Day 16-20

Editors Note:  Please note that these blogs were written at the end of each days ride and contain extraordinarily horrible grammar.  We aim to fix this up as time permits.  

DAY 16 

Hotel Prince, the cushy place we stayed at last night failed to install windows in the rooms. This meant waking up this morning was a total mind-blank. I couldn’t work out whether it was 3am or I’d overslept and it was past midday. Pattni came a knocking and it was 9am, time to shower and get ready for the day ahead! The plan was to ride the 90kms to a city up the coast called Hue. The place is talked highly of in most guides with the promice of a good feed and plenty of streets to aimlessly walk around. Perfect! It’s Vietnam New Year holidays so of course everything will be open for us. After paying for the room we headed down and loaded up the hogs. We’ve gotten awesome at tying up all the bags, it gets done in under 5 minutes now. As we drove up from the basement where the bikes had been parked overnight onto the road we noticed the weather today was absolutely amazing. Blue skys and the sun beaming down. A few layers of winter clothing came off and we rode down the street towards the highway to Hue. The first 10kms or so was very cruisy. An empty street hugging the coastline meant an amazing view and the sea smell in the air reminded me of home. It also reminded me a lot of Santa Monica in the US, how it was all set out. We stopped by the fuel pump to top up and then headed for the highway – the name of this highway escapes me but it was windy and hilly and my god what an awesome view. Again we were hugging the coastline however the highway rose up hills offering amazing views of the bay below. At one point we pretty much found the most amazing kodak moment and pulled over to go picture crazy. As this happened two Vietnemese women appeared out of nowhere forcing maps and candy in our faces. We bought stuff out of pity and onwards we rode.

 

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The riding today seemed to be very slow and steady. In fact with all the windy roads and the stop starting we only covered about 40kms before we pulled over for lunch. We slowed down in a small town and got called into a restaurant by some very exited locals. They made us some large cups of coffee and a plate of noodles. The guy who works there, his real job was actually in one of the bigger hotels in Da Nang, his English was brilliant and so lunch was spent asking him all the questions we’d built up on this trip. It was a great conversation and we learnt so much. No we weren’t getting ripped of everytime we went to get fuel. Yes what we were paying for rooms at hotels were great prices. Yes our hogs were rad and Yes the Honda dream is a second rate motorcycle. After saying goodbye and him hoping to see us again one day we rode on towards Hue. The ride after lunch was quite a drag. We were riding on Highway 1 and the traffic had built up. The roads were also at times banged up and the equipment bag on the back of my bike fell of a few times. It took a real long time to cover any real distance and we didn’t arrive in Hue until about 3.30pm. When we did arrive we found the hotel strips quite easily however with so many to choose from it was going to take something quite special to pluck us from the street. The Google Hotel. The people who own the hotel gave the middle finger to copyright and got themselves a Google logo made up and stuck hotel underneath it. Ridiculous yet awesome. The hotel foyer even had a big Google logo behind the desk. The rooms were cheap and had hot water. We laughed at the the thought of the Google hotel not having internet.

 

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After checking in and munching on some snacks I decided to deliver on a promice I made to myself on the drive down. My backs been absolutely killing me on the past few rides and after complaining to Mother on the phone the night before she suggested I go get a massage. Well she didn’t suggest, she moreso said it as a joke. But, we’re in Vietnam, why not. We walked around a few blocks and finally found a place. I made it clear that I was in need of JUST a back and shoulder massage. No worries, 5 dollers for one hour. I was lead into a room and told to take my kit off.  I took my shirt off and laid on the massage table. Then in comes this Vietnemese GUY who begins the massage. For the next hour I think I was used as a boxing bag. At one point I was seated upright and he was just hitting me in the head continuously for about 5 minutes. Amongst all this he attempted to dislocate all my fingers and was content on corking my bum cheeks. He stood on my back with his knees and attempted to mimick the Lord of the Dance. With all this going on he also had an annoying sniffel. I wish he’d blown his nose before beginning this power hour of pain. Afterwards I walked back out to the foyer where Pattni had been waiting and walked out feeling worse than I did when I came in.

