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Published: December 3rd 2012
Nice to know
Its always good to know that the toilet is clean...
A new day in our race-to-get-our-visas-renewed, we planned to drive the 200 km to Buon Ma Thuot (or Ban Me Thuot), which meant an early start. We found some delicious street food for breakfast (bo né, beef with eggs, a local specialty, was just what we needed, 4 of them and some delicious local coffee set us back almost 2 dollars...).
Winding through the mountains, and now finally getting into the swing of things (though every day it takes less time for our butts to go numb and Sadie's driving wrist to ache), we climbed further and further into coffee country. Whereas before the roads were full of corn and taro root drying in the sun, now every single house we passed was using every available inch of land to dry coffee beans. The towns, also, began changing in appearance, looking more and more like something out of a western movie, like true pioneer mountain boarder towns. Their exterior is sometimes in sharp contrast with a shiny satelite dish on the roof or the fact that on the inside, this shack is actually a rather modern-looking hair salon/doctor's office (most places have at least two uses).
We stopped in
or at least the back yard of the kitchen where we had lunch on the road
Ea H'Leo for lunch, and just as we were getting off our bikes we witnessed our first accident. We heard the crunch of plastic and saw a young man fly quite far off his bike, as an older woman lay in the middle of the street. We immediately rushed to help, though many others were quicker. No one seemed very alarmed, both people walked away, and the bikes were still going. The locals who saw us rush to the scene took it upon themselves to remind us to drive carefully, and after our lunch, gave us a master class in securing our bags onto our bikes (Sadie's was being particularly difficult that day). Again we became quite the attraction when we pulled out our map book, people were turning it every which way and were amazed that their town's name was on this odd drawing full of lines and words... Another hint to how far off the beaten track we were were all the dialects and languages people were speaking to us (and how even a slightly wrong tone in our pronunciation led to complete misunderstanding, even when pointing at the thing mentioned).
We continued our journey through the
these vehicles are very common in Vietnam, or some variation over the theme
highlands, passing uncountable café shacks with hammocks along the way – if only we didn't have to drive 200 km before nightfall....
Arriving in Buon Ma Thuot was a pleasure, as there was a tiny little map in our guidebook which included a gigantic roundabout with a huge communist statue (a hard-to-miss landmark). We found a place to stay in no time, and soon saw why Sadie's bag had been sliding all day – the luggage rack's welding points had disintegrated and the rack was hanging loose (getting most of its support from the break light).
After finding a mechanic close by who agreed to fix it if we brought the bike back at 7 am, we ran into a Belgian couple who had been following our same route (down to the hotels and guest houses) from Kham Duc, and we all went out for dinner and beers.
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