The unappreciated beauty.

by Diana Modrakova (United Kingdom)

The last thing I expected Vietnam


Having done my research prior to the trip, I had an idea of what the place might resemble. Waking up at the crack of dawn, I had made sure to book the tour with the most convenient time to go visit the floating markets of Mekong Delta in Vietnam. I did not want to miss the opportunity to experience the bustling atmosphere, the colourful fresh produce or the chance to buy some of it at a bargain price. With the sun on the horizon, I approached Thuy, my local guide, and we made our way to the docks where the Can Tho boats were anchored. The captain was introduced as Nhung, who did not speak English, but smiled sincerely and me made me comfortable enough not to worry about the boat size or the deep waters of the river ahead. As we made our way towards the markets of Cai Rang, I was told of their history, taking an instant interest of my surroundings and the peacefulness it granted. Looking around to enjoy a bit of the scenery, I noticed something floating on the banks. I immediately asked to find out, as the sun made it hard to recognize. I was not, however, prepared for the answer. Rubbish. Alongside both edges of the river, for as long as we were floating was mixed waste in significant amounts. I naturally did not understand how it got there or by whom. As I kept wondering and debating in my head, I heard a scratching sound coming from the long-tailed outboard motor. For a minute, I thought it had broke and we would have to paddle back. I quickly turned to Thuy for an explanation when I caught a sight of what Nhung was doing at the back of the boat. Due to the motor being 180 degrees rotatable, I was now seeing the propeller out of the water and in her hands as she tried to cut up the plastic bag it caught on in the river. The last thing I expected was for her to throw the plastic she untangled from the fan back into the river. ‘’I keep telling her every time that we have a bin here on the boat, but all she does is wave me off with her hand,’’ Thuy said apologetically. I could not help to wonder why she would not want to prevent this from happening to others. How they might face the same issue with the same plastic bag and she did not really mind. Not to mention, how this delicate natural habitat was being spoiled piece by piece with every action of this type. In the end I realized that the locals are not to be judged nor blamed for their ways. They were unable to travel and see in order to appreciate the things that they have, yet take for granted.