cai rang, the largest floating wholesale market on the mekong delta. it could have been the day, it could have been the autumnal and off-tourism season - they have two tourist seasons: vietnamese tourist season and western-tourist season, it could have been the end of the harvest, but the market was smaller and quieter than i expected. i watched as the smaller boats selling food and beverages swarm the tourist boats. a few transactions between wholesaler and retailer happened while my boat weaved back and forth between the larger vendor boats. but the frenzy was the tourist boats.
almost reading my mind, my tour guide tells me not as many people shop the water market anymore as people start moving to land markets. the government has given incentives, i.e., tax exemptions, to the boat owners and vendors hoping to keep the tradition alive. to myself, i wondered if they were worried about tourism or about the vendors.
i enjoyed very much my cai rang trip. traveling solo and being the only one at my guesthouse touring that day, i had the boat and guide to myself. we quietly glided through a canal. we visited a shop that handmade rice noodles the traditional way. we biked along the mekong river which allowed me to see the local’s homes and livelihoods. and of course, i got to eat some delicious food.
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