Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  , Ha Nội,
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I have a just a few days more of work before our 2 week Tet holiday begins and then I may be out of communication for a couple weeks. I hope to make some time to do a blog entry between my trip to the Sapa mountains and my trip to Bangkok/Ko Samet, Thailand. I am very excited about both trips.
 Aaah the clean mountain air and friendly villagers both of which I have read so much about should make for a great holiday with many photo's and hopefully an interesting entry (and less controversial than my last). In my research of both places it looks like the Sapa mountains has many interesting villages some of which speak a different language than Vietnamese despite it being in Vietnam. But it is very close to the Chinese border so maybe there is an influence from there. Its an overnight trip on a train of nothing but sleeper cars and its full. Several teachers from school are going the same weekend and couldn't get on so now they have to take the day train which takes much longer, with smokers, uncomfortable seats and many noisy people. I leave on Friday night at 8:30 pm and arrive in the early morning Saturday. I found a nice little guesthouse run by a family and its named appropriately, The Family Guesthouse. I stay til Tuesday night and then come home in time to go to work on Wednesday. I work 3 days...that's when I hope to post pictures at least and maybe some text to go with it.

On another note I have begun driving to and from work on the motorbike and so far (knock wood) no problems. The first day, Monday, when I drove my stomach was tied up in knots but each day its got increasingly more comfortable. I am like a little old man out there with people buzzing by me most of the time but as I get more comfortable with my reaction times and balance I'm sure I'll start driving like I did my car - yikes not that fast I hope. The key to driving in Hanoi, I have found, is in whenever possible "follow the herd". That is when I make a turn across traffic or cross thru traffic at an intersection, get in between or next to other drivers and follow the flow ...there's strength in numbers. Now today I had to make a few turns on my own and I lived to tell this story. Trust me, for those of you that might say to me "be careful", I Am. I don't ever want anything remotely like what happened last time to happen again. Those of you that might be new to my blog can just go back to any of my installments about 'The Leg' to understand what I am referring to.
The weather here has been down right hot the past 3 days - I asked some Vn teachers if winter is over and half say yes and the other half say we will get some rain and cooler temps after Tet but no more cold. Of course cold here means 50 degrees but for some reason that feels cold even to me who is used to 10's and 20's being cold. So today's high was 87 with a low of 71. Tomorrow its supposed to be 83. I will probably run my A/C tonight to sleep comfortably.

So after I return from the mountains I will then leave the following Saturday for Thailand. We'll spend a few days in Bangkok and then head to an island called Ko Samet.

More upon my return....

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thegreatfoley on

" The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn,burn, burn like a fabulous Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."
Jack Kerouac, from his seminal ON THE ROAD

First off, Marky, stay mad, burn madly, and carry that fire in your heart. race through the mountains on a cycle with the wind whipping your face and thank God for the moment. You are her and It is NOW. Burn madly. Do it today, hepcat.
Jazzy, fantastic, daring, delightful, poetic.

That's what Kerouac would have said of you.
Yeah, that's what old Jack would have said of you.

Be cool forever.

thegreatfoley on

Sorry, Marky, that should have read: You are here and IT is now.

My typing is terrible and my torn tendon in my middle finger is not only affecting my typing but minimizing my road rage.

mrcwoodsman on

Thanks Tim! - I was wondering when thegreatfoley would make his appearance - your writing is such an uplifting and inspiring opus in my life - keep on keeping on my friend.

mrcwoodsman on

PS - you know Kerouac IS the one that inspired my desire to travel and become a citizen of the world, don't you - I love that book!

kwai_chang on

I think you're including all that info about the warm weather just to annoy us who have not seen a day above freezing in about a month! We collectively hate you. Pay close attention to what's being yelled at you when you're driving so slow in traffic--I'm sure you'll learn a few really choice VN expletives. By the time you're an expert rider, you'll be able to curse fluently in VN!

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