Experience 8: Vietnam, from the south to the north
Often people ask us which continent we prefer, South East Asia or Latin America. The answer is getting more difficult because hour heart is growing for SEA the longer we travel trough this continent. Like Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam causes this growth. Although our communication with the Vietnamese is limited, we experience them as sweet and warm as long as we show them our own warm smile. 90% of the smiles are pure and genuine.
We started our adventure Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon, after it collapsed). Together with our American friends Pat and Janey and our Dutch giants Dieuwke en Timo we celebrated New Years Eve among the little Vietnamese. It is hard to imagine, but even we are tall here. What a city is Ho Chi Minh City! An unbelievable energy is beaming out of every street corner. 6,000,000 scooters on 9,000,000 inhabitants makes crossing streets a big adventure. You take precedence by crossing the street slowly through the maze of all scooters. Just make sure that you keep on moving and trust on your hope that they all will avoid you. Again in Vietnam we were shocked by its history. The aftermath of the American War did surprise us. Off course we saw the Vietnamese version, but the reality is that Vietnam has a lot of disabled inhabitants and even today crippled babies are born. This is still reality due to “Agent Orange”, the poison the Americans used to beat the enemy. American soldiers have yet been compensated by the manufactures of the poison and the US government. The road to the compensation of the Vietnamese victims is very long.
In Ho Chi Minh City we said goodbey to Pat and Janey, knowing that we will meet to travel again together. On our way to Mui Ne we got to know Judy en Carl from Canada. Another great couple with whom we made a lot of fun. In Mui Ne it rained quit a bit. Besides eating fresh fish and play cards we didn’t do a lot. After Mui Ne we traveled to Dalat, a nice town in the mountains of central Vietnam. After three days we toke the bus to Hoi An. A suit, three shirts, two warm coats and a blazer have been tailor made for us and disappeared in a box on its way to the Netherlands. Beautiful ancient Vietnamese/Chinese/Japanese houses can be seen in the idyllic old streets of Hoi An. We had to think a lot about Antigua, Guatemala due to their similarities. We lived there for about six month when we were volunteering in Guatemala. Hoi An is absolutely worth while a visit. When you’re there, keep in mind that you park your rented bike at spots where it is allowed. Else you have to search for it in the evening, like we had to. No worries, after some questions you’ll find it back. Behind a closed fence though. As Zen as we are, we trusted on the positive outcome.
From Hoi An we flew (where would we be without the app “Skyscanner”? The flight was even cheaper then the train) to Hanoi. Although Hanoi is the capital, it is smaller and less developed as Ho Chi Minh City. Fully packed motorbikes fly around your ears (Dutch expression?) in the little streets in the old town. In the morning and evening heroic stories about Ho Chi Minh, the Nations biggest hero, come out of the speakers. Each Vietnamese is told to live as brave as he did. From Hanoi we did two trips. We drove three days by boat through the 1969 islands (year of the death of Ho Chi Minh…. Coincidence?) of Halong Bay. Due to the winter, the sphere was mysterious. Enormous rocks came out of the mist the closer we got to them, a great scenery. Besides enjoying good food, fishing, and looking outside, we did a nice trip with the canoe and we even toke a swim in the green water. On our last day, Lous overcame her claustrophobic fears and walked for the first time of her life from the start until the end of a huge cave. Rob was very proud on his Schatje!
You want to know which adventures we experienced during our 6 day crazy motor adventure? Just wait until we published our story. It will include a new Youtube movie!
Marlous and Rob