Vietnam (#17)

Pictures, pictures, pictures!

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I headed from Halong Bay to Catba island. The last official stop on my Vietnam adventure.

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I had a hostel picked out right near the water.

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That night, a group of us went to a sunset spot. The guy in the pic with the glasses is a friend I had met at the waterfall on the border way up north.  : )

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The next day I went on short hike in the national park and caught this cute little guy.

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Later that day I explored the more downtown area.

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I made my way back to Hanoi and my bike is up for sale. Still processing and smiling from all of the wonderful experiences I have been so thankful to have here. Hope you guys have enjoyed the pictures. It has been great sharing them with you.

Thank you for all the support, from the emails to the donations I have received. Who knows what’s next… I am not sure, but I am excited.

Have an awesome rest of your day or night!

 

 

Vietnam (#16 a road less traveled)

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Driving down the road from Meo Vac I saw this guy just enjoying the view on this slightly raining morning and drove up a little dirt path to get this picture and of the nice scenery.

I am going to miss so much these quiet roads and seeing everyone out working away. 20180503_09194320180503_093821

Well not everyone… : )

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It is hard a lot of times to really capture so much of the experience in this blog but I do try. Driving these extremely quiet roads and then coming into very small villages, avoiding the chickens, being waved too by the kids, and seeing the classrooms with kids studying away is truly an incredible experience.

I am going to miss this so much when I do head onto the next thing. It’s fun seeing kids just be kids. They always shout out hello to me, and I see them doing funny things like dragging a stick back and forth for a long long time behind them. (And it makes me so happy to see it.) Takes me back. No special reason…maybe because its fun, maybe just because.

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Check out this naked little kid waving away at me with some type of machete. 😀

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So many gorgeous sweeping views too.

Cute dogs are everywhere roaming around and its fun to stop and pet them.

Lots of little local rest stops come up and this one convinced me to stop to grab a snack and drink today.

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Pool is a big thing here! 

I eventually reached Cao Bang, and decided to press on to a home-stay closer to this waterfall I had heard about.

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It started to get dark and I went to the place I would be sleeping. What a cool dynamic it was in this home-stay. It was a really neat experience with the grandmother watching the grandchildren and the mother and father cooking for us and pulling out extra beds when others showed up. They made us an awesome family dinner.

It was a very old raised wooden house with tons of mosquitoes and other insects. The family set up bug nets for us at night but I turned a fan on, allowing a small space at the bottom of the net to be blown away from the bed. : /  The girl that was sleeping to my left saw a cockroach and was doing her best to get it away, and then it went between her mattress and the wooden floor. She was freaking out jumping everywhere on the mattress to try and squish it so she could actually fall asleep. Eventually, she found it again and moved it outside after it stopped moving.

At around 4 o’clock I woke up to something that felt like a gecko on my neck!!! I love geckos and didn’t want to hurt it so moved my hand up to this wet feeling thing on my neck! IT jumped away! I grabbed my phone and turned on the flashlight to see that it was a frog that had climbed on my neck! 😛 I was able to maneuver the cute little guy out and fall back asleep.

In the morning, after a breakfast provided from the family, I headed to Ban Gioc waterfall.

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Gorgeous! Sadly, it is right on the border of China.. The other side of the water is China… You are not allowed to swim or go up to the awesome pools in the middle layer of the waterfalls. : ( There is barbed wire preventing you from even trying to get up there.

Pius had a drone and got this cool shot showing the crazy pools halfway up. His instagram is “s.pi.rit.us”. Thanks for the cool shot Pius! : ) Great to meet you guys.

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Can you imagine if I could have gone up there!!?  Ahh!! So cool.

On the way back I was hungry and stopped at this local lady selling something in banana leaves. Feeling adventurous I tried communicating to ask for two. She ended up giving me more than I paid for, a cucumber, and insisting that I have some of this chicken she had in a bowl.

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I have really been so overwhelmed at the warmth of the Vietnamese and their kindness. She would say some stuff to people passing as I sat there smiling and some other guys showed up to smile with me. What a beautiful place Vietnam and its people are.