Over the road was what looked like a restaurant called Apocolypse Now. From the outside it looked awesome and I thought Id read about it in the Lonely Planet guide. We walk and straight away the level of the music is mind numbing. The place is quite busy with locals. This hard trance is playing and everyone is sitting around sipping beers and cocktails. Conversation is void due to the level of the music, however everyone seems quite content. Pattni and I decide to give it a go and order a few bevvies we hadn’t yet experienced. They came with a sack of sunflower seeds and the next half hour was spent trying to figure out how to get the nuts out of them. I think there’ll be a lot sunflower shells in our poop later. We leave and go in search of food again. We find a Pizza shop however the friendly lady inside said they were closed for New Year holidays, however theres a great restaurant a few streets down called the Mandorin Restaurant. We go to check it out and sure enough the Google Hotel is also the Mandorin Restaurant. The lady in the foyer welcomes us back and we sit down and order dinner. It wasn’t enough and after the mains we reorder what we’d just eaten. After we’d stuffed ourselves silly it was about 10pm and we got our laundry checked in for the first time since being in Vietnam. A big few days ahead as we really need to bomb towards Ha Noi.

 

DAY 17

We rose and shone like fresh piece of bread popping from the toaster just after 8am this morning.  A good nights sleep didn’t seem to last long enough but we needed to make some headway towards Hanoi.  This was the plan at least, until the laundry we put in the night before went from please wait 5 minutes to an hour and a bit hold up.  Pattni, stuck in a towel and t shirt and myself just the shorts I’d worn to bed the night before, had to wait for our laundry to be dried and folded before we could go anywhere.  This did mean some cheeky lazy slumber time however we didn’t get to check out the hotel until about 10.30am.  Goodbye Google hotel.

Before leaving Hue we really wanted to check out the Citadel.  After packing the bags onto the bikes we set out to find it.  Interestingly I rode a long side a tourist on a bicycle and not being too sure as to how to pronnounce what we were looking for, I ask if she knew where the Synagogue was.  She looked at me confused and exclaimed she didn’t know there was one in Hue.  I rode on and thought about what just happened.  Then it clicked.  She was probably thinking I was this overly Jewish bastid-guy who just couldn’t miss a morning prayer.

On the search for the mysterious Citadel we went past a bakery with fresh bread rolls being made.  We pulled over and got stuck into the doughy goodness.  We’ve really come to love the bread rolls here.  They’re always fresh, crisp and fluffy.  And they cost only a few cents.  We talked to a few locals about how to get to the Citadel and soon enough we’d navigated our way there.  It was rather interesting and a cheeky history lesson in the middle of Hue city.  The Citadel in Hue was once an integral assembly point, back when the city was the capital of Vietnam, around the 1800’s right upto the 1940’s.  Out the front is a huge flag pole with a gigantic Vietnemese flag.  Pattni and I have both agreed that the Vietnemese flag is incredibly rad and seeing this huge display of patriotism was just aweinspiring.

 

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After the Citadel it was time to hit the road and bomb the 90km’s to Dang Ha, our last stop on the coast before heading back inland to bomb it to Ha Noi via the Ho Chi Minh trail.  The ride up was like yesterday afternoon, tiresome and a tad stressfull.  Highway 1 isn’t the funnest road to be on, the scenary is dyre with people and shacks constantly lining the roads and the traffic a lot more heavier than on the Ho Chi Minh highway.  It seemed that whenever we thought we’d covered some distance it was actually only a fraction.  Finally by about 2.30pm we arrived in the imperial city of Dang Ha.  Dang Ha has one busy and very dusty strip of activity and at the end of it a park and fresh food market.  With it being New Year holidays, of course, everything was still shut.  We found a good hotel and Pattni ended up with the V.I.P room.  The V.I.P meant he got a bathtub, although, theres never enough hot water to actually being able to fill it.  After checking in and putting all the bags into the room we headed out in search of some lunch.  A really cool restaurant over the road was as expected, closed, however up the road we found a Pho stall.  The lady running it made us up chicken and beef Phu and I got a coffee.  The Phu had bugs in it and the iced coffee was served at room tempereture.  The price reflected that of a 3 course meal.  This town is already starting to annoy us but one bad meal wasn’t going to put us off it.  We decided to walk the ‘strip’ and see what else is on offer.  Nothing else is on offer.  Just closed shops,  alot of dust and tourist buses zooming past en route to the next town.  We get near the end and theres a park.  In the park some kids are playing on a skateboard.  They let us have a go on it.  Theres also some kids with a bike and they let us ride around the park.

