A missive is a particularly lengthy communication to inform someone of some new news. Triker Steven Telck is sending missives to interested followers, discussing his current long distance tricycle journey, which includes some folks pedaling two-wheeled conveyances along with him. When a new missive is sent from his distant outposts along the journey, I am one of the ones who receives a copy, and then I share them here on Trike Asylum with you. If you wish to get on Steven’s missive list, and receive them directly in your email box, just email him of your desire, and he’ll place you on the list (email@example.com). And to view all of his photographs of this exotic Asian adventure, just click HERE, and save the link for future photo updates. Okay, now onto Mr. Telck’s third missive of the trip, from his own keyboard to your eyes:
We were getting ready to leave Lao Bao, Vietnam when Richard and I were approached by this women wanting to exchange money on the street. Every guide book in the world says never exchange money on the street. Here in Vietnam the main reason is short change artist. They will attempt to find out how much money you want to exchange in say Thai Baht or Lao Kip. Quick as a flash they are handing over some VND or Vietnamese DONG and yes that is what it is called and saying “OK? “. Well you can bet Aunt Salley’s pension it is not OK. On this deal it was going to cost me $4.40 more than the worst bank rate I had seen.
It is easy to get short changed here in Vietnam as two of the bigger bills are in denominations 10,000, 100,000. Doesn’t take a lot imagination on how that little scam works. When things are moving fast one zero is hard to track. When buying things we are at a disadvantage as no one in the group knows VN numbers. Every vender will simply pull out the amount of money they want from their purse and show you what it costs. Power of money between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. 1 Thai baht is about 3.2 cents, 1 Lao KIP IS about .00012 cents and 1 DONG is about .000044 cents. There are large differences in the three currencies. It is a bit silly to keep notes with such large denominations as say 10,000 VND can buy just about nothing.
The first two hours of riding today were hard. 5 and 6 percent grades, fully loaged with heat for many long kilometers in the heat is a sweaty business. Yes it is winter here just like in the states. Unlike Wyoming and many other parts of the US it is also 75-85 degrees , with a relative humidity high enough for fish to swim by your bicycle. It is sort of like riding steep roads out of hells’ sauna!
Our first meal in VN was an eye opener to say the least. We walked into the restaurant to find literally hundreds of paper knapkins waded up an thrown on the floor, along with pieces of bone and other meal debris. To say the least it did put us off. We had some colds drinks and thought about the old saw “When in Rome”. Our seems a common practice to just throw anything on the floor when you are done with it in some, but not all restaurants. Still have not figured this out as to why people do this in some places and not others.
We are in Hue, Vietnam. It has been raining on and off for a day and a half. At the moment it is not raining, but things are still damp. Damp in Vietnam is relative. For those folks young enough not to remember the Vietnam era Hue is the location you can find below. I have enclosed GPS coordinates. I don’t know if they will work just by clicking on the coordinates when you receive the email. It is possible you have to select them, do I right click and copy, then open either Google Maps or Google Earth and paste it in at the top and hit the search button. It should then take you to the city of Hue and show you where we are on the map.
16.45732,107.58124 … or click this link: (https://www.google.com/maps/place/16%C2%B027’26.4%22N+107%C2%B034’52.5%22Efirstname.lastname@example.org,107.5809232,708m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d16.45732!4d107.58124)
While riding yesterday I was going up a hill very slowly and I saw a young girl on a bicycle on the opposite side of the street. She looked at me and pushed her bicycle across the street and stood waiting on the side of the street as I approached her. She was smiling and then she said very softly “I am so very happy to meet you sir” and smiled at me and then I passed her as she was waving at me. This young girl said this phrase with a soft sweet voice and I imagine it was the only English she knew, but she wanted to practice it. It was one of those unique sweet moments that happen in life from time to time.
I now better understand the folks that have survived hurricanes in Mississippi and Louisiana. The last hotel or guest house we stayed in was moldy to say the least. All night long you could smell the mold that was in the bathroom.
The Perfume River (Sông Hương or Hương Giang; 香江) is a river that crosses the city of Huế, in the central Vietnamese province of Thừa Thiên–Huế Province. In the autumn, flowers from orchards upriver from Huế fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like aroma, hence the soubriquet. One has to take this on faith as the river today looks to be so dirty it is hard to imagine it ever smells like perfume. Keep in mind I said dirty not necessarily polluted with sewage or anything. There must be times of year when the water clears up after the raining stops and dirt stops washing off of the hills and mountains from coming into the river when it cleans up a bit. It must be then then it has some perfume like qualities.
Bread or more specifically French bread in Vietnam is just grand. The only problem is trying to find it. When you use a dictionary and you show someone the word “bakery” they translated as bread. To me and Europeans bakery means some place to buy bread, but also pastries and cakes. It has been a great frustration trying to find a bakery in Hue as everyone just send us to a noodle shop where they always have some bread because they make the bun sandwiches which are very common in Vietnam. The the bread is very good but noodle shops do not carry any croissants, cake or other pastries.
Coffee shops in Hue are thicker than fleas on a dog it seems. Every other shop on any street you walk down seems to be a coffee shop. They are very popular with the younger set and it seems like people spend money and hours a day sitting around drinking coffee and enjoying being together. Unfortunately again one cannot get any bread cake pastry or just anything to eat in these coffee shops. If you want coffee, fruit juice or some other type of drink you can get it all day long, but try to get something to eat with it is not possible.
Well looking into a guest house yesterday a man and young lady came down from upstairs together. The lady was wearing a skirt so short the definition for skirt had to be stretched or to be more specific reduced to make it legitimate. She was wearing one of the usual face masks that many people here use when riding about town to keep pollution and dust out of their lungs. There was no way she was going to ride her scooter home or wherever she was going in that skirt so she wrapped a sarong around herself and motored off. A few moments later and man and a woman similarly dressed road up to the guest house had a short conversation with the lady who is talking to us and went upstairs. It would appear these guest houses are indeed used for many activities or as Richard would say “knocking shops”.
We are very glad that it is technically the dry season otherwise we might drown riding down the road.
Sent from my LG Mobile – end of Missive 3 ——————–
Editor’s Note: I am not seeing very many trike photos in Steven’s collection, so here is an older photograph of his ICE trike from a previous Asian tour he took several years ago:
… and an image of Triker Telck on a United States Telckian trek: