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We spent our first night in the Mekong Delta in a rural home stay near Vinh Long. These are a popular part of the more adventure oriented tourist experience and I have mixed feelings about them. On the one hand, it can feel a bit anthropological, with our hosts as exhibits of native ways. Tours tend to bust out the folk dancing or traditional music, and it’s kind of uncomfortable to feel forced into the position of white observer of primitive spectacle. On the other hand, home stays are more or less small B&Bs, which put one’s tourist dollars back into the local economy. And, after all, I did come here to learn about and engage local cultures, especially culinary ones. Going to markets is one way to achieve this goal but staying in someone’s house and cooking with them must surely be another. Yes, it is brokered by a travel company, but sadly I don’t have any friends in Vietnam who would invite me to stay, so this is my next best thing. This home stay was a lot more low key than the one in Northern Thailand, and we spent most of our time cooking taro spring rolls.
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