Vietnam – Dalat and 6 days on motorbikes

Hi Vikki and Tricia,

We have just finished a quiet day in Dalat, wandering about following a self guided walking tour from another blogger. We did most of it, just missing the first couple of things. We started with a very western breakfast. In fact we have eaten western food all day. After eggs benny and coffee (the Vietnamese kind) we started the walk with a stroll through the foods markets. They are hard to describe but encompass everything you can think of. The most colourful part is the rows and rows of dried fruit, seeds and nuts, closely followed by the fresh fruit and veggies. There is so much I didn’t recognise. We also wandered into the meat market. Women were chopping every kind of meat, as future cuts looked on. The caged chickens really didn’t need to see their fate.Outside there are stalls selling just about everything else that is available on the planet. Fresh flowers, hardware, bras, toys, cookware and clothes. The sights and sounds are amazing and no one seemed to mind 2 westerners wandering around absorbing it all.

Back on our walk we headed for the two glass flower structures. One is a lotus and the other is a native sunflower. They are above a huge shopping mall with a supermarket, so we had a wander into there for a couple of things we needed (including tissue because I STILL have this cold). It reminded me of Walmart in Hawaii. Back outside we decided to have a coffee by Xuan Huong lake. Unfortunately it was the worst coffee we have had in Vietnam and the most expensive (103 000d) by a very long way. It was so, bad it was undrinkable. We abandoned it and the blaring voice to find another place.

Along the way we found the monument to Alexandre Yersin. I didn’t know who this fellow was, but apparently he discovered the cause of the bubonic plague. Why that scores him a park and a street in Dalat, and lots of other towns across Vietnam, I am not sure, but it does. The back of the statue is inscribed with “Dat Aliis Laetitiam Aliis Temperiem”. The first letter of each word conveniently spells out Dalat. The translation is about giving.

Next stop was some decent coffee in a cafe a short walk up the hill. This coffee was much better and a quarter the price. With milk, 12 000d, without 10 000d. And we got free tea with it. The tea is something you get free everywhere. With every meal. When you enter almost anywhere. With coffee. Mostly it’s not too bad, lightly perfumed, but it’s still not my thing. After coffee we headed for the train station, bought our VIP1 tickets and trundled off up the line to Trai Mat, to visit the Linh Phuoc Pagoda. The trip was ok, past the flower green houses and the homes, to the station in an old style carriage. We walked the 200m to the Pagoda which is huge and very gaudy. If you look closely at the mosaic work you’ll notice that it’s mostly made of broken bottles. I have noticed this at other Pagodas too. This one is too over the top for me. I prefer my Pagodas a bit more understated.

Back on the train we rumbled back to Dalat, walked home again and decided on a quiet evening. We are both tired, thanks in part to the busyness of the holiday and in part to staying up til the early hours of this morning watching a movie. We have just finished some very good burgers with fries and are off to bed, to be bright and fresh for the next 6 days doing the easy rider thing.

Hi Vikki and Tricia,

I hope you are both well. Vikki, how is the camping trip going? When The Newby said you were in Denmark, I thought Europe, but of course he meant the better Denmark in our lovely state. I hope it’s going well. Better than our trip is turning out to be. We are beginning to wonder if we have made a big mistake with the easy riders tour. We are currently at Lak Lake after our first day on the bikes. What a day!!! My butt hurts so much I will have to sleep on my side.

We started just at the bottom of the lane where we were staying in Dalat. The 2 riders showed up, as expected at 08.30 to collect us, on the bikes! I don’t know why, but I thought we would be picked up by car. Silly me. The Newby’s friend and rider is Sunny, while I’m riding with Tuan. After a pit stop at the office, we were on our way out of Dalat. Our bags are tied to the back and front of each bike. I have no idea where their stuff is. We started out in some wet weather gear thanks to rain that started over night and hasn’t stopped.

Our first stop was not very far up the road, at a cricket farm. The crickets are farmed for food. It’s a cottage industry here but it is going to take off. Food security will make sure of that. The process from baby cricket to edible cricket takes 10 weeks. The crickets are fed waste leaves from around the farm and kept in big containers. When they want to harvest them, they attract them onto egg shells with cornmeal, which is a favourite food. As foods, the crickets are very high in protein and we were told they taste like crickets. Actually, I can confirm that they taste a bit like peanuts. They also feel like they leave little legs and antennae in your throat. But with a bit of chilli sauce and a small glass of happy wine, they aren’t so bad. If I have them again, I would prefer to have them ground up and added to ice cream thanks.

