Every time setting foot in Ca Mau, my mind recalls lines of verse: My Fatherland as a ship, whose prow is Ca Mau Cape. The cape is in the southernmost of the country among the boundless waves, charming landscape and warm affection of local people.
The final milestone of the S-shape country is a must-see place for any traveler coming to this land. Ca Mau Cape features the national flag flying in the clear blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds. Looking beyond the skyline, Vietnamese people can take pride in this land.
In Ca Mau Cape National Park, the vast mangrove forest with tree-trunks rises up to the sky, and fasciculate roots plant deep into the soil, interlacing with each other to create odd shapes. The yellowish green and white flowers embellish the dense green foliage. Deeper into the forest, the air gets cooler and cooler, the forest is in a perfectly pristine condition.
Following boats cleaving the waves, passing through the villages along the riverside, visitors can see bustling wharves where people gather for buying and selling. You can feel the breath of the sea with the strong smell of fish sauce and the salty taste in the sea breeze.
When the light of a new day starts, looming behind swathes of trees, the river is sparkling, and the forest wakes up suddenly to welcome the new lives of all creatures. At the end of a day when the sunset gradually fades away, families gather leaving behind a busy day.
It would be a pity when you come to Ca Mau but miss a chance to stay at local people’s houses. The homestay model has become familiar with many local families, therefore, visitors from the South to the North, or even Western tourists are no longer strangers to them. Tourists can come to the spacious houses to discover the daily life of countryside dwellers among rivers and water areas. They can take a rest on hammocks in the porch, watching straight lines of areca trees with yellowish flowers whose gentle perfume pervades the air after the afternoon shower.
The houses here are usually surrounded by canals full of large and small mangrove trees with tender buds and yellow flowers. On the canals, people can spread their nets or follow the boats to go fishing. In a panoramic view, the entire surface of the water is so quiet that even a falling leaf can cause ripples.
Dinner is served with hearty specialties of the watershed area, including fresh skates which have just been pulled out of the river, red fried shrimps and brown stems of water morning glory. The hosts also cook many kinds of seafood which they catch or buy from the neighborhood to serve guests. Besides thoi loi fish, or mudskipper, a specialty in seaport area, visitors will be treated with a variety of seafood such as oyster, razor shell and other special kinds of fish. The idle talks at the kitchen table are even livelier when there is no distance between hosts and guests.
Owners of the house are familiar with tourists. They treat the guests as their relatives. Everyone can freely move around, discovering everything, staying inside, lying in a hammock or going fishing.
The night was so quiet that I can even hear the sound of the insects and fish jumping in the canals. Before the sun came up, the host already prepares breakfast which is simple yet tasty. Leaving Ca Mau, my heart is still lingering with the feeling of belonging. The journey to this land brought me the feeling of coming back to my beloved family.