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Published: April 29th 2013
Rode from 830 today. Ate good cheap food. Listened to The Joe Rogan Experience- had been getting withdrawal. Rested enough times but its not super easy on a soft boy like man like me. But its easy enough. Was shown all kinds of cool things like the differences between coffee plants, how sweet potato grows, eating banana stalks, rice harvesting, noodle making. Not to mention the views. Well I guess that is mentioning the views. And they do deserve a mention. What great views. There. I mentioned them.
Stopped at a rice harvest where they were laying out rice on the road. A soothsayer kid with a walking stick, a big blind eye, a moustache (ok maybe not a kid just fairly short), and a mumbly mouth came up to me. I waved hello. Mumblestein kinda waved back and then reached onto my partly exposed chest, brushing the hair with his fingers. I think it pleasethed him not so much. He walked away a mumbling (he's doing it! he's doing his thang!) and I turned away. Perhaps he can sell me some rice based body wax I thought and turned back... but he was already gone...
... around the
fence and tree... to his house (I hope and not back into the ether like all spirit-daemons tend to fancy).
Got to our target location Lak Lake after about 4.5-5hrs of actual riding. Meandered through a marketplace and into another very hands on person, a dude, he tried to sell me a few things including a shirt and possibly his self as he, after pointing to some fancy shirts, stroked down the front of my torso and generously flicked past the little brain's home. Maybe he went to the same school as the ninja but she was much much more advanced in her skills. I laughed and shook my head but when he went to do his patented "special sales technique" again i caught his arm halfway down, laughed and told him khong cam on (no thank you).
Afterwards, went to a temple and appreciated the lords and ladies of the higher realms. A cheeky old lady came up to me and touched the buddhas bald head and then my bald head and she and the lady monk laughed. I was mortified of course and touched my own belly and then the buddhas belly
and they both laughed again. The old opportunist led me back in and turned on the shimmering b/g behind the Buddha- motioning that I take a photo. I did and then was leaving but she pointed grinning to the donation box. I shook my fist at her and gave them a mega grand total of like $1.23 or something. Well played old gal. Well played ($&%#...)
Most of the kids I pass in the street say "hello" whilst one even said "good morning" (it was late afternoon... smartass). Ahhh yeah also "hello" followed by a much lesser pleasantry with a middle finger and smile. I inspected his middle finger and told him that is not how you show hello. Not overly too many tourists out this way I suspect. I walked to the edge of town, got a coke and watched a strategy game being played on an old wooden board. I kinda barely maybe grasped the possible likely could be rules but it would take at least 20 games watching and a pen n paper to hope to try to play. Not drink at all tonight and realise I haven't really been well and truly drunk
in Vietnam- possibly the last night in HCMC I guess for a while at least but otherwise just a few most days... and it's cheap as... and available. Why do I do things the wrong way/time/place?
Had actual sleep even though it was punctuated with a dozen wakeups so felt relatively dandy. Rode to a minority village- built raised a level as seems the norm around here. Saw pigs n piglets, dogs n pups, chickens n chicks. Elephants too. Took a postcard shot of a moored canoe I swear was left there as a local joke to see how many touring replicants would wade through muck to take the exact same shot. Well screw you, you imagined jokesters, I still like the photo.
Went to the brick factory. I know i know, excitement never stops in B-town. Now I can never look at a brick the same way. Dudes were in great shape hoeing into a mountain of clay and feeding it into a engine that was shitting out a stream of rectangular clay, complete with holes, what was sliced with auto wire cutters and picked up by girls doing QA at the end
Man what the hell is this crap? REFUND PLEASE SAHR!
of the line, throwing out the rubbish and loading up the good onto trolleys. These ladies had smoking hot figures from all the moving and pushing and lifting also- good ol' manual labour 😊 We were never meant to be living the way we do in orifices and similar. Not that I want to go off and make bricks- waaayyy too hard for this here muppet. Then there was drying and baking etc but meh to that- the clay clumping and brick making was where the party was at.
Some ruins, coffee and a concrete tank later and we were riding to some sweet waterfalls, hi-fiving some boys as we rode by. Sinh, my driver, apologised sorta that there has been not much rain, and the waterfalls were running at what appeared to be 20%- but what a 20%! Got remedially pounded by a side cave "trickle" and then spent entirely too short a time splashing about before leaving for a place to stay.
Saw more cashew, rubber, and cocoa trees before arriving at a well basic hotel- "the real Vietnam" Sinh chuckled at his previous number one selling statement but I agreed to
The grass is always greener...
... when its not grass at all but rice!
stay there- $7.50 for two ppl. AND included a half dozen geckos or skinks or whatever they are free of charge. Mossie eating fiends I am thinking.
Had dinner and a young dude, presumably on a date, came and sat next to me, asking basic questions in English. I tried to always respond in Vietnamese and by the end he shook my hand and kissed my cheek. I just don't know where the gay line is here but I guess it is a bit further along in the sand than in Australia. Oh well, it was a nice interaction. There was another local there reeking of the moron and I could see he was being insulting judging from Sinhs reactions. Well whatever. It's not a great day without at least one.
So we began the final day of our ride earlier than we had been. I listened only a little while to the podcast- just trying to suck up and absorb as much as I could of the experience. Riding is tougher than driving and much tougher than a sleeper bus. And I didn't even have to think or concentrate much as I was
the passenger. The ocean was a welcome sight. Blue boats bobbed in the bay. Blue street lights too. We rode in on a blue bike, both in blue shirts. There seems a consistent theme here methinks. When I work it out, I'll get back to you.
After a little sightseeing and lunch, Sinh dropped me off at an decent enough hotel. I wrote a brief letter of commendation in his book, shook his hand with tip enclosed in palm (dealer style... werd up), he gave us a hug and we parted. I like that man. I think he's had a relatively hard life and has a good heart all the same. And he is cheeky.
I went a walking and found a dive-store bar thing. I eavesdropped on a conversation between trainer and trainees and approached him afterwards. He sold on the idea to me but sealed it by offering to be my instructor AND it would be one-to-one. Real nice dude. English chap by the name of Fergus. Seemed a super good choice for me to learn from. Diving for years but only in his twenties. Had some more beer and ended night
with dinner and a massage.
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