking “click” – lights on. At that moment all of us just freeze and look around with a quiet laughter – yeah there are selfish idiots in this world.
Steve is good to go – probably still not feeling great, but hopefully a bit better. Brushing our teeth, dressing up into the clothes which we got ready last night. Taking camera and GoPro and we are ready to go. Waiting at the reception – everybody is blinking and slowly waking up. It seems it is only me being excited like a little kid.
Two big van kind of taxies are stopping in front of the hostel (they are included in the tour price (cca $15NZD). In the end it is 14 of us (some other 2 people from different hotel). 3 “dwarfs” (including me) sitting on the back seat – hitting our heads on the roof – other 3 are comfortably sitting in the middle and one next to the driver – perfect!
10 minutes of driving through waking city full of incredibly loud Vietnamese music and people sitting around and sipping their strong morning coffee. They drop us off at the river by a wharf which is full of different sized boats. Some of them are little tiny wooden boats, others are huge for about 50 passengers (those are probably owned by big travel agencies. We purposely booked through our hostel – as we found out they are doing this tour with locals – and that is always more fun and it is kind of charming.

Everything is still drowning in the darkness of the night – only the street and building lights are dancing on the river surface. 3 locals (2 elderly men and one woman) are slowly getting us into those little wooden boats (haha) – we have to put orange vests on and we are ready for the adventure – lets go!
I am like crazy (as usual). Exited with eyes wide opened – even though we cannot see much in the dark – I am trying to soak this moment into my memories. We sit in a silence and listen to the noise of a small engine on the back of the boat which is controlled by casually seated wrinkled man.
The sense of this all is so powerful – it brings me into some kind of melancholy and happiness. Coldish air is stroking our cheeks and the new day is slowly crawling into the night.
We are quite slow in comparison with other “fancy” boats. I am secretly afraid that we are going to miss something, when I see those lighten up monsters full of tourist passing us by.  But I am reassuring myself that our experience of this under the pitch of darkness is much more “real” then under blinding lights. And if I tell the truth I can see faces of those people, looking our way, and I can read in their eyes envy and desire to have a loudly coughing and disgustingly spitting local man behind their back, like we do. 😀
Suddenly our little engine starts making funny noises and then it stops completely. NOOO WAAAY!!!! We all turn around being scared, that our tour is going to be cancelled “due to broken engine”. The old man without a blink of an eye pulls out the tiny turbine from the water – it is totally wrapped in plastic bags of different colours. With a speed of a snail he slowly unwound all the plastic (throwing them back into the river of course) and we are ready to continue. This is repeatedly happening every 10 minutes or so – after a while we get use to it.

One of the “sister” boats is even adding a fuel from a plastic bottle… Well, as I said, it is always an adventure with locals. I believe nothing like this happens with a big agencies.
I was naively waiting for a marvellous sunrise, which never happened. Haze and pollution swallowed all the beautiful colours. We are passing by little half broken cottages – homes of local people. They are wrapped in garbage :-(. I am trying to not to worry about it. It hurt me a lot while traveling Central and South America – but there isn´t probably much I can do about it. It still touch my feeling though – it isn´t normal in what conditions these people live.

Everything is in the morning rush – mother with her little boy are brushing their teeth from the “door leading nowhere” above the river – spitting the foam directly into the water. Besides them some little (cca 6 years old) girl with a pink backpack jumping over the railing of the shacks with her mum – probably going to school (who knows).
Fishermen, with the water up to their chests, are getting their nets ready for fishing. There are many bigger boats with various kind of fruits and vegetable – mangoes, pineapples, bananas, melons, herbs, carrots,…
Out of nowhere there was a little wooden boat arriving to us, keeping our speed – oh yeah – it smells like a coffee. And yes – he pulls out his big wooden “jug” and pours into to the plastic cups black and very yummy coffee. Damn – these people know their coffee – I have never had anything that awesome (without sugar or milk – unbelievable).

We are floating under the great bridges that are full of bats – they are flying around in the dusk. There must be hundreds – thousands of them, their squeaking is incredibly loud.
After about an hour we are arriving into the well-known floating markets. It is something completely different than I was imagining. I kind of thought we are going to be in the middle of the jungle – but the river banks are still full of poor housing – one next to each other. We can even see into their “living room” as they mostly don´t have any doors.
There are many boats floating here. Everybody is trying to sell their goods. Shouting around, offering. I am pulling out my camera with my new “baby” (lens :-D) and take a million of pictures – I am so enjoying this place so much. SO MUCH HAPPENING! Love this lens – as I can take close up pictures without being in their face.

After a few circuits through the market we are stopping at one of the “floating restaurants” – it is obvious that our guides are good friends with the owners – and they are helping them to earn some money by offering us their traditional Vietnamese soup. (Haha again.) Steve is not really interested, but I cannot resist and order one. What would it be without being able to experience this dish right in the middle of their famous Mekong River – well I didn´t have any breakfast either (and I get grumpy if I don´t).
They pull our wooden seats apart and make us a little shaky tables. A beautiful lady – with stunning smile and traditional heat on her head is passing me a full bowl on this yumminess! I sprinkle some chillies all over it and squeeze one of the little tiny (cherry tomato sized) limes into it… and let me tell you – one of the best soups I have had here yet! No regrets!

