Bao Loc - Dong Xoai - Ho Chi Minh City trip
It was back on the road on Wednesday to see more of life in Vietnam. Did I mention how hot it was already? I’d read that i should be avoided in areas off the main tourist trail, but when you’ve been sight-seeing in 30+ degree weather in long pants and sleeved shirts all day, and you’ve the chance to drink a cold glass of sugar cane juice in ice…. you gulp it down, and ask for a second one! (Meal at Roadside restaurant. Hm, not peeled, not cooked, left out with flies… just don’t look, mom. Note, my glass is empty already)
The scenery is just stunning. I would so do this againMeal at roadside restaurant.
Hm, not peeled, not cooked, left out with flies… just don’t look, mom. Also, my glass is empty already
Tire troubles. And rain, even though Phương said it had t rained for 5 months until we showed up. And it hasn’t rained again, sinceWe got out to walk at this point. The path was steep, but the worst part was the humidity! Argh!
We were headed to Dong Xoia that third night, which required a journey across a dirt path rich in …. Iron? If it rains, we will all be red when we arrive, Phương informed us, laughing. I had joked earlier on that many of my adventures have involved a good drenching, and true to form, there was heavy rain every day of the tour. The skies turned dark as we came to a hill too steep for the bikes to manage with two riders. Tomo and I got out to walk, while Phương asked some higher power for 10 minutes to get to the top before the rain started. His wishes were granted, but a smooth journey was not. Shortly after we donned our rain ponchos (ie personal greenhouses), Phuong pulled over with a deflating tire, and Gon had to do some emergency repairs after a large nail was found buried in it. Something needed more fixing, as the nail had gone deep, and the tire was still slowly deflating, but we would have to wait until we got somewhere less remote. Oh well. Shit happens, said Phương with a shrug.
Tomo’s footware barely made it out alive
No torrential downpour, red mud, or deflating tire was going to stop us! It was definitely an adventure, but we arrived in Dong Xoia that night as planned!
For dinner, we went for Vietnamese-style BBQ, washed down with goat penis rice wine. Uh huh. Wine gives you magical powers when infused with herbs or scorpions or body parts. This one was supposed to impart strength.
Special rice wine, and a side of beer
Here’s some of the other magical powers on offer.
Anyone whose Chinese or Vietnamese is better than mine want to translate these?
It was a bittersweet night, as it was the last one of the tour. I was sad we would be parting soon, but the food and company was good, so we had a great time nonetheless.
Thursday dawned hotter and sunnier than the previous days (nooooo; not more heat!), and we set out as usual. We stopped to see some rubber trees, and an historic bridge from the war.
Travelling through a forest of neatly ordered rubber trees. I was a bit concerned about all the original forest that must have gone in order for these trees to be planted.
Rubber tree, with bowl for collecting the sap when the tree is cut open. Rubber is in super high demand in Vietnam.
omg, I ate 6.5 pieces. I’ve NEVER eaten that much in one sitting before
As we neared Ho Chi Minh City, we stopped at a fruit stall, and we had one last break by the side of the road. Most people in Vietnam like durian, and Gon had said it was his favourite fruit, so it was time to have a durian feast! (Durian was 50,000 Vietnamese dong/kg, less than $3/kg. I paid about $3 for 2 durian and 2 mangoes. Compare that to the $7.50 I paid a few weeks ago for a pound of frozen durian back home, though that one was without the shell). Alex, it was so good! Even Tomo ate 2.5 pieces!
In or around Saigon
Then we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City. I think driving here would take a little getting used to. After a long drive through crowded streets, we were dropped off at our next hotel, and this part of our journey was over.
Thank you so much, Phương and Gon for a most amazing experience. It will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of our trip. We hope to return some day to see more of Vietnam.