Part 2…Exotic foods and shopping in Cambodia and Vietnam…Street food and market…Rats?…Easy life in Rawai, Phuket…

Skinned rat.  Oh.

Lazy as we can be right now as I continue to improve in baby steps each day finds me relatively inactive as I’m experiencing some recovery by not bending and walking more than absolutely necessary at this time.

This area is where we’ve spent most of our daylight hours. There’s one English speaking TV news channel.

Although I gently perform familiar stretching exercises each day, I do so with the utmost of caution. I’d considered going to a hospital for x-rays once we arrived in Phuket but what would “they” prescribe? Rest with light exercise? Done! Pain meds? No, thanks! Surgery? Not going to happen!  What would be the point?

The master bedroom we’re using with AC, comfortable bed and bedding, vanity desk and chair and an en suite bathroom.

If I’d been unable to walk (I am able) or having outrageous radiating nerve pain (none) I’d have checked it out. Years ago, I had a spinal compression fracture. This feels exactly like that, only more painful over a longer period.  It’s almost been two months. Typically, a compression fracture can heal in three months. If so, I’m right on track, progressing a little each day.

What type of fish is this?  Any comments?

Our first five days in Phuket have been low key. Tomorrow morning at 10:00 Gregory delivers the rental car. Then, we’ll head out to take photos and shop, over which we look forward to with considerable enthusiasm. 

Soft shell crab.

The Rawai, Phuket house is not on the ocean, a circumstance of which we were aware  when booking this property. Although we love being situated directly on the ocean or with ocean views we have no problem choosing a better house over a view. 

We didn’t recognize some of these items used in Asian cooking.

Certain popular tourist areas make choosing oceanfront or ocean view properties prohibitive cost-wise.  With all the ocean views we’ve had in our travels, living inland doesn’t bother us a bit.  It’s not as if we’re at any given location for the long haul. There’s always the “next one” as Tom says when asked as to his favorite location.

Chicken feet, toes, toenails.

Now, we continue with more exotic foods and shopping while on the Viking Mekong River Cruise:

Huge produce displays.

On Tuesday, July 17th we decided to join the tour group when Kong explained there wouldn’t be many steps to climb or overly strenuous walking. The morning’s tour would board down a steep ladder directly from the cruise ship for a ride along the Mekong Delta.

Live fish.

The tour included a stop at a brick making factory which originally we thought might be of little interest to either of us or our readers. But it proved to be fascinating after all. Photos and story will follow soon. Today, we’re sticking with the food theme.


After a tour of the bay with many war related historical buildings (more of those later too), the two sampans made their way to the shoreline where once we navigated a stairway we were on the street of the quaint town of Sa Dec where we had two stops of interest, one, the historic site of the aristocratic home filmed in the controversial Vietnamese made movie which we watched on the ship, The Lover (more on that later), and two, the fascinating Sa Dec Market.

Live eel.

No doubt, it was sweltering in the high heat and humidity which had been the case during each and every tour. We were fine with that, having spent most of our time in hot, humid climates over these past years.

Fish heads commonly used in Asian cooking.

The time spent walking was more noticeable than the humid heat. We’d hoped to attend the afternoon tour to visit a small factory in yet another village, but after the several hours on my feet in the morning, we chose to stay behind.

Chickens and parts.

Once we arrived at the outdoor market, we were thrilled to have managed to see this amazing venue. Expecting to see more tourists than locals, we were pleased to find that the Sa Dec market was the popular choice for the locals.

Cleaned squid (calamari).

Tourists, who generally don’t cook, unless staying in the area for longer periods, don’t purchase much in the way of foods from a local “farmers markets.”

Prawns are kept in ice cold water since they spoil quickly.

The biggest surprise in visiting this enormous outdoor market wasn’t necessarily the unusual foods offered but the fact that considerable amounts of meats were displayed without ice or refrigeration for long periods of time.

Pork is more prevalent than beef in Southeast Asia.

We hadn’t arrived at the market until around 10:00 am and the meats could easily have been sitting out for hours when the markets open very early in the morning. Had we been residing in that area, there’s no doubt we’d wanted to be among the first shoppers early in the morning to hoping the meats had been properly stored overnight and hadn’t sat out the prior day.

Offal… intestinal parts of animals are commonly eaten in Southeast Asia.  No part of an animal is wasted.

Local shoppers have probably figured out what works safely for them and surely we gringos would require education on what meats would be safe for human consumption based on current methods in handling.  

We wondered how long these pork would sit out in the heat.  Kong warned us about consuming street food when it was prepared from sources such as this.  He stated that locals occasionally get sick, but many are able to tolerare the consumption of some un-refrigerated foods, compared to us westerners.

In any case, seeing this market was a significant part of the Mekong River experience and we’re grateful we were able to visit this amazing market in Sa Dec. Here’s some information on the village with a population of 152,500 (continue below this photo):

Walking through the markets is tricky amid all the motorbikes passing through.

“Sa Đéc is a provincial city in Đồng Tháp Province in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam. It is a river port and agricultural and industrial trading center. During the Vietnam War in 1966 and 1967, it was the site of an American PBR (Patrol Boat, River) base. Later on, it became a Swift Boat base, as well.

We weren’t sure what was in these bags.

Before the nineteenth century, it was the capital of Dong Khau Dao, and it was known as one of the largest cities in the Mekong Delta There are three industrial zones in this city, designated by the codes A, C1, and C. They attract a large number of businessmen from the Mekong Delta region.”

Fruits, veg and flowers.

Back on the sampan by 11:00 we returned to the ship in time for lunch, yet another delicious, somewhat more traditional meal. The other cruise passengers were as equally enthralled with the morning tours as we were.  

Produce for sale in the market in Sa Dec, Vietnam.

At that point, July 19th was the last night aboard the ship. We all paid our final bills in the Saloon Bar, paid tips for the staff and began packing for the next part of the journey, a lengthy bus ride which would take us to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for the final two nights in another hotel.

Western vegetables.

More stories will continue over the next several days, not necessarily in order of the journey but more in groupings based on topics. See you soon!

Ice being delivered to some of the shopkeepers who use it.

Have a blissful day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2015:

We’d seen these gorgeous orchids in our neighborhood in Kauai, Hawaii and found them as equally breathtaking in Australia at the Cairns Botanical Garden. Many of the plants, trees and flowers are similar in both areas due to the tropical climate. For more photos, please click here.