The Motorbike trip begins...
Trip Start Jan 09, 2013
18Trip End Aug 01, 2013
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Where I stayed
It's Wednesday morning, I'm in a nice cafe having the Vietnamese coffee I promised myself I would not have today but Its out of necessity from last nights hangover... When btw I was unbeatable at pool, I even ran out of money near the end and started playing for drinks even though I didn't have anything to buy one with if I lost, but I was in the zone, I couldn't lose..! I even suggested a tournament tonight everyone putting in 20,000 dong!! (That's about 70p)..
So I've just picked up my motorbike from the mechanic, hopefully for the last time. I did the guided motorbike trip yesterday and very glad I did as it was great to practice on my bike and learn it a bit which I did but the guide also explained about the area, drove on some great roads and also showed me this rice paper making household after my home broke down..
Chatting to the guide he told me he plays footy so I asked if I could play and he said yes, no surprise because it seems a good status thing anywhere in Asia really to know a falang so to bring one to footy will definitely get him a few drinks bought after. There's a party after too he asked me on to so that should be interesting and will either wreck or prime me for the pool competition later. The footy is 7 a side and at 4pm so just starting to cool down but still gonna kill me.
Yesterday's bike trip was great, we went to Vietnams oldest most famous temple site called My Son, but to be honest it was crap!
When my bike broke down he showed me a rice paper making household business over the road, about 6 people, all really friendly and welcoming and happy to show me the process and invite me to join them for lunch sampling the rice paper they just made... The rice paper ends up as square thin sheets, set hard like poppadoms, and about 10 inch square. They start by boiling the rice to soften it and then mix it with water to form a gloppy glue like substance. This is then put into a container and through a tap fed on to like a press, similar to a printing press actually, the main roller wrapped with a hard silk ream around a series of runners and the mixture pours on to this and is thinned out just after the tap so it spreads very thinly over the silk sheet where it then runs through a covered heat experience, and starts to turn in to a sheet but still not set until it comes out the other side when it's guillotined into those sheets and then taken off, placed on huge racks and put over a large charcoal stove where again it started to set more until it fully sets in the final stage when taken off the stove and left to fully set and cool outside
So lucky for me I saw the last 20 minutes of a run before lunch which was, yes you guessed it, rice paper!! So what they must do is heat it slightly to turn it from a hard poppadom to a soft tortilla (but much thinner) so it's like a wrap, and we had veg, salad and chilli dip to wrap in them... I had about 8 of them, and we all asked the usual top three Asian questions; where are you from? How old are you? And are you married? And took some photos, everyone laughing and getting on and again having the guide to translate was great, really makes me realise that to keep doing things like that I have to grasp the language a bit more... Which leads me to today and again to my good friend Chris O'Grady...
Btw, I met Chris when working at Rowan, he was and still is the top sales man at a printers in Wolverhampton called Lion and we got on great and are still good friends today.. He's also quite a traveller and did a pilgrimage from his home all the way to Rome by walking, with the odd hitch hike and by just knocking on doors and asking for a bed for the night... Awesome eh!! Anyway, Chris told me I should try couch surfing years ago, so the other day I thought it would be good initially just to meet people in their home towns and they show me around and all being well try the actually free couch too at some point.
So everything else is sorted, I'm ready to start the bike trip tomorrow, the am is to drive up to Hue via the Hoi Vann pass, an apparently amazing high mountain pass overlooking the sea and a highlight of driving in Vietnam... From there is largely inland down to the capital Ho Chi Minh City via mainly inland stop offs... Can't wait!!
So I'll upload this later when I have photos from today's trip and after football too... If I'm still alive!!
Wow.... what a day yesterday, by far the best so far.. I met the students, a guy called Thang and two girls called Trinh and April
I played football later and had a top time... I was shattered after the warm up though, a mixture of the heat and lack of fitness. They've could all play and were all pretty fast two but in the game I held my own and scored a hat trick too - the most cheered being a header from a corner as I was the big westerner and kinda expected to win everything in the air and there was always a big 'wohhhwww' every time I went for a header or 50/50!!
Great guys who all made me feel welcome and having food and beers after the game was feast, bypassing the language barrier with most if harm by learning how they do a cheers and also saying 'down in one' (Cham fan cham) which I already knew which went down well, so after a few cheers I was initiating them and doing a few down in ones and the more drink we got the more laughs there was..
I went out to the main bar here after and net a few guys id met in previous nights here, an Aussie teacher, local cool dude james dean type pool shark and a Thai guy working here too called Jot... We had top night playing pool and yeah, I was on fire again!!
Anyway, since then I've had some more great days here and also took a day trip to Hue and back which I'll post in a separate blog. I a m rearranging the trip a bit as I stayed here a few days longer than expected to see the people I met more but feels time to go and go inland too and off the party and people trail for a hit until Nha Trang and Saigon when it will be the lunar new year here and three days if celebrations..
Take care, and wish me luck...Love to all.. Xx