This cruise on the Jahan has some similarities to our trip to Africa: each day you’re up early (1) for an excursion, then come back to the ship for lunch, and continue with an afternoon excursion before returning in time to clean up and go for dinner. And you need to clean up; after a full day wearing sunscreen, the heat and the humidity, a shower is definitely on order.
The afternoon outing took us out in the launch again up a channel that was fully dominated by the fishing industry. Not just the fishing boats, but fish farms in the river, and processing plants along the banks.
The fishers range in size a single guy in a small boat pulling in his nets with a dozen or so fish to large farms with were raising tens of thousands of fish.
Men eating, women doing dishes, November 2019
But the highlight of the afternoon was a stop at Thanh Island.
The village there is about as “authentic” as you can find while on a tour – the only westerners were our group, and there were no gift stops, souvenirs for sale, street beggars or any of the usual trappings tourists see.
Instead, we saw people doing what they might do if we weren’t around.
Towards the end of the walk we sat in a multi-purpose building where an elderly man and woman sat and talked with the group. It was staged, of course, but their comments were real and they answered questions from the group.