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It had like a ground beef in it, and was very gelatinous. (And good)

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I ran into some other american travelers who I was able to help a little bit in putting on a patched tire, and stayed the night In Cao Bang.

Check out this cool row of outside barbers who tried to draw me to trim up my luscious locks!

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From Cao Bang, I headed to Bac son on very off the beaten path routes and enjoyed the road to myself for a good long time. The locals would look at me and it felt different than my other trip so far. I really felt out of place but still welcome.

It was so peaceful out here. Potholes all over the road and lots of road to slowly enjoy the green quiet view everywhere.

Much further down the road I stopped to check out a view on this bridge and some friendly kids wandered over to practice their English and pointed enough to the pennyboard for me to pull it of the back rack for them to try.

 

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So green. So great.

I stopped for a water and ended up having a beer with some locals while waiting out some rain. 20180505_144734

The family that owned the little store even offered me to stay in their house that night but I had already picked out another homestay. I met 5 slightly older Czech guys that night and then headed on down the next day to Halong bay.

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Gotta stretch out sometimes 
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Wedding! : ) 

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Love my coconut drink stops.

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Banh Mi lunch stop.

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These guys (pictured below) stopped at the same place and we chatted with google translate for a little bit and he gave me some wet wipes as I was a little messy from the sandwich and sweating a bit. I was very thankful and he insisted on giving me the rest of the little pack. I asked to pay and pay for Thanh and his brothers sandwich but he wouldn’t let me! As I tried to hand the lady the money he spoke to her in Vietnamese and even payed for my sandwich! He said welcome to Halong and gave me a huge smile as he set back off on his bike.   20180506_122714

I set off amazed.

Further down the road was this great sight! The head of the pig is stuck in the middle. You can just see it’s snout. 20180506_130924

I am gonna really miss the roadside fruit stands too.

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And to finish us out for the night.. Here are a few pics of Halong Bay.

Hope you enjoyed. : )

Have a good ones guys!

 

Vietnam (#15!)

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So cool to be in a place where it isn’t over run by tourists and people will walk over quickly to excitedly take a picture with ya.

So fun seeing what life is like for some of the kids here. : )

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The next morning kept pace with the level of awe being heavily laid on me as the scenery kept changing in the best ways all around me. 20180501_09265220180501_09254020180501_09293220180501_093324

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I wish I had written down the name of the amazing local guides. They were all so wonderful. The leader of the group stopped us at this random house on the way and said “just one second!” It kinda looked like a mechanic shop. He walked in and started chatting as he would always do (like everyone is his best friend,) and then after a minute walked out with some longan fruit, and explained that it was his sisters and her families house! So awesome! She walked out and we all said hello before heading on down the road.

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Please enjoy these nice pictures showing just a small glimpse of how lovely the roads and scenery are! 20180501_10494220180501_11471020180501_11573720180501_12121120180501_121256

I have thought about organizing a tour myself… Hmm….A friend from Puerto Rico was actually leading tours here for a couple months. You might spend like 20 dollars a day… Maybe. The first place I was staying for the night with free breakfast was 90,000 dong. Thats $3.95.  (The beds are pretty hard, but hey! $3.95)

At this point in the day we got to Lung Cu.. The very very northern part of Vietnam and we came upon this unofficial way to get into China! Our guide said to be careful as the Chinese police are not very nice. Just a quick peek.

 

Aaaaaanddddd we were back to Vietnam.

Just down the road we got to a lookout and wow Vietnam!

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On our way back we took a small break, and I started climbing things and just goofing around. (As I love to do.) And everyone else started really getting into it! 20180501_15413620180501_15493820180501_15412620180501_15460320180501_154857

 

Such an amazing group. I am so thankful to be able to do this amazing experience with! Love you guys! We kept driving with so many smiles and having all the fun there is to be had. : ) 20180501_155757(0)

Its pretty funny how there was no flagger or anything. Haha. We just rolled up beeping away and then slipping past once he saw us and stopped for a second.20180501_15583620180501_16000720180501_160140

We climbed some rocks after taking a really bad/fun road to this gorgeous viewpoint. 20180501_16133520180501_161342

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See the guy on the left on the rocks!

