Published: August 4th 2008August 2nd 2008
It is weird riding a bike across a bridge that you feel like you probably should not walk across
So we head down to this girls home town. A province called . She did not tell her family that she was coming or that she was bringing a foreigner. So as you can imagine there was a bit of a commotion when we arrived. At first were quite stand offfish and not very friendly. She explained to me that they were worried I was her boyfriend. She explained to them that this was not the case, but they still did not seem very happy. I continue to say she explained because they do not speak any english and my Vietnamese is quite limited at best.
After meeting her parents we went to her grandmother's house. Her grandmother is very interesting. She remembers when the french came as well as when the americans came. She also speaks a little english. So I had an interesting time talking to her about the wars. Her grandmother was also very nice and did a good job of calming her mother down and convincing her that Thanh and I are just friends.
After the initial hesitance wore off her mother became very friendly. She even paid for hotel room and would not let
Riding Vietnamese Style
At least my face was no longer black after a ride
me buy myself any food while I was there. Her mother also told The first day there I took my motorbike and explored the area alone while Thanh spent time with her family. It was very interesting crossing the rivers on the rickety little wooden bridges with my bike. You could also tell I was off the beaten path because there was a lot of staring going on.
While exploring I found a nice area by the lake and stopped my bike for a while I was sitting there and these 2 little girls came running up to me and then ran away again. After a few minutes one came back dragging the other. They wanted to practice their english, but were very shy. An older gentleman came up and it looked as if he was telling them its okay and to try and practice. We had a small conversation and it seemed to be the highlight of their month. They went running away laughing and screaming. Then 5 minutes later they came running back again to talk a little more.
After a bit I found a nice little cafe by the river and had an amazing cup
Russian Minsk for $100 US
of espresso. Probably the best I have ever had. Later that night I went to have dinner with Thanh and her family. We had some vietnamese pancakes with prok and shrimp. They were tasty although it gets annoying eating the shell of the shrimp. It tastes fine it just doesn't have the best texture. I have noticed they seem to eat the shrimp with the shell on it a lot of the places here.
The next morning Thanh and I went to the market to buy some food. I was cooking lunch for her family. It can be a difficult thing cooking dinner in another country. It is hard to find the ingredients you want. You can find some, but not all so you sort of add lib. I decided to cook spanish food for them as they use a lot of the same herbs. I love how fresh the fish are here. When we bought the fish they were still alive. The lady pulls them out of the water and whacks them on the head they descales and deguts them for you. Nice and easy. the most expensive ingredient of the meal was the olive oil. It cost
In The Market
buying fish to cook for lunch
more than all 4 fish.
It was funny cooking in a small little kitchen in Vietnam. It takes a little finesse as there is no space to work. I was also washing the dishes with a bucket on the floor. I really just wish I could have had a really sharp knife. I tell after cooking for her family her grandmother really loved me. I cooked it at her grandmothers house and she liked to watch me cook in her kitchen. I still am not sure how it went from me visiting her hometown and her cooking local food for me to me cooking for the family, buts thats cool. I really enjoyed it.
So my I recently become the proud owner of an old russian minsk. I bought it for $100 US dollars. I did the math and I figured I would spend that much money renting a bike for the next 2.5 weeks anyways. Why not buy a bike cheap and hopefully sell it for more to a foreigner before I head to Laos. The way it happened is I ran into four English guys who were leaving for Cambodia in the morning. They had 4
bikes they purchased for almost $400 US each in Hanoi 5 weeks earlier. They needed to get rid of the bikes before the next day as they could not bring them with them into Cambodia. I bought 1, an older swiss guy who lives in the north of Vietnam bought 2. Then a coulple of hours later an irish guy bought the last one. They were able to sell the last one to the Irish guy for $150 US (2,500,000 dong). I have the registration and title for the vehicle as well as insurance. They also gave me their original receipt so I could see for myself how much they paid. They paid 7,400,000 dong and I cought it from them for 1,500,000 dong. Not a bad deal for me. I figure there is no reason I can't sell it for 3,000,000 dong when I am done with it.
I can even put it on the train if I get tired of driving and head up on the train with my bike. I have heard in the north of Vietnam there are a lot more dirt roads and the paved roads are in worse condition. It will be nice
It was nice to be cooking. It had been a while.
to have a real dirtbike below me that hugs that road and had a good suspension system. I am looking at this as good training for my 3 month motorcycle tour through India next year.
See you on the road
There are more photos below