....Flat Tires and unexpected opportunities.
03.11.2008 - 03.11.2008
Today was a good day. The weather cooperated and we had slightly overcast sky's all day. No sunburn and not drenching wet from the rain. A great day to be on the moto-bike. The route today started from Pleiku through Kon Tom and Dak To and to a small town just north of there. The mileage wasn't much today but we still arrived around 5:30pm to our hotel.
I was late this morning due to making some phone calls. Had to talk to my baby girl and check in on Aco. Both seem to be doing fine and I miss them both terribly! Haven't heard anything from Corey, I'll try to get in touch with him on Thursday or Friday when I next have internet.
Breakfast was at a corner coffee 'shop'. Which was actually just part of the sidewalk with a tarp to protect from the weather and little tables and chairs all facing the road. It was a pleasant way to spend the morning. Watching the traffic, listening to the local men discuss whatever it is they were discussing (cant understand a word of Vietnamese...still)! I did feel a little like the town spectacle. First, I am the only 'white girl' around and EVERYONE notices! They all look and stare, somewhat like I suppose I do to them.... Then jI am sitting in a group of all men (women don't seem to get to sit around drinking coffee like the men), on these little chairs that are perfectly fit for someone 5ft or under with my knees in my chest! No problem, it was still enjoyable. My faith in Stephane was restored a bit this morning. He complains all the time about the 'rich and poor' and to be honest, I am getting pretty sick of it. During our morning coffee, a group of three blind people sat at a table in front of us and Stephane made some pleasant conversation with them and paid for their coffee. A nice gesture.
It seemed to take us forever to get out of town this morning. We stopped and had coffee, then we stopped and had the moto-bike washed, then we stopped and chatted with someone that Stephane knew...... While Stephane was getting his moto-bike cleaned, I tried to make friends with a local boy.....he was very shy (see pic). I gave him a sticker and tried to show him what it was and he must have thought that I was going to take it away so he ran and hid behind his mother! He did come up to me again before we left and warmed up a little bit.
So we are finally headed out of town and Stephane stops in the middle of no-where with two busses blazing up our rear....'GET OFF' he shouts! Damn....I'm off!! He scared the hell out of me as I tumbled off the bike on the curb side of the road as the busses rip past us with horns blaring...wtf? Flat tire..... I hadn't even noticed but we certainly did have a very flat back tire. Fortunatly, there were two moto-bike shops within about 500ft of us (coicidence?). The first one was closed and the other was up a small hill. So, I helped Stephane push the bike up the short enbankment to the bike shop. It only took a short while and we were back on the road again. School was out (they go in two sessions from what I understand. With a quite long break in the middle of the day). The bike shop owners daughters were delightful. I think that they enjoyed talking to me and practicing their english. The smaller one, Me was very shy but she warmed up after her sister Phe' talked to me a little while. They told me that they were both 10 years old but I am not sure how that can be....unless mom had them back to back or they are twins?
We passed by a wedding with the bride and groom in front of the reception tent and I snapped a couple of photos. Stephane thinks that the woman is beautiful and the man 'ugly'. I wonder if the happy couple will chat about the crazy white girl that sped by taking pictures when they discuss their wedding day?
Sea Lake: very pretty
A quick picture of a woman cutting up the bark of some sort of tree to sell for medicinal purposes.
A ride through a small minority village and viewing of the Rong House in which the village gatherings take place.
Beautiful wooden church, built by the french.
Traveled part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail along the highway.
Catholic and Buddhist graveyard
Charlie Hill and an old airstrip.
Talking with Me and Phe while the flat tire was being fixed.
My driver and 'take picture, for my picture-book' Before agreeing on taking the trip, I was able to look through two different picture books that previous travelers had made and sent to Stephane. He asked me at the beginning of the trip if I could make one for him and send to him. He offered to pay for it. I dont mind at all making a book for him, but I am very tired of hearing 'take picture now'. It would be nice to determine my own pictures and in my opinion, would make a much better book than having the same pictures as the other two books....so, in my stubborn way I have not taken the pictures that he told me to take and instead, have determined my own pictures.
Tonights hotel is a true shit-hole. It's only $8usd/night but still not worth even that. I tried to feel pissed that I am staying in such a place but found that thoughts of what I have seen have shown me that there are much worse places that I could be staying so I am going to be content with my room for the night. I am getting some use from my sleep sheet that I bought because just sitting on the bed made me start to itch! Hopefully I will sleep well and wake refreshed in the morning. At least I have electricity so I can type on here and bitch! haha!
Bread and Laughing Cow cheese with coffee for breakfast.
Rice and some sort of spicy chicken for lunch.
Hot pot with noodles, shrimp, vegetables and two Tiger beer for dinner.
And the remainder of the cashews for a snack.
Life is good....
ps: my driver is certainly Depressed!