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We made it to our next sleeping arrangement and had nice dinner before going out to enjoy some Vietnamese karaoke.

 

The next morning I would only be joining the group for a fairly short but brilliant ride before they headed back to Ha Giang while I headed another way.

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The Ma Pi Leng pass is equally as impressive if not more than the other stuff I have seen in the past couple of days. What a sight!

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They had a nice no falling sign that you can see in the picture right above!20180502_11031520180502_11164120180502_11205620180502_112726

Don’t worry Mom! I was very careful as it really did drop pretty much straight down in a lot of spots! 20180502_11273320180502_113313

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After saying our goodbyes, I got a myself a guesthouse in Meo Vac and have been working on my blog. It is raining here in this little town between the mountains.

Thanks for joining me everyone.

Until the next time then.

P.S. I am getting really good at using chopsticks.

 

Vietnam (Northern Loop #14)

I thought I had seen what there was to see in Vietnam. I thought I had captured the best of the best beautiful scenery that Vietnam had to offer. Boy was I dead wrong.

My mind has been blown over the past couple of days with sights that are the most dazzling parts of my best dreams. Views that took my breath away, and motorcycle roads that are the best I have ever ridden.

Lets begin.

Hanoi to Ha Giang started to remind me how much I enjoy the calmer less bustling peaceful towns.

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People I had met and talked to from Southern Vietnam had said how the North was their favorite. When I set off the next day the roads remained wonderfully empty with enticing mountains coming into view.

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Look at those babies! They surely have some cool secrets. 20180430_095705

Coming up to Heavens gate I couldn’t help but have my mouth open at the scale of the mountains all around me.

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Breathtaking! To my utter excitement the roads took the most sweet, lovely, curving route up, up, and even further up. I was beaming! I couldn’t help but want everyone to be able to do this in person. I was stopping everywhere, just saying “WOW!” over and over.

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The road kept climbing with more lovely switchbacks. 20180430_105230

With some coolness from the elevation I slowly rode by farmers, kids on bikes, and small towns at the top of these mountains. At one nice little coffee break I met Megan, Erika, and Maarten from Holland. They were on a guided tour and invited me to ride with them. Off we set down the mountain a stop at some very anatomically shaped landmarks.20180430_110045

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Fairy Bosom

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Looking good Maarten

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The road from here kept getting better and better. There is so much to just try and take in. What is it they say again? A picture is worth a thousand words. COMMENCE THE beautiful pictures DUMP!

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Stone Honey. Quite tasty

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Sugar cane juice with the rest of the crew (Erika on the far right and then Megan)

We kept riding right on the edge of the cliffs, with our hearts racing from the unparalleled beauty around us.

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It was really cool being able to join their group with the local guides knowing everyone at these unique stops from doing the trip so many times. With the bridge (above) we stopped and sat down for some tea that this lady was selling for about 25 cents a cup. The guides were chatting it up like old friends. I felt so disappointed that I wasn’t able to connect with people like you can knowing the language.

MORE pictures!!!

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So many things to appreciate as you slowly motor along, like the people swimming down at the river, the locals with their kids, and especially the truly magnificent surroundings.

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I cannot believe I hadn’t heard about this enchanting fairy tale of a place and heavenly motorcycle roads before, and hope that it doesn’t change. I am thankful to say I have seen a lot and this place really raises the bar.

I am going to break these picture heavy posts up and work on the next one right now.

 

 

 

Vietnam (#13)

The next day started with a 3 hour boat trip (for a whopping 8 dollars) through gorgeous scenery near nihn binh. Here are some pictures of the boat trip at Trang An.

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Fun fact about the area, it was actually a filming location for the movie King Kong skull island.

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Many of the caves we went under were quite a tight fit. 20180423_120342

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Tranquility

The silence in this area as we rowed around was so wonderful.

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If you look closely at the pictures you can see that the people rowing would even switch to their feet sometimes to give their arms a rest.