Next stop was the coffee place across the road. Dalat is the coffee growing region of Vietnam. In fact Vietnam is the 2nd biggest grower of coffee in the world. They grow 2 harvests a year of robusta. They also grow cherry and arabica. The other thing they do is get the weasels to eat the coffee and then its poop is collected and the excreted beans are processed for drinking. We got to see the weasels in their cages and we chose to have a cup of weasel coffee. I know that it maintains the industry (something that is discouraged) but it is hard to be hosted around someone’s business and not feel obliged to be hospitable enough to buy something. A dilemma.

At this place we also got to see a huge rice wine production. The rice is fermented in huge containers. It is then cooked up over a fire, the steam is captured and cooled, then the condensation is drained into a container. That is the wine. We even tried it as it was draining into the container. I like the rice wine. It reminds me of Japanese rice wine.

Onwards on the bikes, we headed for a silk production place. The entire process, from worm to fabric is covered here. We always had silkworms when we were kids. When the moths came out, they did crazy circles for a while before dying. In this place, they use a variety of methods to stop the moths from releasing an enzyme to break out of the cocoon. The breakout breaks the threads and renders the cocoon useless. With the cocoon intact, they are immersed in water, the end of the thread is found, it is wound into the big machine with a lot of threads from other cocoons, and the machine winds the threads off the bobbing and rolling cocoons. When the spool is full, it is transferred to another machine to be readied for weaving. Finally the loom creates the fabric that is dyed in preparation for use. So the worms never become moths. They end up floating around in the water. In fact, they also actually become food! We didn’t try them, because many people are allergic to them. Tuan has eaten them though.

Our next stop was the elephant waterfall, before a nice lunch and some happier water for The Newby. “One person drinks it, two people are happy”. Made with ginseng. We also saw wine made from snakes, including a cobra. This wine is medicinal. Apparently good for your bones and sore backs. Back on the bikes we had a long ride in front of us. We did stop briefly for a gear and chain change on Sunny’s bike, before riding basically for the rest of the day. The ride covered everything that we imagined to be a worst case scenario. Pouring rain. Slippery, winding, mountainous roads. All the way to the fog at the top, creating almost no visibility. Then all the way back down again, but now in increasing darkness. The road was incredibly pot holed. Incredibly. There were any number of other hazards including other riders, trucks, buses, dogs, weasels (I kid you not) and children.

Eventually, and thanks to our experienced and patient riders, we made it here to paradise. As the sarcasm is lost in the written word, let me be clear, this is about as far from paradise as we could imagine. The Newby is not happy that we are in this place. It is supposedly a hotel, but it lacks anything vaguely holiday hotel-ish. Welcome to rural Vietnam. The room is large but not clean. The beds are singles, with linen that looks like it’s been slept on many times. There are thin doonas, that do not have a cover on them, but do have some suspicious stains. The mattress is harder than a rock. There are towels, although fuck knows what they are for. THERE IS NO HOT WATER. But I am not hysterical. Yet. Ask me tomorrow …

Dear Vikki and Tricia,

Day 2 of the bike tour, day 364 of 2018. We are at Dray Sap waterfall, somewhere in the central highlands of Vietnam. It is lovely and quiet here tonight and there is hot water. Endless amounts of it. Thank goodness. I have had a shower this evening and I am already planning tomorrow mornings shower. Finally, a use for towels. Our shoes are out drying on the front step of our room too. Might have secure feet again tomorrow. Today was a mostly dry day thankfully. One burst of rain but otherwise we were riding along dry roads. There is a lot of mud around for the dry season though.

After breaky this morning we visited a Mnong village. As we have been told many times, there are 54 ethnic minorities here in Vietnam with their own languages and cultures. The Mnong live in the area where we were this morning and the E De in the area we were at lunch time. We wandered around the village as Sunny explained what he could about there lives, homes, work, culture and practices. The people live in stilt houses with their equipment and animals under the house. Some houses are made entirely from bamboo. The stilts, the bearers and joists, the floor and walls. They whole family, sometimes 3 or more generations live in the one house. They are rice and sweet potato farmers. They also have elephants that they use as a tourist attraction. No, we didn’t ride them.

Our next stop was a coffee museum but it wasn’t any good. The coffee husband (he knows his coffee) and wife (her family invested in the business) have divorced. The museum represents the split in their relationship. Stuff that was there a year ago is gone! Next stop, lunch. It’s The Newby’s turn to be sick today so he had steamed rice, while I had chicken and rice. Getting a bit sick of that, but trying to avoid overly fatty food. It upset my tummy a couple of days ago.