 

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This little experience turned out to be the highlite of the day.  We walked down to the fresh food market where a small boy badgered us the entire time for money.  By now it was 5pm and we’d seen the entire town of Dong Ho.  We headed back to the hotel and after sitting around for half n hour decided to go and try find some snacks on the hogs.  We searched all the main roads and all the backroads until we finally found a small shop selling potato chips.  We purchased half the store and left.  We then went in search of dinner.  Jesus this was hard.  After about an hour of walking around in the dark we FINALLY found one place that was open.  We walk in and we’re rudely told to sit down.  Suddenly out comes three plates of vomit.  1 Plate has half a fish, fully scaled, plonked in some brew.  Another has a mix of prawns, beef cubes and an unknown meat sitting in a brown marinade, an interesting mix and the last plate had a broth that we have no idea what entailed.  There was also a bowl of rice on offering.  After polishing off all the ‘chunky’ pieces of rice, we were no longer able to pick the smaller bits up with the chopsticks.  The fish was just plain rotten and the random meat/seafood dish tasted like a quick route to food poisoning.  We got some drinks to wash the tastes down however they don’t come with any ice.  Room tempereture soft drink, the best kind!  I ask for some ice and see the owner take a big chunk from the esky that the fish were in and wash it under a tap then dry it with a rag and plonk it into our glasses.  Okay, no more.

We find a shop that has some 2 minute noodles and head back to the hotel where the owner glady gives us some boiled water to cook them in.  An interesting day, tomorrow we ride the hogs from dawn til dusk!

 

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DAY 18

We were up at about 8am to leave Dong Ha.  As we loaded up the hogs and checked out, the lady that runs the hotel wished us luck and gave us a warm beer each.  We chucked them in the bags and rode out.  The weather was beaming this morning and with a full days riding ahead it was welcomed with big smiles.

We bombed out of Dong Ha and continued down the dreaded Highway 1.  We were trying to get back onto the Ho Chi Minh highway, however, each proposed turn off on the map, didn’t replicate on the actual roads.  40kms down the road we pulled over for some coffee and the family that run the shop gathered around us as we drank.  A women that spoke some English helped us to get back onto the Ho Chi Minh, a left turn in about 4kms, but warned that there was no mechanics if our bikes were to break down for long distances.  We thanked them and on we trooped.

 

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We found the left turn and as soon as we got onto the Ho Chi Minh highway the traffic all but dissapeared.  It was just us, the roads and the amazing scenary unfolding around every corner.  We were on the bikes the whole day only stopping for gobsmacked photos, filming and the occasional rest stop.  The most interesting rest stop came at a small town that isn’t even on the map.  We pulled over and got us some drinks and treats.  The treats weren’t exactly the most appealing food we’ve eaten.  A hard cube of biscuit that tasted a bit like salt.  It could’ve been a soap bar for all we knew.  Some kids came over wondering who we are.  They had a wiked little BB gun that they were shooting things around town with.  I told him to shoot me in the arse and sure enough a bee sting ca-pow later and I was sure they definetely worked.  We shared some of our snacks with them and onwards we rode.

 

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We went past a national park which was simply awe-inspiring.   Big jagged hilltops poking out of the ground surrounded the road – simply stunning.  As we pressed on into the evening we started planning out where to stay.  A town about 20km’s away called Pheo seemed like the most suitable pit stop for the night.  It was about 4pm and we should make good timing.  2km’s out from Pheo however, Mo’s bike broke down.  To be fair, if we were to break down anywhere, this was probably the most picturescue place it could’ve happened – on a bridge over emerald coloured water with mountains peering over us.  We decided to walk the 2km’s to Pheo.  When we arrived however, we soon realised there’d be no motel, hotel, guesthouse, bed, straw mat or anything for us to sleep on.  We were in the sticks with a few wooden shacks making up the village.  A boy saw our bike was broken and pointed to his dads shop.  We pulled it in to be looked at all the while surrounded by what seemed to be every child in the village.  It looked like the spark plug had gone so after replacing that, things seemed to be all tally-ho again.  The mechanic dude insisted on getting Mo’s autostarter working again so we were in the pits for a good 30 minutes.