The next day I set off for Hanoi. This was a big milestone for me as it was the last place on my map that I had originally planned on going to. I could sense that feeling of change in the air. It is kinda exciting and scary at the same time not knowing exactly what is next or how much you will miss what is starting to come to a close.

It was quite a short ride from Nihn Binh at around 3 hours. The road had some very intense cliffs.

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I honestly don’t know if I am going to be able to drive without getting tons of tickets back in the U.S. The way that people can and do drive wherever there is room on the road here is the most amazing thing. One way street? Nope…. That’s a two way street for motorbikes. Its going to be so boring having to stay inside the lines and not see fun things while going down the road everyday.

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Nice

 

Hanoi is so fun. So many shops, so many things to see. Please enjoy this nice compilation of pictures! : ) 20180424_001433

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Egg Coffee. So thick and very delicious

 

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A wild free for all, driving on the streets here.

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Haircut anyone?

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There is constantly so many people I bump into who I have met further South. Always so much fun seeing familiar faces.

There is a really neat game here that people play using their feet, a net, and a little hacky-sack like thing. These guys were very skilled and played right outside of my hostel. 20180426_154519

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Tune in next week for the northern loop. : )

 

 

Vietnam (#12)

Phong Nha had another boat-able cave to be explored, and a group of us set off for the dock.

It was only on the way out that we got off the boat and did a little exploring at the entrance of the cave. One poor guy who was supposed to watch and make sure people weren’t damaging anything, was so exhausted and kept nodding off. I sat there and watched him try and stay awake. He was one of my favorite attractions on this cave tour!

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There were some really huge stalagmites and stalactites.

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I moved to check out another hostel in Phong Nha and everyone in Vietnam has loved my penny board. At the first hostel the lady checking me in got really excited and grabbed the board to try it out. The ladies at the second hostel got equally as excited and I smiled so big watching them try it out with pure joy on their faces.

For those that don’t have a motorcycle to drive through Vietnam, many people take sleeper buses. I saw one on the side of the road and snapped a pic really quickly.

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The next day I headed out to Vihn along the ever lovely Ho Chi Mihn highway.

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Very charming roads.

I didn’t try and see anything in particular in Vihn and just had a nice quiet time. I had picked up a little bit of a nasty cough and took it easy to feel better. On the motorcycle route many people only go to Vihn as a stopping point to break up an otherwise very long ride.

I grabbed a bite to eat and had a nice chat with some local ladies who impressed me with their very good English.

They steered me toward a local delight of Che. Which had a kind of syrup/yogurt, red beans, mango pieces and some other stuff. It was good. Very similar to some of the stuff I had grown up with in the Philippines.

The next day was the push to Nihn Binh. The road offered up a taxidermy shop with either some very strange looking Vietnamese deer or a different level of skill in the art of preserving animals!

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Poor guys.

I stopped for lunch at a spot with a whole bus full of military guys. They were friendly and we talked with google translate for a little bit. 20180421_110513

My route took me to on some very quiet roads with lots and lots of potholes. With excitement and adventure pumping through my veins, I would keep smiling and shouting back hello to the local kids and say hello in Vietnamese to others riding beside me.

One group of guys piled three deep on a scooter gave me a very warm response and kept my smile going strong as I passed them. Just down the road, my throat was parched and I was lured into this stop with a group of delicious looking coconuts just sitting by the side of the road. The same friendly group of guys showed up and stopped at the same place just a couple minutes later. They insisted on paying for my coconut, offered to buy me a beer to have with them, or even another coconut if I wanted. We chatted about my trip, how beautiful Vietnam is and more!

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Such a great group of guys, right around my age, who worked out here! We shared some pictures and many smiles. (These kind of interactions are my favorite, by far!) It was so so good to meet you guys! Thank you for all your kindness and I hope I can repay the favor sometime if you are ever traveling through my country. : )

I rode out thanking them so much, and feeling like I was losing some really good friends. It was only a short ride to my hostel in Nihn Binh and the next day I headed off to a beautiful little hike with some others staying at the same spot.

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See the boats down on the river?