After lunch we rode here to Dray Sap. Along the way we witnessed a man trying to evade police. Not sure what he did wrong but the police man threw his bicycle into the path of his motorbike. The man swerved to miss the bicycle, counter swerved to miss something else, got the wobbles and ended up flipping over. It happened on the other side from us but it didn’t look like it would have tickled. And it will hurt his hip pocket too apparently.

Back here at Dray Sap the waterfall is pretty. We had a look there today before a quick walk around the zoo. Our room is similar to last night with the bonus of hot water. And the mattress is softer. And the fridge works. And the air conditioner works. And it’s quiet. And the view out the window is nice. So same, same but different. We have basically had free time since 4pm and The Newby has been sleeping for most of that. Hopefully he will be better tomorrow …

Dear Vikki and Tricia,

Day 3 of the bike tour and we are still alive. And enjoying it more each day. Today has been a great experience apart from my sore butt. Sore like I may have a pressure injury. Sore like one more bump and I might yelp. There are a few hours now for it to get better. It has to last another 3 days …

We started out this morning with The Newby feeling much better. After a plain breakfast of omelette in a bread roll we were good to go. A word on breakfast. The riders had noodles with beef. They laughed at us having rolls and omelette. I can’t imagine eating packet noodles at breakfast. They probably think our cereal is bizarre. Each to their own.

On the bikes we headed off along the way we came, before turning south again. We soon stopped to wander off the road to look at cocoa trees, taste the flesh, learn how the pods are harvested and the beans are extracted and what happens to them. Vietnamese chocolate is no good, so they are exported. To Belgium! Next time you eat fine chocolate, it’s origins may be in Vietnam.

Our journey down the road passed many houses with beans spread out to dry. A word on land in Vietnam. Every bit is used. Especially the bit between the road and the house. Beans are dried, clothes are hung, wedding receptions are held, meals are cooked, games are played, mourning the dead occurs, motorbikes are repaired, napping happens and life generally goes on. In full view of the passing traffic. And as an added bonus, this is the Ho Chi Minh trail! THE Ho Chi Minh trail. We stopped at a roadside plaque describing the importance of the road, scored another free history lesson related to the trail and almost touched Cambodia. Guess what else happens at this auspicious site. They dry coffee beans on the paths! Of course.

Our next stop was a roadside (of course) pepper farm. Did you know pepper grows on a vine? They grow a host tree then the vine is grown up the tree. Pepper is 1 of the 4 major foods grown in this area of Vietnam (coffee, rubber, pepper and cashews). It used to get 200000 ($12) to 250000 dong ($15) a kilo. It has fallen to 50000 ($3) thanks to supply and demand. Too many farmers are growing it now. Our stop was spontaneous, and a surprise to us and the farmer. Just like our other stops have been.

Just before our pepper stop, as we were riding along at speed, a scooter came up very close to our rear wheel and a hand stuck out proffering a can of red bull. Initially I was alarmed at the proximity of the front wheel to our real wheel. Then I was holding the can. In the confusion I tried to give it back, alert Tuan that I was being harassed (at speed for fuck sake) and work out how I would pay the vendor even though I didn’t want the drink. It all happened so quickly. When Tuan became he aware, he was far from alarmed. The vendor was a Buddhist monk. Relieved that I didn’t have to pass over a few thousand dong and receive my change as we hurtled down the Ho Chi Minh trail, I relaxed again, right as we came upon my monk preferring me a straw! As we walked back from our pepper visit Sunny was talking to my monk! He did a u-turn to come back and find out about me. I now have a lucky can of red bull that I will leave as an offering to Buddha AFTER this ride finishes. The Newby reckons this could only happen to me.

After lunch, which The Newby wolfed down (he is very much better), we hit the road again stopping next to look at cashew trees. They are big trees. When the nuts are ready they fall to the ground and are harvested manually. The whole process from harvest to ready to eat is also done manually. We stopped at a processing place and saw it. The extrication of the nut from the poisonous shell with a sharp knife, the roasting in a wood fuelled oven, the rolling to remove the acidic skin, the sorting and the bagging. Yummo! Had to buy a kilo. At 250000 dong ($15/kg) it was a great bargain and they taste great with bia (beer).

