Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Namaste Motor
29 maart 2014
I am starting to write this blog while im in Hue. Most likely I will finish it when I’m in Hanoi. It sometimes takes a bit of time to get it written down.
So Vietnam! On the 2nd of March I left Cambodia. I stretched my visum over there to the fullest. I truly enjoyed my time over there, and as it goes for all the countries I have visited so far. I have to get back! There is so much more to explore and places to return to. Coming into Vietnam I really did not have any clue where to go or what to do. I knew somewhere down the line I would visit a museum or 2 but that’s it. To fully leave open all the options I just booked a trip to the border town on the Vietnamese side of the border. Did save me a lot of hassel compared to previous border passings. Funny detail, when you try to enter Vietnam you have to fill in a medical questionary. They wanted to know which diseases I carried, none?!. Strangest thing was they checked my temperature to see if I had fever. At the moment of crossing I did feel a bit low so it wouldn’t surprise me if I did have some. Turns out I didn’t, healthy as fuck. Okay so then I arrived at Ha Tien. We were dropped off at the middle of nowhere. A lot of my fellow travellers were too and had to wait for there connection to their destination. I walked around and didn’t saw a lot of livelyhood. (its also the place where I did something new. I bought a girl a visit to the toilet. I liked the original twist there. It beats buying her a drink by far!) I had thought of staying here for the night and see where Id end up but I quickly dismissed that thought. Onwards it was. Can Tho was where I was heading for. A city in the middle of the Mekong Delta. I ended up staying there for a bit. Together with Darren from Northern Ireland and Leo from Germany I toured the city. Went to a floating market where they sold loads of different fruits, vegetables and other things. We were being showed around by a local woman on her tiny boat. Quite interesting how agile everybody is when they are controlling their boats. Its like doing yoga and the most impressive part is that they make it seems natural to them. Afterwards we got a private tour through the canals. They got loads of them! It did remind me a bit of Amsterdam and Utrecht but the scenery around it totally didn’t. We were mostly passing the jungle. ‘Apocalypse Now’ all over the place..
A few days later I ended up in Saigon. It’s a insanely crowded and busy place. We were very lucky to have met a really kind Vietnamese guy along the way. Turns out that he was a helicopter pilot for the South Vietnamese during the war, and was shot at twice by the Viet Cong. After the war he fled to the US, he returned a year later, got arrested and spent 5 years getting brainwashed in a reconditioning camp (prison)... When we got off the bus at Saiagon, he fought off a hoarde of tuk tuk, moto and taxi drivers and got us safely onto a local bus... what a hero. Upon my arrival I wandered through the streets and my eye quickly fell on a motorbike with luggage reck. Now here unfolds itself one of the themes of my journey. The first day of my trip I sat on the back of a motorbike in Nepal. The bike belonged to a veterinarian I explored the surrounding hills of Kathmandu Valley while he was doing his thing. I got to meet local people in remote houses where he had to go to inseminate cows and buffalows. In Nepal I drove a scooter for the first time in my life. At that moment the desire was already there to drive a motorbike, but I decided it was more wise to take it slow and first get used to a scooter. Since Nepal I drove scooters in Thailand and Cambodia too. In that last country I hired a guy to teach me how to drive a semi automatic scooter. Hoping the shifting of gears would not be to different from a motorbike. It was kinda hard to find somebody willing to fulfill and understanding my wishes. My ‘instructor’ turned out to be a great guy. He was voluntering at a school to teach the children English. He was truly a pleasant instructor taking his time and while we were practising I saw some beautiful Cambodian places. Back to Saigon, I kinda went back and forward with my wish to get a bike. I could sum up some pros and cons but in the end I just did it.. I intesified my search and it didn’t really take me long to get a bike. I bought it off a German who wanted to go to Dalat. Dalat is situated in the mountains and the roads leading to it have loads of curves. It’s a custom over here (and so far anywhere in Asia) to use your horn to the fullest. Unfortunately one truck didn’t. He got hit front on by a truck. When I met him his left leg looked pretty bad and he was walking funny. He couldn’t move his kneecap anymore and was due to go to Germany the next day. Hopefully the doctors over there could help him out. He is lucky to be alive. For me it was the first, of many, warning. I instantly bought several protections. Got gloves, jeans and kept on the helmet that went with the bike. Even though it was sometimes anoyingly thight. If I would happen to fall it would most likely do his job. So there I was in the middle of Saigon, with a bike. By far and I mean FAR the idealest place to learn how to drive. The deserted countryroad Id like to drive on was nowhere close! Hitting the roads it was.. I drove, which means having numerous times my engine would stop, around. Slowly I noticed there was a lot of traffic. About half an hour later I realised I was driving during rush hour in Saigon. Sigh.. By the time it hit me I was at the other side of the city. I found out that there are loads of one way roads, not really helpful if you try to reach a show where you agreed to meet a friend. Its truly a miracle I didn’t have an accident over there. Several times I was on a roundabout and they are crowded! Imagine about 8 rows of traffic going in a direction. Being in the middle row my engine stops again. Aaaaaaargh so frustrating. I really had to get used to shifting gears. At some point I started selfinstructing which did help. It felt like driving classes all over. ‘ Slowly release the cloth and give a bit of gas’ Shifting gear, release gas, press clotch, hit the gear, slowly release clotch and throttle the gas. But I managed! At some point I got back to the surroundings of my hostel and decided to do a ‘rondje om de kerk’ (looking up the meaning I doubt if know it by its true meaning) Anyway it comes down to driving the same road all over. I choose the road around the park. It had 1 traffic light, one shortcut to the next road, a roundabout and a long stretch where I could accelerate. I drove that bit like 50 times over 2 days. After going crazy in Saigon I decided it was time to move. To the mountains and sea it was. I dubbed it my Epic Trip.
