I had a hot but enjoyable day last weekend near the small town of Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta, two and a half hours south of Saigon. I was in the delta on assignment for Oi Magazine but after a wrap had been called on the shoot I went up river a little and found an interesting little scene playing out that is so typical of life on the river.
A boat had pulled up on the river bank and men were unloading large baskets of fruit. The heat was oppressive, as it so often is in the delta. The fruit baskets weighed 50 kilograms each but there were hefted effortlessly onto one shoulder, carried off the barge and up the river bank to a large building across the road where the fruit was peeled and put in wood fired kilns to dry. If it was hot outside it was hotter seemingly by a factor of ten inside the drying building where all of the work was done by hand.
The men were a lather of sweat as they unloaded the barge, their shirts stuck to their bodies and the sweat rolling down their faces like the river itself.
Despite the difficulty of their work and the working conditions everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming, laughing and joking as they took a break for photographs.