Our next stop was for a rest in a roadhouse. Literally. Someone’s house opens onto the road (of course) and they offer travellers a lie down in a hammock and a few supplies. We had coffee, although Tuan and Sunny only had a sleep. It was actually nice to hang around for a while, half way through our 120kms for today. Back on the road we slowly rolled along, fighting the wind today, until we arrived at the area where the Stieng ethnic minority live. These people have a museum in a large building they were gifted by the government in return for their valued contribution in aiding the National Liberation Front, the Viêt Cong. We visited here for a while then Tuan gave us another history lesson as we sat on the steps. He explained the chronology from French occupation through to after the end of the American war. It all made sense, in terms of how and why it happened the way it did. I couldn’t work it out before his lesson.

Our final stop came right as my butt reached complete numbness. I could barely sit any longer. I could also barely get off the bike. For some reason Sunny and Tuan thought we should wander around a war ceremony for hero’s from the communist side of the war. It was sobering, as all war cemeteries are, bit also interesting in that it was not well maintained generally or from the point of view of each grave. If this were in Australia or elsewhere in the world with Australian fallen it would be immaculate. Interesting.

We are now in a nice hotel, having just had dinner and a walk. Sunny and Tuan took us to dinner on the bikes. We had a really good and very authentic meal in a cafe style place. The floor was filthy with salad leaves and spent serviettes but with good reason. The meal was a plate of leaves, some rice paper, a few bbq’ed beef cigars and some fried pancakes. We rolled whatever ingredient we wanted into the rice paper or the leaves and tucked in. All for the grand total of $1.50 each! After dinner we chose to walk back to the hotel via the supermarket. Did I mention that there is NOTHING on trip advisor about this town. Foreigners do not ever, ever, ever come here. So we were the main attraction in the supermarket on the busiest night ever! And I still managed to choose the slowest checkout.

We are in bed now, drinking beer we bought at a cafe just downstairs (90 cents each). I don’t think we will see this new year in. Be the first I have ever missed. But it’s not Vietnamese new year anyway. When in Vietnam do as the Vietnamese. Nonetheless, happy new year to you both, your loved ones and the rest of the world.

Dear Vikki and Tricia,

Oh my word, what a day! We made it, but I’m not sure how …

After our breakfast of rice noodles with spring rolls and pork (which I enjoyed) and coffee we were on the road around 9am. Our first stop to stretch our legs was at a roadside rubber tree plot. This is one of the big exports. Again, the whole process is done by hand and lucky for us a farmer was walking through the trees and showed us how the cuts are made. The tree is sliced ALWAYS left to right, from the heart. If it is cut in the morning, the western side of the tree is cut to avoid the sun. If it is cut in the evening then the eastern side is cut. A small bowl is placed to catch the rubber that slowly drips out. The rubber is then exported as Vietnam makes bad rubber products. Apparently you don’t buy Vietnamese tyres for your bike.

On our way to the next stop I saw 2 men let 2 roosters loose on each other. This sport is banned most places in the world but this is Vietnam. We keep hearing that we are seeing the real Vietnam. “You wouldn’t see that on a bus tour”. After a boat ride across the river, we passed an incense making company. The incense is sold to buddhists to burn as an offering. The bundles of sticks drying by the side of the road looked so pretty. The photo shows you what I mean about how the space between the house and the road is used.

The main plan for the day was to go to the Cu Chi tunnels. While this was an interesting stop, it was a bit touristy and not very convincing in terms of its authenticity. But we got the idea. The locals were helpful, both in terms of providing supplies to the forces and fighting as guerillas. While they had little in the way of resources, they did a good job of creating some frightening weapons. As we didn’t have a tour guide with us we had to listen to the blurb from the guide provided by the venue. He was talking the talk and showed us one small section of tunnel (which I didn’t go into). The tunnels existed before the American war. They were initially created during the war with the French. Although the guide claims they are all gone, I suspects the 250kms worth still exist. If they proved to be a good defence line on 2 occasions why wouldn’t you keep them? Just in case.

After lunch we started on our way to the Mekong Delta. Tuan warned us that the traffic might be bad thanks to the end of the holiday and people heading back to Saigon. Oh my word! Bad was an understatement. This traffic was just plain crazy. The single lane road (one in each direction) was flooded with scooters, buses, trucks and cars. All going in the opposite direction to us and many of them doing it on our side of the road! Far too many times, over a good couple of hours, we had bikes, trucks, buses, and cars coming straight for us. The weaving, revving, swerving, speeding and other antics were all happening to our left like a stupid cartoon, while to our right we were passing picture perfect rice fields, brilliantly green in the sun. I have to say that Tuan did an amazing job getting us through that chaos. I didn’t feel he was ever unsafe, stupid or risky and he was cool as a cucumber in the face of certain death. So I just sat there and watched it happen.