We were out of Pheo by 6pm and the sun was almost gone.  We’d promised not to ride at night on this trip, but where were we to sleep, on the side of the road?  The Ho Chi Minh trail isn’t as busy as Highway 1 so riding wasn’t too bad. However not long after leaving the bike repair shop, Mo’s bike started acting up again as his throttle became very jerky making it impossible to get any power on the bike. It had suddenly gotten quite cold as well so I decided to put on my jumper – Pattni didn’t want to stop his bike so he rode ahead whilst I pulled over.  The bike was on a bit of a hill and once I let go of it the whole thing toppled over.  When I got it upright again and started it up something wasn’t quite rite.  I pressed on anyways in an attempt to catch up with Mo.

En route to finding somewhere to sleep we saw a friendly looking home with lights on, but as soon as we parked the bikes and walked towards it, two very angry dogs came charging at us and we frozed motionless in fear as they growled menacingly. Luckily they stopped charging a few metres from us and instead started sniffing around.  We slowly walked away with our bikes and got up the road a bit to try start them up again.

We got into the next town about 12km’s down the road.  I walked into a small coffee shack and asked if there was a hotel around.  I was greeted by a group of about 8 drunk Vietnemese guys who did everything but help us find a hotel.  Things from here started getting a bit rowdy.  They where climbing over the bikes, touching the cameras and in all but darkness we realised we had to get away from them pretty quickly.  The problem?  Pattnis bike had cut out and was barely starting and now my bike now was also breaking down.  It was absolutely nuts.  How could this be?  By now we were both on edge and had a situation on our hands.  At one stage, the drunken louts surrounded Mos bike, so i kick started mine and put it in neutral and then called them all over to me being uber friendly and saying all the Vietnamese words I knew to try and impress them. As they came over Mo finally managed to kick start his bike! But as soon as he did, one of the men who was so excited to be around us insisted we stay and turned off the ignition. To make matters worse, in the process he had dislodged the key, which now sat somewhere in the dusty ground. A frantic search with the meagre light from his cell phone unearthed the keys, thank god and then he got his bike turned on and into first gear and started riding.  As they saw him leaving they started going back to him so I then started moving which I think confused them and we hooned off.

We were now riding in complete darkness with no idea of what was on either side of the road.  Mountain peaks?  Bush?  Water?  How high up were we?  We found another small town 10km’s further.  A few people were inside watching TV.  We pulled in and asked again, if there was a hotel anywhere around.  Soon enough they were on their phones calling friends and within 5 minutes more people had arrived.  An overly charismatic guy befriended us and saw our bikes were barely moving.  He said his brother could fix them and so I rode with him down an alley into the inner village to the mans house/shop/shed.  Pattni was left where we’d arrived.  More on that later.  At the mans shed he started fixing the bike whilst our new ‘friend’ got the Vodka out and we started to celebrate there New Years whilst trying to understand what one another was saying.  He said we could sleep at his house. Great!  This is amazing, we’re in the middle of nowhere but this guy is taking us in and helping us with the bike.  Soon enough however things started turning sour.  They wanted a ridiculous amount of money for fixing the bike.  I was stuck down in this shed so all the cards were in there hands.  The ‘fixer’ started dismantling my bike so I was forced to pay up.  I got on my bike and sped backto catch up with Mo – the bike just as bad as before he ‘fixed’ it.

While I was gone, more and more kids started to swarm around Mo and the bike, and keeping track of them all was getting impossible.  They kept offering to barter their possessions for his and it was starting to get uncomfortable. To make matters worse, his bike was still failing to start. The kids had turned up some ridiculous hard trance music and everyone  was drunk from celebrating Lunar New Year.  My bag with everything in it, was lying on Mo’s bike on the other side.  Thank god noone had the brains to touch it.  Soon enough our ‘friend’ had come back up the alley and decided to jump on Mo’s bike to try fix it like he had with mine.  Mo managed to get him off and with one almighty kick start he miraculously started his bike up – somehow both bikes were now running. With such a golden opportunity to scram we drove off into the darkness and was back on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Pattni hit the throttle so hard in his desperation to leave, his bikes front wheel actually lifted off the ground, a cheeky wheelie at the most ridiculous of times. To quote Pattni, ‘I would rather sleep in a gutter than spend anymore time there’.

