I woke up at about 0130 Saturday morning worried that the cadets had not come back yet from their Pub Street adventures, but looked over to see Dylan in the room and was glad that the cadets had made good decisions and made it back safely--and surprised that he came in that quietly. The next morning, I didn’t ask for details. They just said that they had had fun and gotten back to the hotel at about midnight.
I woke up early and took my laptop down to the dining area in the hotel to work on more photos and try to upload some files, but the wifi was so slow that it was not a very productive session. I did get some reading done, though, and enjoyed a good breakfast. AT 0600 when the doors opened for the regular clientele, the breakfast area was mobbed with about 100 Vietnamese tourists that we’d seen arriving the evening before. They took up almost every table, but were almost all gone by about 0630.
Kean met us at 0800 and we left this time via three tuk-tuks (only two or three of us in each carriage—which seemed like luxury). We rode for about 20 minutes into the suburbs of the city to visit a local market along the river and also a very elaborate Buddhist monastery and temple.
When we arrived at the market, my camera lenses had still not warmed up from the overnight cold-soaking in the hotel air conditioning and I missed a lot of early shots waiting for the condensation to clear on all of the out lens surfaces. When I was finally ready, you can see the result. This market was VERY meager and local with local delicacies like rice rats, plenty of fish that was still flopping in the buckets (many of them ugly snakeheads), fresh fruit, some baked goods, and lots of interesting smells. We walked through the market with Kean pointing out specific items and giving us background and detail. The people were very friendly and somewhat surprised to see tourists this far away from the beaten path—exactly the experience we were looking for. We walked out of the market into the neighborhood along the lake and purchased cold water bottles at a new lowest price of eight for a dollar.
Next door, we visited a large Buddhist temple and monastery complex with dozens of large rock and concrete “stupas,” which are ornate tombs for the ashes of the departed. Each family has a stupa for its members and the overall stupa is sealed if or when the last surviving member of a family passes away.
We walked around the complex and saw monks going about their morning chores as well as the interior of several of the temples, a Buddha statue in the middle of a large pond containing some huge catfish (20 pounders easily) and then walked to the main temple area to look inside. This temple was deserted, but looked like it had been remodeled/renovated just recently as all of the colors were bright—and there were plenty of colors, too!