The daily fresh produce markets of the Mekong Delta provide the best opportunity for visitors to experience local life at its most colourful and compelling. As with most other activities in this riverine world, business is typically conducted on the water. An early start is essential. Farmers begin to gather shortly before dawn, advertising whatever produce they may have to sell that day by tying samples to tall bamboo poles (in the absence of space for stalls) and hoisting them into the air. Buyers chug or paddle around the wholesale vessels in smaller craft to compare prices, serviced by a flotilla of long-tailed boats selling hot-noodles-and-crab-broth breakfasts, with steaming cups of coffee.
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