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At the second peak we got a beer and all just sat at the edge enjoying the view and breathing in the fresh air. And what a view.

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We went to one other large temple and huge pagoda as well but I wasn’t convinced to add any pictures of it here except for this one at the top.

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And that is where I will leave it on this one…

As always, hope you enjoyed!

P.S. The other thing so many people ask me is about my seat cover/bath mat. Here’s a bonus picture of another rider from the hostel trying it out. haha. So comfy!

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Vietnam (#11 Heyoo)

Waking up early we headed with a small group to be briefed on our jungle trek.

We were told to be careful where we touch and watch out for bombs.

The first thing that we signed was this release to not sue pretty much no matter what happened. The first picture with the red was this poster about landmines still being a problem in Vietnam. Reading about this, coming from the U.S., really was horrible. I am so thankful to not have to worry about this back home, and so sad that this is a real concern here.

We each were given a pair of trekking boots and started to head up into the Jungle. It was a 12 kilometer hike and was a full day trip.

The guide and the other porters all wore these great sandals.

With all the rain the path was super muddy and our guide “Man” gave us some more info once we were about 1 hr into the trip. We all gathered around and started to understand the release waiver as we learned about these green extremely poisonous green snakes. Man told us how no one should be touching any of the bushes as the small snakes like to sit there and wait for prey. These green snakes are so venomous that within 1 hour of being bitten your heart will stop. He continued to say how other hunters in the jungle would be bitten and then cut of whatever was bitten to stay alive and not have an arm or leg but still have their life!!! I definitely would be keeping my hands close and trying not to die.

After following our guide for another half hour or so, I started to loosen up a bit and not worry. Our whole group was able to push the thought to the back of our minds and start to have some fun. (while still being cautious!) There was also a plant like poison ivy that we had to watch out for and Man, without joking, said to let him know if we see something else like a bomb. He (29 years old) has been doing this for 3 years now. I asked him if he has seen the snakes to which he said yes. His English wasn’t that great, but I asked if anyone had ever been bit, or broken an ankle. (The path was wonderfully challenging.) I am not sure if he heard me but he didn’t really answer. I proceeded to ask if he carried the antivenom, but didn’t really get a response either. He must not have heard me. : /

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Yup… My feet are under the mud.

ARMS up! Elbows in!

Man would shout out when he saw some poison and we would all relay the message back! “Poison, left side!” Or “Poison, both sides!”

Phil tripped on the trail and fell into this bush that was right by the poisonous one. Here is the review seeing if he fell into the bad one or not.

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His arm didn’t show any signs of a rash forming. Whew.. close one. That would have stayed with him for about a week if he had fallen just a little bit differently.

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We had made it to the backside of the dark cave and went in about 700 meters.

The group all turned off the lights and yelled once we were far enough in for complete darkness! : )

The next cave we headed too was the nicer one for swimming. 20180417_131158

I talked with Man a bit more on this leg of the trip asking if he had ever gone to the biggest cave in the world (which is in his backyard) and he said no. It costs 3,000 dollars apparently and is a 4 day/3 night excursion. That is so much money for me and even more so for someone here. They only allow so many people in a year and you have to be put on a waiting list if you have the money and time. 20180417_135346

Here we are excitedly getting into the water of the Hang E cave. Swimming 300 meters back and not knowing what was under was a bit un-nerving. Even more so when we shut the lights of here and all screamed out. One of the other guys in our group said near the entrance he had seen a water snake swimming near him.

Man said they are not poisonous though.

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AMAZING lunch in the middle of the Jungle
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Showing the picture of our group all floating in a circle
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 Make your own spring rolls!

We headed out to do the long trek back and set off with a fast pace.

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I had so much energy and had fun challenging myself to scamper up the hill and even manage to make our guide tired and want to take a break! : D

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I couldn’t help but smile at how alive and great I felt. I also thought how working a regular 9 to 5 desk job would be just a horrible fit for me right now.

We all made it to the top and enjoyed some pictures before heading back down to the vehicle for a celebratory beer all together.

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I am actually in this one! If you look closely

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And that’s all for now folks.

