The Telkian Trek continues – Missive number Five
I have noticed various reactions to our presence. It is by far that my trike is the greatest curiosity. Some people giggle, while others laugh like they can’t believe they just saw a foriegnor pedal by on a trike. Many give me the thumbs up. Almost everyone wants a picture of the trike usually without me on it. That kind of puts a point on what they value in the picture. Teenagers can be a pain. I am crushing down the road holding aggie cadence when the punk up on either a gas or electric scooter. Don’t mind them taking photos or videos until they decide to pull in front of me and start slowing down. There goes my cadence. Some times the ride alone side of me. Again no swear until they get so involved with the pictures or videos the forget to give me enough space to pass parked trucks, so there goes my cadance again. On hills it is a real pain requiring big gear drops and off course a big drop in speed. Takes a bit of effort getting 235# of me, plus another 30# of gear back up to speed.
We just did the evening let’s see if we can be understood game. Roger was seeking hot water for his instant noodles which he is presently living on like a starving student. The Guesthouse owner asked if the hot water was for drinking. He didn’t want it for drinking so he didn’t know what to do. Came upstairs grabbed the bowl of instant noodles and took them down stairs. He didn’t get half way too the kitchen before they were picking up the kettle to meet him halfway. Success, who says it isn’t the little things that count. First solid functional communication since our arrival.
I am fearless leader, holder of the sacred GPS, leader of men and one fool who managed to get lost amongst the thousands of motorcycles playing chicken with me in Dana Green. Left the guys with their blessings to seek out a new cycling computer and managed to get lost trying to get back to the group. Sent out an emergency email to both parties asking for their location. They were heading back to the hotel. I was so frazzled I could not remember the name of the hotel. I fearless leader had to ask for the name so I could punch it into Google maps. It turns out who ever entered the GPS coordinates has the hotel about 400 meters off from its true location and there are true hotels with the same name. I had ridden past the alley four times until suddenly Roger appeared in the street with his bike to shout at me so I could find my way back the last 100 meters. Not my greatest day of navigation.
Within the area we have been riding lately have passed but, through and around mote Chinese have yards.as can be seen in the pictures they are packed in some areas. New g roads go through mid these old graveyards. Literally thousands poof greaves must have had to be moved for the new roads. It doesn’t seem as the roads are laid out in any manner to avoid the graves. Many are really ornate and well maintained.others looked to not having anyone care for them for a long time. I am assuming they is no one to care for true graves so to the war. Might not be true. It Kiowa estimated nearly 3.3 million civilians, North and South army members and others died in the war. How many escaped or immigrated to other countries would only make a shortage of living caretakers of graves that much worse.
I have only seen one Buddhist temple so far in country in Hoi An. I have also only seen three former catholic churches. That seems to be a thriving market for large fancy Buddha images along south lions and other carvings. If you many are ten to Tammy feet tall. Again i assume the market is not in Vietnam. Must be for export to China. I can’t see hippie they are transported without damage as some are so delicate.
Almost every rural house has some sort of garden. We see straw laying all over the public roads drying before being stacked. Gains are laid out on the asphalt and ranked back and forty to dry out. I don’t know if it is for human consumption or for live stock. Saw a lady washing snake head fish on the street and then picking them up and throwing them back into a tub.
Best cup of drop coffee I have ever had is made in the little aluminum cups in one of the pictures. Strong, robust, and not bitter.. Made with warm water and not cold and bike rider wanting to get back on the road as they take ages to drill half a cup of coffee through, but side makes good coffee. The method is called a Phineas filter system. Might purchase one I in stainless before I leave the country.
The last guesthouse was economical in price and a good room. Around 11:39 PM several trains came by. First one I thought was coming through the room. The tracks were only about 200 room. Only one had the bad manners to blow a horn from hell playing or hotel, at least I think only one. Amazing how well I one sleeps after a drug of pushing down the road in the heat and humidity. Also equally amazing is how much strength the humidy Scapa from one body when working hard. Short of like being in a warm sauna all day long..
Government wants to improve the English ability of the young, but nearly all present teachers who teach English can not pass a basic qualifying level in English as reported by an article in a newspaper. A great need for teachers, but no where near the salaries of Korea, China or Taiwan economic powerhouses in Asia,so they struggle to attract withe qualified VN teachers or foreign. If like Thailand biggest market for English trajectory is the large cities leaving rural areas short of qualified teachers.
So hate we are coming into this little town. I start hearing this familiar looks rumble. It is a memory from the old days. Long dormant synapses start to fire up. Damn if it doesn’t sound like a pack of Harleys coming down the road, but in Vietnam? Well next I see helmets coming into view with GoPros on top, Rayband sun glasses and handle bars wide enough to be Texaco long horns. To my surprise everyone waves at little old, non powered me. They rumbled by and that was that. Don’t know if they were American, European and really rich Vietnamese dobby their version of “Easy Rider”.
So many things happen way too far in Vietnam for me to capture soothe on camera or video. I have personal goals, one stay alive by not letting a speeding truck or bus take me out, two navigate for the group so we don’t end up in let Mongolia, three try to avoid enough potholes so I can finish the tour without another frame breaking as I am in the unique club of I broke my ICE frame, fought out what to eat in a country where most everything being offered is totally unknown.
We are 15 days into the tour and we are just getting to the point where we get the coffee we want in a country where you throw a handful of rocks in any given direction and hit 4 coffee shops. Finally found a decent audio dictionary that seems to be working well. As stated before many people look at a word in Vietnamese and seem very puzzled, but the audio always works. We have tried 4 different dictionaries with the same results so it must be a reading issue. I know I can ‘the read a word of Thai myself, but can understand many words. I don’t know if this language would be easier to learn than Thai, but at least they do use Roman letters even if non of the words are pronounced as they would be in English. The word Pho is noodle soup, but is pronounced as “fir” as in the tree or garment.
Stranger in a strange land we are.
Now in the town of Bong Son