Well, myself and The Colonel ventured further South this morning. We'd read that not many people go there, so the attitude was "Fuck it...we'll go, then". A 40-minute ferry ride took us across, and it was a hairy 20 minute Honda Om ride through the countryside from there.
Ben Tre is very poor, but the people inversely friendly, ready smiles and cheeky catcalls followed us up the street; laughing children ran up to touch our skin before running away screaming. Such a strange experience, but we were grinning from ear to ear.
We had a wander up the bank of the river and were accosted by a right bunch of characters selling fruit. Roughly five women of various ages, and a couple of roguish chaps. We sat down, and from then on in tried just about every fruit available in Vietnam, some tasty...some not so tasty. They were howling with laughter watching us try and peel and eat them.
We communicated via sign language and facial expression. They asked our ages, and how tall we were. Cue laughter when I wrote down that I was 17. They all shook their heads, and erupted when I added a 1/2 to it. One of the men flicked through our Rough Guide until he found the phrases section. He pointed at one of the women, and cackled as he pointed at me...then his finger jabbed at the Vietnamese for "hotel". Rum bugger. I was sorely tempted to point at the phrase "How much" a few rows down, but the woman might have been his sister. And he was chopping fruit for us with a chipped machete. I kept the joke to myself and grinned.
They wouldn't even take any money off us afterwards, and gave us some fruit to take home. They waved, smiling, until we were out of sight down the road. Utterly beautiful people, one of the most pleasant afternoons I've spent in a while.
After that, it was a Om ride back to the ferry...for our run-in with Tuco and Sharkeyes...