My first day I headed for the Cu Chi tunnels. A impressive 250 km network of tunnels used by the Vietcong during the ‘American War. Getting there prooved to be a challenge. Being on the road by myself made me realise the signaling in Vietnam could be better. Whenever there is an intersection you only have one shot one opportunity would you capture it or would let it slip (added a little Eminem there which I increasingly start to appreciate ) So if you missed it you might find out on the next intersection .. if your lucky
I drove wrong quite some kilometers but at some point I saw a tourist bus. Analysing the probability that a tourist bus in this remote part would have any other direction then the tunnels I choose to follow it. That proved to me my next challenge. It went fast. To catch up to it, it meant I had to go full throtlle which I preferred not to do just yet. Made a good bet there. I got to the tunnels. Quite impressive to see.. Entire lifes underground, for years.. We got the opportunity to crawl through the tunnels. First a short one to get the feeling of it. It seemed people were a bit reluctant to go in. Id give it a try! Being all confident an all I went in first. It soon disappeared. I had to squat my knees and have my arms stretched above me.When I was under I felt the adrenaline rush through my body. This was insane. But it felt so good when I came out. Later on we entered a second tunnel. This was one longer and deeper. We went in as a group crawling one behind another. They said the tunnels were made bigger for the tourist and still we didn’t have a lot of space to crawl. There was an occasional light along the way. Oh no not anymore... It was pitchblack! Our tourguide had turned off the lights. Christ.. When I say pitchblack I mean pitchblack. You had to rely on your other sense. Sounds, smell, feeling. You became hyperattentive to everything around you. The warnings before (don’t go in if you have some medical issues or were clausterphobic made sense) I bumped into the girl in front of me. When there was still light I saw it was a really nice ass. Now I couldn’t even enjoy it.. I have to say it was good to be at the end of the tunnel. I wasn’t really worried but I couldn’t see myself staying underground for too long. After the tunnels I drove north a bit more and decided to crash at the nearest hotel I could find.
The next day I decided it was better to drive around on low land a bit more before I would hit the mountains. I felt I needed to get to know my bike a bit more. I saw a nice trail which would lead next to a lake. It would be quite a detour, I came really close to the Cambodian border, but it was worth the extra exercise. Turns out the lake had a dike next to it. I saw some bikes riding over it and thought, me too! I found a construction road up the dike. It was very loose sand but I managed without problems to ride up. It was a good view and I enjoyed riding the dike. The lake on my right side and the mainroad and forest on my left. When I tried to go up and down the mainroad later on I came close to falling. I sincerely hope it will stay at that. I tried to drive up the dike again in second gear. My engine stopped half way and I kind of tipped over. Since I was only driving like 5 km an hour there was no harm. There was a guy rushing to me to help me reach the top of the dike anyway but I decided to just let the bike fall sort of controlled. I was surrounded by sand. Still im truly thankfull for this experience it learned me much about my bike and how to handle it (in an emergency)
This will be it for now. More to come, more to come!
Lots of love
Foto's bij verslag (11)
29 maart 2014 13:14 | Door: Martijn
29 maart 2014 16:13 | Door: Madelon
Heb alles voorgelezen aan Tom en genoten van je verhaal! Briljante ervaringen weer! Nog even genieten en dan moeten we gauw meeten om goed bij te praten :)