And as you can imagine – there was a hungry face looking at me. “Do you want some soup?” I offered. “I don´t want to make you sick, so I will eat what you won´t finish.” Of course I WANT TO FINISH IT ALL!!! But leaving half of the soup, for Steve – hoping it will make him feel better. Mornings (especially the early ones) are not his forte. He usually says “no” to the breakfast – but if you put the food in front of him – yeah… it is gone! I can see that it made him a bit stronger and happier – he stopped frowning and that is a good sign.
One of our guides (the lady) is taking camera and phones of everyone and takes hundreds of photos – she is even arranging us and telling us what to do – she is such a sweetheart! 
After we are all finished with eating they take us into one of the small canals – where they stop by the shore and make us to get of the boat. We sit into a little kitchen and get some drinks – well I am going for the coffee – they told us, this one is the best ever! And it is served into a normal cup. Marvellous! Unforgettable!
We also manage to use the toilets – without seats or flushing and some of them are missing an actual door.  What an experience!

It is time to continue in our tour. They are taking us to see a family production of home-made rice noodles. Most of the businesses in Vietnam are being taken care of by whole families and even this one is not an exception. It is some kind of barn with roof made from palm trees, no walls or anything like that. There are two big stoves made of stones in the middle. There was a fire lit up underneath them and they were burning all kind of rubbish you can think of. Cardboards, ripped up fabrics. 
Each stove has two large “pan plates” (something like a larger version of “pancake makers” you can see in our markets). The ladies are pouring some kind of premix onto them and cover them with a massive iron lid. It takes around one minute to have one of these round “rice pancakes” ready – so it keeps them quite busy. The men are picking them with long sticks (they look like a wicker torches) and put them onto the wicker drying racks. Other man is taking those onto the poles, which are all around the barn and there they let them dry. (Oh yeaaah – under those chimneys which are producing pitch-black smoke.) Finally the dried “pancakes” are going through some kind of noodle maker – not really sure how to describe it :-D.

Everyone gets some semi-dried noodles to taste – and with a constant crunching we are walking back to the boats. Haha our little guide is again taking our camera and taking thousands of pics.
When we manage to sit and get ready for the way back – we get some freshly sliced pineapple (the guides bought them earlier on, at the market). We are slowly floating through one of the much smaller side canals. It takes us about 1.5 hours… just sitting on the wooden seats (our bums are numb) and just relaxing, enjoying the surroundings. The scenery doesn´t change too much.
Little houses build from everything the street gave them are all around – sometimes it even scares me – how poorly they look.  People are crawling through a garbage searching for something. They are waist-deep in this “yummy” water and stinky mud in full clothing. We see even some children walking around. Tell me what!? What are they looking for in this disgusting garbage? :-O

Once again we see into the peoples kitchens and living rooms – where they are “happily” living in this sh** ehm mess. They are not even hesitating when throwing their rubbish right into the river from their houses. Plastic bags full of yuckiest things – and they just throw it in from of us in to the water from their porches and windows. Cans, plastic bottles, plastic bags – no worries, right!?   
I want to cry! Even if there was a whole army of volunteers who would clean this place up – in a year time it would be all back… These people need some education about how to deal with their garbage!
I am furious, I want to change the world… but how, when these people don´t see the problem!! We are doing massive programs for saving the ocean. And I am realizing that the biggest problem isn´t in developed countries… the problem is here! Here, right in front of our eyes! Here we have to educate, show and explain the environmental problem. I am trying not to take this too personally – but it is hard and I feel I wanna scream every time I see someone discard anything into the river.
After a while we can see another local family washing their herbs and veggies (oh yes – those ones we always have in our soup) in the SAME RIVER!!! They even wash the dishes here (those bowls we eat the soup from 😀 ). Well if we survive this – we will survive everything I think! I just hope that the portion of chillies I put into the soup will give me some kind protection. We have nothing else to do than laugh – and wait :-D.
I am just trying to get use to this again – not being that excessive with constant washing hands and panicking about bacteria. And surprisingly no issues so far. I think you just need to get use to it… (haha don´t worry – it will catch me later on 😀 ).
We were quite happy to see a wharf where we started the tour. We cannot feel our bums. We thank the guides with some pocket money and take a taxi back to the hostel, where they are already cooking our breakfast for free. True – it is only 11am :-D.  
Everybody is so tired – so our room is all asleep. I can hear everybody breathing quietly or lightly snoring.  It is just me who is awake – probably too much coffee 😀 I am not use to it. But mainly I am very cuurious about my pictures and videos and that won´t let me sleep – I need to see them! So I make me my little office on the top bunk again. Leaning against the wall, feet sticking out into the air. Million times folded blanket makes me a perfect mouse pad… I have hours and hours of work with this treasure!
The owner of the hostel is taking us into the local kitchen to try traditional meal “boiling pot”. The broth of duck (even with liver), my favourite straw mushrooms and lots of green herbs, and of course plenty of noodles. 😀 Well, we laugh at the fact that the herbs were probably washed in the river and happily rip them onto little pieces and putting them into our boiling soup – that should kill all the bacteria right? 😀

I am ordering one (warm) beer – fridges aren´t that common – so I even get a pint full of ice (which we probably shouldn´t use either), but I am grateful for anything at this moment.
The long and fantastic day is over. I am so tired – that I fall asleep in seconds. And I don´t mind that the light is on, people are speaking loud and there is so much noise around. I am so worn out! I hope I am not getting sick – my throat starts feel a bit funny…  Not now! When Steve is finally getting a bit better!
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