​Change coming to Vietnam's floating market

The floating market has been like this for a thousand years, surviving Asian conquerors come and gone ... the Americans, who fought a river war here ... even the Communists, who left this slice of capitalism alone.

But times are changing.

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The Cai Rang floating market in Vietnam. CBS News

A decade ago the floating market stretched nearly a mile. Today it is half that. The tourists, especially the Vietnamese, now come to see a fading part of their own history.

To make life better for the people of the Mekong Delta, there is a push for progress, but progress might just push this age-old market into extinction.

Modern supermarkets sell vegetables in air-conditioned comfort. New bridges and roads mean trucks, not boats, bring in goods, and shopping is about navigating traffic-jammed roads.

But there is something else changing, and maybe it's not such a bad thing. Take 45-year-old Ho Thi Thanh Van. She paddles the canals, selling door-to-door what she bought from the floating market.

She earns maybe 10 dollars a day. But her daughter is studying English at college. So she sweats and struggles with a single hope that many share, that she will be the last generation forced to work like this, that her children will have a better life.

And in that hope may be the last real chapter here, because a better future for the next generation will surely mean an end to this little slice of age-old smiling and hustling capitalism that once thrived on the ebb and flow of a mighty river.