The Mekong river is one of the worlds great rivers which begins in the mountains of Nepal and flows through a number of Asian countries until it reaches the South China Sea. Recently I visited the Mekong Delta near Ho Chi Minh City. When we arrived at our point of embarkation on the worlds 12th longest river which crosses through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, we were told by our guide for the boat trip that “Me” means Mother in ancient Vietnamese and “Kong” translates as milk. Whether it is true or not, it is easy to get a sense of how the river has, for thousands of years, sustained and nourished every form of life-human,plant and animal- in and along its fertile banks .
After exploring Phoenix island where numerous tropical fruits thrive in the humid environment and entrepreneurial locals manufacture a variety of products in cottage industries, we transfered from our cruising boat into small barges navigated by locals through the small canals hidden by copious palm trees.
It was here that I felt I had entered another country and another time.
It felt as though people had lived on the river in the same way, making the most of its life force, for centuries, resilient despite long wars, typhoons and deprivations. I felt that I had learnt much through this river journey