I hope you’re enjoying my blog!

 

P.S. I want to thank those who have gone out of their way to Paypal me some money from the bottom of my heart. When I receive those emails I am really jumping up and down with excitement. Thank you to those who send me notes or comments as well. I enjoy reading them when I have internet and am really so thankful that you guys can share my adventure with me.

Until the next one.

Vietnam (part 10)

Have I mentioned yet how much the Vietnamese love their karaoke? : ) Here is a picture of the karaoke on the streets in Hue.

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My hostel/restaurant staff

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It was fun walking around and jumping into a game of corn hole when I saw some more friends who I had met further south.

One of my favorite simple and cheap meals here are these sandwiches (Bánh mì) for just under a dollar. The typical options are pork, chicken, or egg. So delicious.

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I love getting these. Especially the egg ones

In the morning I was supposed to head out with Anthony and Phil when Anthony had more bike problems pushing our schedule back about 2 hours. When the bike was finally fixed, we were ready to set off as a very light rain gently started to coat everything. The route was along the most western main road (the Ho chi Mihn highway) up to Phong Nha.

We started to head out of the city when my chain came off the sprocket less than 5 minutes into the ride! Not wanting to hold up the ride I told them to just keep going. We had already waited a long time and waiting more would really be pushing our luck with making it without a lot of riding in the dark. I would just set out the next morning after getting my bike fixed.

Waving goodbye to them, I started to push my bike back towards the center of town.  A Vietnamese man sitting on his motorbike wanted to help me and put a foot on the back of my bike and pushed both under his engines power to a mechanic shop he knew. I felt like I might have been overcharged but couldn’t really complain when I had a new chain and front/rear sprocket for 12 dollars. (You may wonder why I say this with it being 12 dollars BUTTTT I had my whole engine taken apart and put back together plus a bunch of other things for 36 bucks. That was WAY way more labor intensive and took the guys quite a while)

The next morning came around, after one more night at the hostel, and a gentle rain was still coming down. On my route, was a lot of extremely exciting looking mountain passes close to the Laos border and my spirits were very high as I set off. A gentle rain can add to the experience in a good way if it’s not too heavy making it hard to see or dangerous to drive.

Not far down the road, the rain started to let up and nature continued to tease and flirt with me showing me her good side. I had a lot to keep me busy taking it all in and waving to all the kids.

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These mountains kept going into the clouds, and filled me with awe.

I wish it was possible for all of you to see these passes in person. My senses were shocked alive with the cool wind on your skin, fresh air flowing through my nostrils, my overwhelmed eyes, and the gentle sounds of the mountains and rivers touching my ears.

You really never know what exciting views are going to pop up on these back roads.

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That’s a big snake!

I wondered if these guys had seen it and chased it down for their next meal. hmm. I just rode up on them going down the road and was able to get this great pic! :  )

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Such friendly people

At this point in the road, I wouldn’t see people for very long stretches. No one was around and I loved it as long as my bike didn’t throw any surprises my way. When I did see people though, it was always a fun encounter.

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Easy Riders!!!!!!
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Maximum speed.

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It got a bit cold on some of the passes

 

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At this point in time I had been on the road for about 9 hours. I still had a decent way to go. I found out that Anthony and Phil who had left the previous day at 12 30 had to stop at a local house near this area in the dark and charades for gas and where they could possibly sleep. They told me how they were offered a free beer and slept next to each other on a table in someones house with other guys around them. 😀 When I heard this story I started cracking up and kinda wished I was with them to be able to have taken pics and told you guys first hand.

It was starting to get dark and I had enjoyed this ride probably more than anyone but don’t like riding in the dark. A few more mountain passes were left and as I got higher, I motored into a really thick fog. Singing away, I crept along nervous about coming onto a big pothole or animal on the road. My beard soaked up the water and the front of my clothes got their fill as well.

Coming through these wild lush mountains demanded a certain awe. This was the area that had the biggest cave in the world! Even with the encroaching darkness, I enjoyed how small I felt and how my mind ran wild. I could just see the heavy jungle foliage and silhouettes of the mountains hiding these many caves.

