10-Feb-2004 -- I returned to Vietnam for a week with a tight schedule. However, I managed to sneak out for a day to visit a confluence. This time, my target is the 10N 106E.
Right after arriving Vietnam, I placed a short message on a busiest local forum looking for partners for this visit. One responded with interest, but he (or she) could not get ready with such a short notice. So I had to go on my own.
Put on my boots and backpack, I got on an interprovince bus heading for Can Tho at 7:30 AM. My map tells me that I have to get off the bus at Cai Von T-junction, about 3 km before the Can Tho ferry station. Let the bus driver know and got a pleasant nap. About 10:00, the bus stopped and I was waken up for meal. It’s too early for lunch and too late for breakfast but it is a pretty good idea to have some food. I need energy for the day.
Use the map with some estimates, I created a few waypoints on my Meridian and set a Goto to the point where I should get off the bus. And it was pretty accurate.
According to the map, the 106E 10N is located somewhere in the Tra Ngoa rural population of Tra Con commune, Tra On district, Vinh Long province. The motorbike taxi rider didn’t know where Tra Ngoa or Tra Con is though he knew how to get to Tra On district. After consulting with his colleagues, he still did not know where it was. The map could not convince him and I told him that I would show him the way. He gave me a suspicious look but was convinced when I offered to pay him for the whole day. It’s a good deal for both of us.
When we were about 3km from the confluence, a canal appears. There is no bridge or ferry, so I had to ask him to wait for me and get a small boat across the canal. On my way to the confluence, I had to cross three canals. The Mekong delta has an interlacing river and canal system and the land is soaking wet. It’s a good idea to wear boots as they keep my feet dry and comfortable.
I walked through the gardens and fields, there was no sign of any chickens or ducks. The local government has killed all the poultry in an effort to repel the bird flu epidemic sweeping through Asia. The GPS receiver took me to an orange grove. The landlord made beds where oranges are planted together with bananas. Along with the beds are shallow trenches about 1m wide and 1 food deep. The trenches feed water to the trees and keep the land wet and slippery. Neither oranges nor bananas are ripe and ready for picking, so the landlord did not bother me much when I asked him for consent entering his property. The landlord asked me if I was looking for a grave or remain of my relative. Though the war ended 29 years ago, nowadays, thousands of Vietnamese are still missing; they are civilians, women, children and soldiers of both sides. They were probably killed, buried or not, and their relatives are still trying to look for their graves or remains. I told him what I was looking for, something not related to the war or politic, something pretty much natural. I knew that it’s not complete truth, the prime meridian is something artificial.
I tried to get to the confluence as close as I could but the closest I could do is about 3m, the EPE at that time was 3m, so I was somewhere within 6m from the confluence. That's pretty good. The confluence is on an orange grove but very close to a rice field. I took another picture from the narrow track showing how close it is to the low earth banks.