Nha Trang Beach
The blogger that is who. And the blogger in this case is me. Yes, it is not always easy to write a blog. Sometimes you are tired, you are not in the mood, you have a hangover, or you are just not inspired. And yet it is that day of the month/week that you need to write your travelblog. You could ask: 'Why not postpone it till you feel better?' Good question. Well, I am not sure if I will be more inspired tomorrow. I wasn't inspired this whole week, and I have been struggling to come up with a story or theme for this particular blog. So, I think in this case postponement would not do anything. Also, I tend to write a blog every ten or so days when I travel. I have found that this is just about the right amount of time for a blog. Longer and you have too much to talk about and the blog become overly large, shorter and you have too little to tell.
In actual fact I like to look at a day like this as a challenge. It is an interesting exercise in honing my writing skills. I figure if
Beach umbrella's and chairs
I can produce a blog that has, at least, a semblance of quality to it, even in my bad days, that must be a good thing. Perhaps you think I am writing this from my laptop, or maybe have prepared this blog in a notebook or something. None of this, that is not how I work. I don't travel with a laptop and I don't write stuff down along the way that I can use in my next blog. No, I just go into an internet cafe on the prescribed day and hope for divine inspiration. Rather hard when you are not religious. So instead I look for any kind of inspiration.
Normally this isn't a problem. Sometimes because a story or theme for a blog has been forming in my head during the last ten days, other times a conversation with a fellow traveller will form the basis of a blog, and yet other times the words just flow from my fingertips as soon as I sit behind the screen. Today unfortunately isn't such a day. As I don't want to spend all my day staring at a computer screen, I try not to exceed the two hour
Street in old Hoi An
mark for a blog. More than half of that time I am simply waiting for my photo's to upload. Today I also don't want to sit in front of this screen, especially since it keeps flicking on and off. Half of the time that I am writing this, I can't see what I am writing, because the screen turns blank. In fact, this is already the second attempt at this blog. The first one mysteriously disappeared after the screen turned black.
Not only am I sitting behind a temperamental screen, I have also only just arrived on a night bus. I am exhausted, because to be honest, even before getting on that bus I was tired. The last three days haven't been easy, even if they have been interesting.
But I found the solution to today’s problem as you see. I am just going to write about how this whole business of travel blogging works. At least for me, it is naturally different for others. In my case, as I have described above, I write my blogs on a whim, and spend no longer than 30 minutes actually typing it, devoting the rest of the period to sorting
the photo's for the blog, resizing them, and uploading them. Sometimes it takes longer, today is one of those days. It takes longer because this stupid computer keeps flipping me out! Oh, a laptop would be nice on an occasion as this one. But the reward shall be greater for me at the end of this session, having written this tale despite all the setbacks.
To return to how my mind works as far as blogs are concerned. For instance, I have been trying to come up with a theme or story for this blog for the last two days. I thought about talking about the advantages and disadvantages of travelling with somebody else. The reason for this was because about half of the last ten days I have travelled with Janina from Germany. Actually I have bumped into her on most of journey through Vietnam, first meeting her in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta. Until Hoi An, however, we didn't actually travel together, we just kept bumping into each other. It was only after Hoi An that we started sharing rooms and buses.
I wanted to talk about how it can be very nice to have
Cycling along the river front
somebody to share the burden of travelling with, especially when you go somewhere that isn't easy to get to. Phong Nha National Park was the place chosen to get my point across. Yes, you can get there easily. You can take a tour from Hue or some other tourist place, or you can take a bus to some Farmstay nearby, which isn't especially cheap or convenient, at least not if you want some more choices of food or accommodation.
Getting to Phong Nha by public transport is a hassle, and when Janina showed an interest in doing this with me I was quite happy. It would mean going through the hassle with somebody else, which always makes things seem a lot less difficult. So, we went there, we discovered that the village is nice and the accommodation is, if you are with the two of you, reasonably priced. However, we also discovered that the restaurants mostly cater to tour groups and the people who run them are apt to overcharge single foreign travellers and give them rather dismal meals. I ended up with, what was probably my worst meal in Vietnam, for far too much money. Janina ended up
with a charred chicken leg which she refused to eat. We also discovered that renting a bicycle was ridiculously expensive. I suspect they have seen that foreigners are willing to pay 6 dollars a day at the Farmstay, so why not do the same? However apart from these few minor hassles, cycling to Paradise Cave was an amazing, even if it was rather exhausting. And the cave itself was awe inspiring as well.
Back to the point, I was going to talk about how that the experience could have been less nice if I had to deal with all the bad stuff on my own, and how a travel partner with whom you can get along can make a lot of difference in the way you experience a place. I would have then elaborated on the fact that it also works the other way around. Choose the wrong partner and a trip can be trying at best, disastrous at worst. Yes, that was my first idea for this blog, however, I didn't know how to fill a whole blog with it, so instead I chose to write about the difficulty of writing. I think I chose well, since I
have managed quite well so far.
Perhaps in my next installment I will talk about travelling in pairs, or maybe not, I will as always let chance guide my course.
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