On our way to Paradise

Tilling the field

With the exception of horrid weather, I am going on a white water rafting trip. I have a family staying with us that was interested in doing something a little bit different. I have decided to join them in order to be able to give a first hand account for future guests. I will let you know how it all turns out in another post. The trip includes picking us up at the Hotel and transferring us to the river an hour away in the mountains, a BBQ lunch, and all the free beer I we can handle. Hmmmmmm…..BBQ and free beer??? I am not sure I like the sounds of that….. NOT! Anyway…..

I want to tell you about Paradise…. Yes Paradise. Drifter and I had a road trip to paradise and it goes like this;

Another temple

Li’l Sissy and Puffy after a good nights rest were going to be put to the test again. There is a town called Doc Let about 45 kilometers north and Drifter and I decided it was our next destination. Our Aching buts seemed to be OK and the smell of adventure was in the air. We left a bit late and cruised along a beautiful highway that parallels the ocean to the north of NhaTrang. We pass by an abandoned Russian resort that for some reason or another came to a grinding halt and sits there large and ominous beckoning ghosts to call it home. A not to distant drive and we encounter a tiny fishing village. What better a place to have lunch! We blinked and it was gone, so we turned around and looked for a roadside spot that had tables assuming there would be food service. We found a place and to the amazement and glee of some nice locals, we sat down. When they discovered that we had some crude language skills, they were even more elated. We asked if they had food and

Meow

the response was “what do you want?” Ok….. Uh…. How about Bun Me (submarine sandwich). The mother ( I assume) gives some commands to a young lady and off she runs at top speed. There is no food service here, but like in so much of Vietnam, if you want something, they will provide. It is taking the young lady a while and we engage the family in conversation so to speak. They of course ask of our marital status and the like, but surprisingly to us, two of the older women pull out cigarettes and start smoking. They then talk to us about the merits of having more than one wife. Cool!! The husband shows up and adds to the conversation. Unknowing to drifter, (I think) I deflected the pressure from me telling them that I was married as hell, but he was available. The husband showed up and then all sorts of marriage combo’s and advice were told. It was fun and finally the gal showed up with our submarine of pork fat, duck liver pate, and veggies. I asked about the distance as it took so long and was told that the submarine shop was very far away. Well!! If they would have said something, I would have spared her

A spot in the middle of nowhere

the trip. After enjoying the lunch with the family and watching fisher folk returning with their catches, we asked for the bill. 18000 or 90 us cents for 2 submarines and 2 Pepsis. We left a tip and carried on our way leaving the people with a story to tell. All in all a great experience (even though I would have preferred meat to pork fat in my sandwich). We are only into our trip for an hour and it is looking good. Heading north we merge into dreaded highway number 1 and run the gauntlet. I do not know if I could adequately describe how dangerous this highway can be. 

Lets picture a 2 lane road paved with asphalt softened by the heat of the day to form ruts and ripples at random spots on its entire length. On those two lanes, add a shoulder perhaps 3 to 4 feet in width on both sides. They are not even with the pavement. The road was layered 4 inches higher than the shoulder so there is a spot of instability when crossing. Now let’s add

Looking for a needle

 distractions. Along the sides of the highway will be many signs, goods, and services that are as close as possible to attract the attention of the motorist. The vehicles that have stopped at these places have dragged sand and muck onto the shoulders. Now let’s add the traffic. For the most part, motorcycles travel on the shoulders weaving back and forth to evade the debris pulled onto the roadway by emerging traffic. On the main softened washboard ridden pavement are trucks that sometimes make ours look timid, with horns factory stocked with decibel levels you cannot count. Who ever is the loudest and the biggest and most aggressive has the right of way. They will charge side by side not caring for on coming traffic. While they are doing a deadly dance, a fast moving minibus will get involved, its smaller horn blaring. Both lanes and almost both shoulders are taken by these maniacs.

Fisher folk

They come towards you at reckless abandon and you squeeze to mere inches from dropping into a ditch. They pass and your helmet gets sucked by such violent force that the chin strap starts to choke you. Ahhhhh I survived that one but guess what??? The same thing happens from behind so you better be keeping an eye on that rear view mirror non stop. The difference from the behind assault is that those ear piercing horns can shock you so severely. That who knows where or how you will react…. Maybe right in front of them. Anyway….. We are on our way to Paradise…. The adventure continues

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Owee

Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

2 thoughts on “On our way to Paradise

  1. Our road trips were some of the best times I’ve spent in Viet Nam. I miss you guys already, Tram, Kquyen, Lich and your lovely wife Mai. Hope to see you again and very soon. I know, I know “just make it happen”.

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