Ha Giang Adventure Tours

Still riding strong! 5th day in North Vietnam

Signing back on again. I am in Phu Yen and the hotel I am at does not have internet. Last night Yen Bai was a very large city but Phu Yen here appears to be much smaller. The hotel is again older but clean. No TV here but the a/c works and the hotel has an amazing garden/courtyard outside. Old giant trees completely cover everything in shade and they have plants and flowers and shrubs all over. There are rabbits running around and hamsters and birds in cages everywhere. I came out here after a shower to sit and enjoy the shade and have a beer. I have some tunes in and just starting to type my update for the travels.

Nothing really crazy today. We left Yen Bai and headed here. It is like I thought it would be. Nothing near as spectacular as the Tonkenese Alps. Its still very beautiful but in a much softer more rounded way. Nothing really extreme. Also, after a week of riding through countless villages, I am starting to get used to the culture and so I am not stopping to take pictures quite as much.

One scare today. We turned a  really big curve and as we came around there was 2 military or police personnel. One of them pointed at me and had me pull over to the side of the road. I have to admit I was a bit nervous. I just vowed to stay calm and not do or say anything unless they directed me too. The one officer motioned for me to get off the bike and he also motioned for my guide to get off as well. He then had us follow him to their large truck. I was thinking in the back of my mind that there was no way in heck I was getting in that truck. He then handed me a copy of what looked like a registration card. I motioned that I did not have one and pointed at my guide. He then said something to the guide and the guide told me 100,000 vnd. While I was pulling the money out of my wallet he actually did fill out an official "ticket" which he had me sign. He then did the same with the guide and then easy enough we were done. Thank god. I just pictured a repeat of "midnight  express" with me being in some 4x5 cell somewhere in North Vietnam. 

We continued on our journey with our wallets slightly lighter but knowing that the money would be well spent on the road systems here in Vietnam, when about an hour later my motorbike broke down. Another great reason to have the guide. On the side of the road with just a screwdriver and a pocket knife he took the engine casing apart and found that I had a broken sprocket on one of the bearings that move the chain. Unfortunately we don’t have a replacement. He motioned to his ear and said ok, just noise. 
Yay! as if riding a chainsaw with wheels is not loud enough lets just up the volume by another 100db. It’s definitely a contrast in sensations to be driving through such peaceful settings and small quiet villages and me making enough noise to drown out even a pack of Hell's Angels heading to a Sturgis rally. 

Right before lunch it rained pretty hard and we got soaked but it cleared away and the rest of the day has been nice out. One thing I just thought of as I sit here  drinking my Aquafina water from a bottle is the catch 22 of bottled water. Having potable and safe water should be a right of every living person. However, as I have learned here, its not always the case. In America, so many people just expect that the government will step in and take care of all the basics for them. Here, its like the govt does not exist. Today is my 11th day and really the only day I have seen any authority from the government. And they were not there to help anyone. They were basically just collecting money from everyone. I have seen no health care system, no fire fighters, I did see one ambulance in hanoi. The roads are in such horrible shape. Clean water is not going to happen. So bottled water is everywhere. Every single store front, restaurant, hotel, etc has bottled water. The problem however is this. There is no trash collection that I can see. That means every bottle that is drank, the bottle is tossed away. And it is tossed away anywhere. Litter is such a huge problem. Its just everywhere. While I hate that its happening, I understand why. What are  you to do with trash when there is no place to take it? Such a shame to see such natural beauty marred by trash. 

It does reinforce my belief that the Creator who represents perfect justice will very shortly step in to bring his original purpose back to the earth. He created such a perfect and beautiful planet and this land is an example of that. This destruction and ruination of the planet will not be allowed to continue. I truly believe it. I can’t help but think of the promise made at Isaiah11:9 where it says: “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” 

My guide showed up and I think he’s getting hungry. Me however, I am getting a bit tired of Vietnamese food. Don't get me wrong. I really love the food here. Its so tasty. But as everyone knows I like pie too. But, if I was to eat pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner then after awhile pie may not look quite so attractive. I may want  to dabble a bit in cake. Here, again there is no diversity. We take for granted back home the choices we have. Do I want Mexican or Italian tonight? A great big American burger or a Greek Gryo sandwich? We have so many choices and tastes. Here its like the same menu at every single place to eat. And they use the same spices and seasonings on everything and for each meal. When I get to Hanoi on Wed I may be heading straight to the one fast food place they have in the whole city. Its a KFC! For now though I am resigned to having something very similar to what I had for lunch and breakfast today. 

Last thing was something I did not want to deal with. I told myself on this trip I would move forward from Audrey, but so much time on the bike to reflect on my own I just could not do it. Sometimes I wonder if anything or anytime will allow me to move forward. I miss her so much. This land would have been something she would have found so amazing. Ok, stop it! stick to the travel!

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