The relief to be away from that place was indescribable, we were really exposed and anything could’ve happened and no one would’ve ever known.  Thank goodness about 10km’s down the road we came across an open petrol station with a really friendly young dude working with his girlfriend.  We refueled and looked at both our bikes.  The main bolt that held my engine in place had again dislodged – probably when the bike fell over.  I stuck a screwdriver into the hole to temporarily hold it in place but the fuel valve was only half connecting.  Mo’s bike was cutting in and out and it was quite simply all unexplainable to us.  The guy said there were no beds so it was either sleep on the petrol shop floor or ride on.  The floor looked pretty cozy but he did say there’d be a hotel in 30kms.  Would our bikes be able to do 1km let alone 30?  We decided to try and press on.

Our darkest moment came about 15kms from our destination when a rather long incline caused my bike to stall and cut out. Pattni turned back to catch up with me but had no luck and his engine sputtered to a halt. As the light from his bike faded out we were immersed in complete and utter darkness.

With all hope seemingly lost, we decided to walk our bikes back to the last point that had light, a small house a kilometer back. It was so dark we couldnt even see each other nor the road. This seemed like a dangerous idea so I started to kick start my bike in desperation and somehow, it fired up again. Pattni stood there awestruck that my bike was alive and decided to try his own last ditch effort. Ignition!

We had broken down probably 10 more times before finally getting the bikes to cruise the remaining KMs. One final scare came when in the pitch black we almost hit a buffalo, both of us missing it by a hairs width. We finally found a hotel in the backstreets of a town.  It wasn’t just any hotel but a cheeky Oasis.  We’d been riding for 14 hours by the time we got in at 11.30pm and it had gone from one of the best rides by day to the worst ride by night.

 

DAY 19

After a truly grueling ordeal the previous night, and 14 hours on the road, 5 of which were in total darkness we were completely spent. We arrived into town too late to find a restaurant or anything. We managed to buy some pathetic custardless custard cakes from the hotel owner and snacked on those. We were so tired we didnt emerge from the hotel until midday.  Looking out the balcony upon waking, the broken hogs were still there basking in the sun.  Oh you darling hunks o’ steel.

 

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We dragged our sputtering bikes to the nearest mechanic and soon the bikes were up and running. We decided to make for the town of Vinh as it is a larger town where we wouldnt have the accommodation issues we suffered the previous night.

The ride out was pleasant enough and we found an amazing cafe for our regulation hit of Vietnamese coffee. We sipped our beverage overlooking a still watered emerald coloured lake, surrounded by trees.

 

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Soon we were making good progress through the slightly busier roads than normal when disaster struck.

Coming round a sweeping left turning bend, Jon was faced with the obstacle of a man trying to cross his bike across the road and onto the oncoming lane. The man must not have seen us and pulled out right infront of Jon who impulsively swerved to avoid him, the man however continued on his course and Jon, left with no choice, ended up T-boning him on the oncoming lane. The last thing I saw was Jon front flipping over his handlebars and landing in a ditch leading to a creek on the roadside along with the man following him and the two bikes clattering to the roadside.

I ditched my bike and scurried over the road to see if Jon was ok, he seemed shaken up and dazed. The man in a similar position, both bikes in a heap beside them. A huge mob quickly developed with what seemed like the whole village surrounding the crash scene and riders going past stopping to see the damage.

Jon seemed to have escaped without any serious injury, only cuts and bruises and was up and about very quickly. The man however appeared to be in pain and didn’t get up too sharply. He sat there collecting himself  and seemed to be holding his lower back. We noticed later that he had spitted some blood from his mouth. He eventually got up and sat down on a bench until a few people he seemed to know appeared and took him away.

Meanwhile the scene of the accident was becoming chaotic and the friends of the injured man were requesting 700,000VND as compensation for the damage to the bike.  Completely out of our realm and knowing full well that technically the bikes weren’t licensed to us we had no real choice than to pay the amount being asked.  The other man involved was no longer on the scene and the people present claimed to be acting as a proxy. This seemed suspicious to us. The last thing we wanted was to hand over any money to a random person. We recognized a man who was helping him originally and gave him the money.  Suddenly it was all smiles, shaking hands and thank-yous, the situation seemed to instantly deflate and people went about their lives. In a few minutes no one would have known the events that just transpired

A kindly younger man took me aside and explained that if the Police got involved, it would escalate into a much bigger problem. He suggested we pay up and get ourselves out of there. The man was being looked after and Jon was fine. So taking his advice we paid the people and then carried the bike across the road for repair. The front tyre inner tube had blown, the indicator lights were damaged or broken, the front wheel alignment was off and the support bolt for the engine had come loose again. With all these repairs came the exorbitant bill of 200,000VND. Not wanting to drag out the situation any further, we paid up and were out of there.