I rolled into Phong Nha in a light rain and was reunited with my friends.

Stay tuned to see the caves in the next post! : )

Vietnam (part 9)

What a couple awesome days it has been! I am in love with Vietnam. : ) This trip has especially blown my mind with the neat people I am always meeting, the friendly locals, the scenery, and more.

To start this post off I would like to offer a friendly reminder to my fair skinned friends to make sure to wear your sunscreen if you are motorcycling Vietnam.

Matt got a little bit kissed by the sun on a day ride. Take a look at his hands too. : / 20180411_120253

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Old town in Hoi An at night

Another group from the hostel was leaving the same day I was for Hue, and we all headed out together to enjoy the famous Hai Van Pass.

And what a day it was to be alive.

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The first place we stopped was the marble mountains and their caves.

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Lunch was next at a very local place. 20180412_135728

In the middle is Philip and to the right of the pic is Anthony. (yellow shirt) Therese is the one in the bottom left (in blue) and then Kirsten. In the best fashion, the menu was in Vietnamese and we couldn’t understand any of it. The guy trying to serve us grabbed some seafood to try and visually show a menu. Google translate helped Anthony and I order some delicious beef noodles.

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When the bill came it was all together and we didn’t have enough small bills. I couldn’t help but smile as Therese went over and had to write down all the numbers showing how we wanted to pay separately :D.

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Just down the road from our lunch spot, Anthony’s bike decided to stop working. While Kirsten stayed with him, we kept pressing on.

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Da nang (in the background)

The road started to wind up the mountain and each of us felt on top of the world.

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A lot of people, like Philip and Therese, rent bikes just to do this section of Vietnam. Other companies offer you the back seat on a bike with guides if you don’t feel comfortable driving a motorcycle yourself.

Anthony and Kirsten caught back up to us, with his bike being a quick fix. So good to have you guys back with us. : )

Enjoy this nice collage of pictures as we wove down the mountain living young, wild, and free. A twist of the throttle sent the mountain air rushing past our cheeks and leaving any troubles we had behind us.

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Train passing

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Looking good Philip! : ) 

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Absolutely stunning.

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We got to our hostel in Hue and headed to this abandoned water-park the next day.

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The main exhibit here was the dragon bridge. The big main room inside was filled with broken aquariums.

 

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In the mouth of the dragon

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There isn’t anything to me like being able to explore and see the world in a wide eyed wonder.

On the way out we all were driving through the rush hour traffic and there are no rules in Vietnam. Going through intersections and roundabouts is an elegant dance. Driving a bike in Vietnam is an intricate, thrilling, and dangerous pastime that I love so much. I am going to try and capture this madness but haven’t yet because I am not sure I can safely do so. In an upcoming blog, I’ll strap my phone to me and hopefully show you how crazy the driving can be. I have seen so many people drive through countless red lights without hesitation.

On the roundabouts I love to ride right on the side of a vehicle as they create an opening in their wake. It is very intimidating otherwise, with so many scooters coming at you from almost all sides. In Quy Nhon, I even saw a local that had gotten into a low speed accident around the traffic circle. 20180413_165443(0)

My bike had been making some noise and I took it to a recommended shop to get it fixed.

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Cooling down with the air compressor.

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They had my engine completely apart in less than an hour to replace some ball bearings. The owner of the shop had heard my motor for about one second and told me without hesitation what the problem was. 20180414_15132220180414_174124

This shop (Kim Thien mechanic shop) was truly the best I have been too. They treated my bike like it was their own. Many small things like my slightly bent gear shift-er was straightened without me even asking. I don’t know if it was a father, his sons, and friends, but everyone working in here had so much fun and worked so well together. I could tell some were more experienced, and even though I couldn’t understand the language, I could see how they would playfully get on someones case if they were doing something in a way that wasn’t the best, as they walked over enthusiastically to show them a better way to do it. No one sat around at all. It was the best teamwork I have had the pleasure of seeing. Maybe this was like their first day back after all going on vacation?!? I don’t know, but what an amazing way and work environment. I was almost tempted to hand them my resume and hopefully be accepted to work and have as much fun. haha

Thirty six dollars later I was back in business with my bike working better than ever.

Hue is a lovely little city.20180413_17533220180414_130003(0)20180414_153259

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My western themed hostel. I couldn’t help but think of you Mr. Lans. : )

Well. It’s time for me to sign off.

Hope you guys enjoyed.

Until the next one.

Vietnam (part 8)

*Warning! picture heavy post*

With a long stretch out of the city and up near the border of Laos towards Hoi An, I couldn’t help but take a deep breath and enjoy. There was a local scooter that was making good time passing everyone else along with me. I didn’t wave or say hello till a long time down the road, as we kept keeping pace with each other. When I couldn’t take it any longer I decided it was time to break the ice, waving and smiling really big. He and his girlfriend pulled up next to me smiling back, and slowed down to chat. I found out he wasn’t going all the way to Hoi An, but we cruised together for quite a while.

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After they split off and I had been driving by myself for a while I saw these dismal looking clouds in the distance and started to head into the rain.

The rain kept soaking me and making it difficult to see. I hadn’t brought a rain jacket and this high up in the mountains was cold. After singing to myself in efforts to keep morale high, I decided it was time to warm up and take a break. I pulled into a gas station where the worker took pity on me and told me to come inside to warm up a bit. Within 10 minutes some other travelers showed up and we all had some hot tea together. The gas station had a tiny amount of things for sale like Ramen, a couple drinks, and some rain ponchos. All the stuff for sale would have fit in a large cardboard box. The items were set in the windows and it was quite the contrast from U.S. gas stations.

When I was leaving (with a new rain poncho!) one of the girl found a HUGE insect.

Much dryer now, the rain did eventually let up, and my path took me through the most lush and gorgeous valley I have ever been in.

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The tour buses would be going so fast through these roads, laying on the horn, and zooming by like race car drivers. I can’t even believe how fast they would go, and wouldn’t feel very safe riding in one. The rest stop areas on the side of the roads have hoses left out for, what I assume, cooling down the brakes.

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I am a pretty confident rider and you can go especially quick on a motorbike through the curves but this guy would definitely be passing me again. I think it was a race track to him.

Other big trucks I saw on the road didn’t quite make it. : / 20180407_142210(0)

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Looks like the brakes and then some caught on fire

Here’s one more picture of how beautiful it was here. When the buses passed, the road was pretty quiet and I got a newfound sense of how much I love nature. I could see a water buffalo down at the river having a bath with only the sound of my engine pushing me along and through the magnificent landscape. What a sight.

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The roadside stands here were filled with pineapples.

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The rain came back and as I was getting close to Hoi An. I drove past this guy that looked like he had a scooter on the back of his bike. Unsure that my eyes saw what I thought they saw, I whipped around to catch up to him and snap a picture.! Hahaha. Crazy. I love it. I would think it would feel so unstable riding like that.

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Over the next couple of days I explored the charming Hoi An with all their shops selling clothes, the walking streets, and the beaches.

I ordered a coffee at a coffee shop and was surprised with the “iced milk coffee” that came.

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There was an interesting computer lab that happened upon my strolling eyes with locals playing video games.

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This small town is very charming with everyone bicycling around. One section in particular in “old town” doesn’t allow any kind of motorized vehicles.   20180409_14374420180409_15300120180409_15503920180409_15543820180409_15553720180409_15560520180409_15573020180409_16093620180409_161934

One thing that looked kinda funny was all these people being taken around by these bicycle taxi’s. It wouldn’t have looked as strange if there wasn’t about 20 of them in a row. Must have been a tour.20180409_155646

There have been a LOT of people I have met at almost each destination who I know from my last stops! It’s fun seeing all the familiar faces and all your friends that just keeps going up the coast with you. : P Today I went to the MySon sanctuary with Kirsten, Anthony, and Mauricio. The buildings really reminded me of the Jungle Book.

20180410_14052720180410_14100820180410_13581720180410_150441 Looking good guys! : )

 

Until the next time then.