Somewhere in Asia travel blog

'The' junction

Piglet from the outhouse

School morning

We just caught the attention of some students

They are running towards us

We're surrounded

Side street market

A couple of kids about to head down to the lake

Housing on the La Nga Lake

An inspirational poster

All covered up

School boys hanging out

We are having coffee with their teacher

Overlooking a small town

Myles checks out the crack

School girls

Bananas!

A funeral precession

Funeral vehicle

Baskets

Jolly fella


Distance:110km

Her thoughts:

I had to show a little piglet out of an outhouse this morning after breakfast. She was hanging out in there, eating this and that. It was one of those outhouses, which look (both inside and out) like a pile of rubble and wood, and you hesitate for a moment before entering. Once I passed through the eroded wooden door that barely stayed together I could tell I was in the right place by the pile of used toilet paper in one corner, a cement squatting toilet in another and the unmistakable smell throughout. I felt compelled to describe this particular toilet, as it was the only toilet in SE Asia so far with it's own, resident pig. We started the day with some sweet coffees, while watching 'the' junction in town. The coffee was strong and sweet enough to jumpstart anyone's day. The sky was overcast, and it was chilly outside, with a strong headwind as we were heading out of town. It felt like a long day already, thoughts of hot, sweet coffee quickly fading into a distant memory. The traffic persisted most of the day, although there were a few silent breaks in between. Riding this road, I was amazed to see how much development there is in Vietnam. You hardly leave the limits of one town before you enter another. With towns come traffic and lots and lots of people, the latter could be good or bad depending on how much time you have left before it gets dark outside.

The terrain was hilly, and the going was slow. We stopped one too many times along the way. By the time we started our final ascent darkness fell. It started to rain. The road got narrow, bumpy and winding. There were trucks, buses, vans, cars and scooters whizzing past us. It was not fun. Then is started to pour. We pulled into a little restaurant, hoping we could spend the night. It turned out to be our little safe haven for the night. The owner of the restaurant, a woman named Huong, was quick to pick up our vibes and asked if we'd like to spend the night in a couple of bamboo chairs in the restaurant; music to our ears. After learning some Vietnamese, the lights were out, and we began to assume a series of different positions in our chairs in hopes of finding a semi-comfortable one. Our sleep was broken into short intervals. We were interrupted by the sounds and lights of frequent trucks going by, vans full of people stopping at the restaurant to use the bathroom, and eventually the cold temperature. Wearing layers of our warmest clothes wasn't quite enough. Again, I thought of the sleeping bag we left behind in Bangkok. Then all of a sudden Huong came downstairs and covered us with a fleece blanket. That is how we spend our 5-year anniversary.

My brain!

Oops left late (More about this later). With 80 million people living in Vietnam it does seem so far like its all towns and villages along the way. One does not know where the towns start or end. We stop at one town to buy fruit from a seller and meet a young man and his mother. He was born in Vietnam but had lived in the USA for 14 years with his immediate family. This was his first time back and he was really enjoying it. At some point we met Sau. Sau spoke pretty good English something he had picked up working as a liaison and aircraft mechanic during the American war. He was probably in his 70s. He asked us if we would like to have coffee and chat for a while before we rode on. It was a nice break before we carried on. We again stopped a little later on for lunch and again later for coffee. Just before our last 30kms, a stomach cried out for food. Just then it started to rain quite heavily and darkness was not far away. As we rode on and darkness settled in the rain started pounding down. We rode uphill continually being passed by trucks, buses, vans, and scooters. We started getting a little concerned about stopping too many times and not staying put in the last town some 30kms back. This is the oops. Just when the nerves felt rather fried we came around a corner that had the dying lights of a resturant. We rode towards it knowing we were not going any further. This is where we met Huong, the proprieter. We ordered a nice sweet coffee, and settled in. She must have picked up on us not wanting to go on further as she asked us quite quickly if we wanted to stay. It was an easy choice. We had to choose between wet, dark, hilly, vehicle-infested road, or not so comfy, cold bamboo chairs. Choice was made. The night was long and cold, but we are now able to understand how many people sleep outside in the cities of Asia with noise, temperatures and uncomfortable beds.



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