Vietnam: South, to Adventure!

15 Feb

Rachel and I were ready to leave Ho Chi Minh City.  The plan was to rent a motorcycle and hit the road!  South central Vietnam!  I was to drive and she, along with our backpacks, were to be strapped onto the back.  I was super excited.

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The trip: Oh yes, it’s colour coded.

 

Minor change:  Unfortunately, the day we left Tét was still ramping up and we hit waves of traffic.  Rachel and I both felt strongly that this wasn’t the safest move and we returned to our favorite guest house, The Link, deciding, instead, to leave first thing the next morning #safetyfirst

Rachel and I were determined to beat traffic!  This was going to work.  We left at 3:25AM.  I repeat, we left at 3:25AM.  With our bags strapped down and our plans in order, I was ecstatic.  Rachel and I drove off into the dark, wee hours of the morning and encountered our first problem; a cracked muffler that sounded like a gunshot going off every 5 minutes.  We pulled over to google if this was going to be an actual problem or just disruptive (the latter), and continued on our way, sounding like total bad-asses.  Things were going well until about 6AM when, to our shock and dismay, we were once again engulfed in bumper to bumper traffic. This wasn’t just Saigon traffic –  which is notoriously some of the worst in the world — This was Saigon traffic, during Tét, on a motorcycle, with a pretty girl holding onto the back.  Honestly, it’s the hardest driving I’ve ever done.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, was heading into the countryside for this national week-long holiday.  This drive was too risky.  Feeling deflated, Rachel and I found a roadside stop, pulled over, and made the difficult decision to forgo the motorcycle portion of this trip.  It was hot, dangerous, and neither of us felt safe.  Plus, returning the bike in HCM was tough on our budget.  We had paid in full and, of course, since the mistake was ours, we forfeited all of the money, about $80 each. Ugh, Tét.  For the rest of our trip, Tét became the answer for whenever things weren’t going our way.  Oh, they’re out of green tea kit kats?  Must be Tét.  Why did that Swiss guy keep bothering us? Tét.  That road is closed? Well of course, it’s Tét.

Once again, Rachel and I showed up at our favorite guest house in HCM, The Link.  Nga, the manager was surprised and happy to see us.  We told her what had happened and she consoled us by help organize a two-day tour down south along the Mekong Delta.  We were to leave the next day.  Starting at 8AM seemed like a well-deserved sleep-in.

 

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On a boat: We saw the famous floating markets!

 

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Drank hot coffee on the river.

 

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Saw a huge sitting Buddha.

 

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Went on a a gorgeous river trip.

 

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Sampled warm, coconut candy at a coconut candy factory, bought some, and spent the rest of the trip trying to keep it safe from the ants.

 

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Slept in a homestay.  (This photos makes the bed look soft.)

 

We saw plenty of above-ground graves in rice paddy fields (so that when they flood farmers can identify which farm is theirs).  We cracked up seeing turtles slapping each other repeatedly at the temple Jade wooden temple.  And admired the hammocks on the side of the road for motorcycle drivers to stop and rest (brilliant).  It was a great trip.  Made all the better by not having to drive ourselves.

 

 

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There are some rusty nails on that child’s see-saw.  Probably because of Tét.

 

When we finally left Vietnam, after our successful bus tour down south, we had a layover in Singapore, the nicest airport in the world. We ate ramen, walked around multiple gardens, and wished we could spend more time.  But alas, our flight was leaving.  Next stop?  Thailand!

 

The Year of the Rooster,
‘mi

One Response to “Vietnam: South, to Adventure!”

  1. deekerson October 30, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

    Love it. Love #safetyfirst.

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