Part way along the road we stopped for a break of pineapple, green mango and other Vietnamese delights. A bit further along we stopped at a fresh food stall. Once across the road (no mean feat) we could choose from snakes caught in traps in the river (120000 dong / kg) or rats freshly caught in the rice fields (from 80000+ dong/kg depending on their size). For a fee, we could have our selection killed and prepared for eating. The rat is fried with lemon grass. Who knew? Right as we were considering which to purchase, a scooter slid onto its side right where we were standing. It unfolded in front of me, behind The Newby and Sunny. I grabbed their arms to yank them out of the way. Fortunately only one other scooter went down, but it had the potential to be a pile up. No one was injured, including us, although the man was shaken. A sobering incident and I am pleased no kids were involved as many families, all piled onto one scooter, were on that road. The parents do things we wouldn’t get away with, like ride with helmets while their kids don’t have them or stand the kids on the bike seat between them. I even saw one woman driving a scooter while supporting a baby sleeping between her and the handle bars. I hope St Christopher is watching over them.

Back to the snakes and rats. I had an epiphany today. I have seen a lot of signs while we have been here in Vietnam with German Shepard dogs on them. I assumed they were for breeders advertising guard dogs. A fair assumption. But today I noticed the word chó (dog) on the sign. This is the word that The Lonely Planet says to look out for if you want to avoid eating dog. We have noticed it from time to time and pointed it out to each other. But today I put two and two together and worked out the sign with the German Shepherds is advertising the sale of dog meat for purchase. Not wanting to believe my own assumption, I checked it out with Sunny. I’m afraid it’s true, although he assures me the rate of consumption is dropping. Fortunately I haven’t seen the sign that The Newby saw advertising Golden Retrievers. I don’t think they were advertising guide dogs.

Finally we reached our destination here in My An around 6.00. After a shower and short rest, we crossed the road for dinner in a buffet. Think Sizzler then forget you thought it. This place has all sorts of raw food, buffet style for you to choose from including fish that are still live, frog, crocodile, pork hearts, chicken feet, “birds” and other goodies that you choose from and cook at your table. Not sizzling plate style. Griddle on hot coals in a clay pot style. Actually it was good fun (the live fish didn’t think so as it was thrown onto the griddle), great food and a lively atmosphere, complete with crappy karaoke from diners. As I write this I am grateful the singing has stopped and we might get some sleep. What an amazing way to start a new year. I hope your day was great too.

Hello Vikki and Tricia,

We are now in Saigon and I have missed 2 days of writing about our tour so I’ll update you now.

Day 5.

After a reasonable nights sleep and noodle with pork breakfast we set off on what I am going to call Flower Day. Our first stop though was a frog farm. Actually we stopped at a breeder who grows the frogs beyond tadpole size them sells them to a grower for 1000 to 2000 dong each. Fully grown they are worth about 40000 dong a kilo. He only breeders them because growing them needs different enclosures to make sure they don’t escape. We saw lots of frog farms so clearly there is a market for them. Most are eaten in Vietnam.

Our next stop, right as the rain started, was Xeo Quít. This is a place that was a training ground for national liberation front soldiers who were resisting the south and America. The communist party sent officers here to train locals so they could join the fight when the time came. The area was bombed in an attempt to disrupt their training. Every bit obviously helped to win the war (from the perspective of the communists). The site is now a tourist attraction, in the way that only the Vietnamese can do. No one was there. We were paddled around some narrow waterways, through a small parcel of jungle, before we watched some basket weaving being done by the ladies waiting to paddle the tourists. In this park there was a lovely lake with some beautiful lillies. I found out the way to tell lilies from lotus. The lily leaf rests on the water, while the lotus leaf grows above it. These were also the biggest lily pads ever. The frogs (if they weren’t being eaten) would love to sit on this pads.

Back on the bikes the rain was coming down so we put all the awful wet weather gear on. The flowers are being grown at the moments for Tet. Tet is the Vietnamese lunar new year and the most important holiday in the culture and country. People give, receive and display flowers as part of Tet. But not yellow daisies. They are for mourning, grief and loss. Tet is the 5th of February this year according to the Gregorian calendar. As we found out, many people don’t follow the Gregorian calendar, including Sunny.

