The next morning I headed out to Kon Tum. The beginning of the road didn’t have anything that shocked me into taking especially interesting pictures. The first 3 hours of the ride I spent just enjoying some of the classic Vietnamese scenery of the shops, stretches of rice fields and the mountains coming closer in the distance.
There is a certain relaxation in just driving even when the scenery doesn’t blow you away or give you the best new content to share. The driving is a great time to just think, or give your mind a chance to step back and just enjoy the ride.
Here is one building that caught my eye.
From reaching the top of one mountain pass I wanted to stop for a bite to eat or at least a drink. Parking the bike, I smiled at the locals sitting inside. They smiled back and I knew this was going to be an interesting interaction. The older people signaled a younger woman over to try and communicate with me. Doing my best, I tried to signal if they had anything to eat, a menu, or Pho. It wasn’t going too good and I decided very quickly to just get a drink. Thankfully, I could just point to a coca-cola and she nodded. I paid for the coke and sat down. Whew.
While I was sitting there, the young woman motioned to me asking in very broken English if I would join her for lunch. I moved my chair over and kept my money handy to pay.
Here are the girls sharing lunch as we chatted as best we could about ages, where I was from, and if I had a girlfriend.
An older lady walked over and I was introduced to their grandmother. They girls signaled to me asked if we could take a picture together and I scooted over for a great group pic. : ) They offered me a very soft, very green, and very tasty sticky rice that apparently is specific to Vietnam.
I pulled my money out when standing up, and asked three times if they would take some, but they would not even consider it! I bowed my way out, saying thank you so much!
And I rode away with a lot to think about.
A few more hills, and the land started to open up a bit.
The GPS guided me to a quiet back road and painted a smile across my face as I passed groups of people moving cows along, and saw some young kids trying to kick start their bike.
I sometimes like to think that a smile is a superpower. It’s great fun to just put on the biggest one while driving past people and see how their faces light up too. Some of these locals might wonder what I am doing driving way out here, but when I see them and smile like they are my best friend I haven’t seen in a long long time, they can’t help but smile back. It’s a pretty neat thing. When I can’t speak their language and they can’t speak mine, a genuine smile does so much in communicating something really special.
Pulling into Vietnam Phuot Homestay, the beautiful garden immediately caught my attention. The very friendly Vietnamese host immediately phoned her English speaking daughter for me to speak with, and find out how long I was staying and if I wanted dinner.
I had the cozy dorm room all to myself.
There was a exceptionally nice Scottish couple staying in the private rooms that I got to enjoy dinner with. As the stories and information about each other starting circulating between us, I couldn’t help but get sucked into listening to their strong accents. : )
When we would eat a little room into our once full bowls, the hosts would fill them back up with pieces of fish, pork, small spring rolls, and everything else on the table! They made sure that we were each super full! Neither of the hosts knew more than about 3 words in English, but were incredibly kind, and would use google translate when there was something important to say. Afterwards, we acquiesced to the living room for some tea.
Peoples kindness and generosity blows me away. It is such a warm metaphorical hug when people do nice things for you without expecting anything in return. Before the Scottish couple headed out, they decided to tuck some money into the seat of my bike for some oil changes. Thank you both so much, from the bottom of my heart.
I hopped on my bike to explore the city of Kon Tum and enjoyed the sites of the corn drying on the street. A cool little bridge popped up and I found some more well placed chairs.
It was around lunchtime that I came back to do some work on my computer and the hostess insisted on me having some lunch. She really wouldn’t take no for an answer, and I enjoyed a nice bowl of ramen.
In the late afternoon, I went out for a coconut and sat down to be offered a sour mango with a salt and hot pepper mix.
I really don’t think that there are many foreigners at this spot I am visiting now.
And for now, goodnight. A pleasure as always my friends.
See you next time.