We cautiously rode down the AH15 toward the dreaded Highway 1 as it was the only access to Vinh. The trip was uneventful but the traffic was heavy. We pressed on and finally reached our destination. A city so badly bombed in the 70’s it was hurriedly rebuilt with the help of the East Germans…and it shows. The buildings are dingy uninspired blocks with no character and feel like they belong in Soviet Russia.

We found a hotel in our price range that seemed nice enough and we kicked off our gear and headed out. As we left, the man at the reception asked us where we were going, which was a bit odd. We found the best restaurant in town where we lavished ourselves with a massive feast as a treat for the rough conditions we’ve had over the last 48 hours.

With our bellies lined we returned to our rooms to find some odd occurrneces had taken place in our rooms during our absence. Someone had used bothour bathrooms! Feeling truly violated we have sworn to plot our revenge, as the only people who could access our rooms were the hotel owners.

After this incredible 48 hours we are both fine.  Jon has a bruised leg from the crash and a slightly deflated ego and I have an uncontrollable rage towards the rudeness of someone using our bathrooms whilst we were out.

The trek up Highway 1 to Ha Long Bay and then finally Hanoi, continues!

DAY 20

A bit of hustle needed today.  Waking up rather earlyish the half hot-half cold shower got me awake and open eyed quicker than expected and I was ready to go within half n hour.  Surely a record on this trip.  Pattni was still showering so I ducked out the hotel to find an ATM.  I found one over the road but more importantly next to it was a travel agent. Most of the flights from Hanoi to Saigon had sold out online and we needed to get reservations as soon as possible, otherwise we’d be in some serious cow splat.  They had some seats on Vietnam Airlines but they were a tad more expensive than expected…

Back at the hotel we roped up the bags and the lady at reception tried to make our bill more expensive due to ‘WIFI’ extra charges.  We all but laughed at the attempts as we pointed at the signs posted all over the desk with prices for the rooms.  We went back to the travel agent and booked our flights – Sunday the 13th at 6.30am!  This means 5 days left with the hogs after today.  It’s going to be a tearful goodbye when we finally sell them.

We got onto Highway 1 and what chaos it proved to be.  Averaging about 50km/hr and the whole time dodging trucks, buses and cars.  The whole ride is just one big stress.  Continually being alert and winding in and out of anything and everything.  We pulled over to find something to eat at a sidestall.  The only thing decent was packets of 2 minute noodles.  I asked if she had a kettle, she didn’t, however she let me use her kitchen stove to cook the noodles and wallah!  Lunch is served, courtesy chef Van Der Plank.

 

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We came across the biggest traffic jam I’d ever seen.  On our side of the road the traffic was piled for about 2km’s, the cause of it being a big crash between a passenger coach and a truck.  Once we got passed the crash it was the opposite side of the road being held up – definetely glad to be on a motorbike bypassing all the stalled vehicles.

A few bike problems today, particulary with Rwanda.  The back wheel cog got quite destroyed in the crash yesterday and so the chain was coming off again.  I also needed more oil as it was almost dry.  We pulled into a roadside garage and the guy that owned it was one hell of a character.  He yanked my bike onto a small wooden block to inspect it.  He figured out what was wrong and then stumbled over to us and poured Pattni and I cups of tea, with most of it going all over his wooden chinese checkers game board that was on the table.  He then randomly pulled out a huge bazooka looking bong piece – it was about a metre long, filled it with whacky tobaccy and continued to light up infront of us.  He then passed it around to us and we attempted – dying soon after with fits of coughing.  He laughed and then got to work on the hog.

We covered just under 150km’s today and so kept on track to get to Ha Long Bay in time.  We’re staying in a city called Hoa tonight – quite the ghost town.  The hotel lady sat with us for the whole of dinner and just kept talking and talking and it was all to obvious it was in an attempt to be friendly to bump the cost of dinner up.  Soon enough this was confirmed and afterwards we left and got our extra drinks and food from down the road – when we returned she wondered why we didn’t get them from her.  Because you so clearly just ripped us off, is why.

Tucked in early for bed as another big ride awaits tomorrow.  We should be very near to Ha Long come tomorrow evening – can’t wait!