After lunch we entered the Mekong Delta region and started the first of many ferry rides over the river, branches of the river and tributaries with other names. The river is what all the fuss is about. It starts in China, flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and here. It has been dammed in China for hydro and this has caused problems for Vietnam. The decreased number of floods means that minerals aren’t deposited on the land to provide the good things that the crops need. Despite this we saw some great roses and other potted plants, timed to flower for Tet. We also had a wander around the markets of Long Vinh. Having someone explain what you are seeing makes it even better!

Onwards we passed more stunning rice fields before finally arriving at our homestay destination. Mr Thai and his family run this place with rooms for guests around the fish pond. Mr Thai used to be an easy rider but he left that because he wanted to be with his wife and son more, and started the homestay. Our room had no hot water, but did have its own bathroom. The holes in the wall to the outside world suggested the mozzie net would be a good idea. But the hospitality was spot on, the food was nice (although I didn’t have much because it was fish), the beer was cold and the cost was very reasonable. So the way this trip worked was AUD $100 (each per day). We were out for 6 days and 5 nights. Everything is covered by your $100 except food and drink. Apparently the riders get all the money except a commission (I read this on a forum). What do you get for your money? A great experience on a motor bike for a start. A personal tour guide with expert knowledge on where to take you. Interesting sites that aren’t on trip advisor. A personal interpreter, historian, road safety expert and new friend. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone. If you want details on the company we used, let me know and I’ll send them through to you. Tricia?

Thursday the 3rd January 2019 was our last day on the bikes. It started after a nice breaky by the pond. Thankfully the rain that fell overnight was gone by the time we got on the bikes. I’m going to call this day Food Day. Our first stop was a great coconut (dua) small business. We got to see how the coconuts are husked, shelled, macerated, pressed for their milk, cooked to toffee consistency, cooled, moulded, cut and wrapped. An amazing, labour intensive product created in a typical Vietnamese small business. We bought plain and chocolate flavour. Couldn’t resist. Every part of the coconut is used. The husk and shell fuel the fire that boils the toffee. They are also used to make other things like the mortar and pestle I bought. I’ve always wanted one for my kitchen and now I have one that will remind of this great holiday.

Back on the bike we crossed the river by bridge. The construction of this particular bridge, which is huge, saves over 2 hours on the commute to the Mekong food bowl. On the other side we visited a Pagoda with a huge sleeping lady Buddha and a huge fat, happy Buddha. I think we are all Pagoda’ed out although I do want to take my lucky can of red bull to the Cao Dai temple tomorrow. Cao Dai is a Vietnamese religion that recognises all faiths, believing that God is represented by the Christian god, Allah, Buddha, Elvis or whomever you like. The eye of Cao Dai is watching us all. I like this idea, so we plan to visit a Cao Dai temple on Saturday.

Our final sites were more ferry crossings and endless dragon fruit farms. The river crossings are a treat to watch. They start with all bikes directed to a holding cage. In here riders jostle for position like it’s the Vietnamese Grand Prix. When the fellow opens the gate there is a motorbike meleé. Think trying to squeeze marbles down a funnel. On one occasion Tuan wanted to be last on the ferry. With just our 2 bikes to board, the ferry man closed the gate! Hilarious. Anyway, the fun doesn’t stop after boarding the ferry. Many of them are drive on and off in the same direction! So as the bikes drive on they go to the back of the ferry, do a u turn and come back to the front of the ferry. It takes Vietnamese synchronised driving to a whole new level!

Back on dry land we passed through endless fields of dragon fruit farms. I am keen to try to grow these at home so I got all the details. You need 4 off cuts of dragon fruit vine, a pole to grow them up, “shit from cows, pigs or anything”, water and regular trimming. When the flower opens they are pruned off and the fruit then appears. There are normally 2 harvests a year, depending on the light. Tuan, story teller, told us about how a farmer discovered that 24 hr light promotes double the harvest. 

Suddenly the dragon fruit farms were replaced with a 6 lane highway and we were in Saigon. The traffic just appeared and Tuan’s driving ramped up to the next level. As you can see poor Sunny had to try his best to keep up. After a few and turns through the city we arrived at our (wrong) destination, said good bye to Tuan and Sunny, tipped them well for their efforts and walked to our apartment for a rest! Welcome to Saigon where the calm of our 6 days in rural Vietnam just collided head on with chaos in the city. Try and keep up here.

%d bloggers like this: