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