Ho Chi Minh trail begins..

Ngoc Hoi to Hoi An

The reason we are racing to Hoi An is because someone in Dalat told us there is a sky lantern festival tonight. Not sure about anything more than that, should probably ask someone.. Right now I’m just by the pool in the hostel. It was another really hot day (complaining about the heat must be getting boring to read when it’s 10°C in England #sorrynotsorry) as soon as we got here we jumped straight in.

It’s like your brain is melting inside you after a while. We started right up in the mountains and spent all day bombing around mountain passes. As we descended into the valley it got hotter and hotter and more and more humid. I took my shirt off at the end of the ride and it was brown with dirt and grime, it should have been white. I swear when it landed on the floor it tried to scurry into a dark corner. I had to lock it up in a washbag to prevent it escaping!

One of the best roads we travelled today was around a reservoir with a massive hydro-electric dam at one end. We stopped on top of this dam and damn it was big! It had huge sluice gates with gigantic hydraulic rams to move them – engineeringasm!! This road wouldn’t have been found however if we had followed the advice of a local. At a fork in the road she directed us left and we went right. Probably seemed quite ungrateful after the intensity of the charade hand communications between us but hey, we had an amazing time!

The find of the day however was the suspension bridge. Possibly the most dodgy, barn-yard engineering, “fuck it, that’ll do” structure I have ever seen. We pulled up after an early start – actually an early start this time – to get some breakfast. Hadn’t seen anyone cross it but thought we would venture to the middle anyway. The deck was an assortment of various lumps of wood, vaguely arranged between two steel wires. You couldn’t call them cables, they were just 5 mm thick single strand steel wires running about 50m (no joke) between two concrete pillars on either side of a huge river. We made our brave conquest of this rickety, rusty bridge and no sooner had we come back, a guy turned up on a motorbike and rode across it at full speed. I think he thought the momentum would carry him forward if any of the planks broke.

We are here for a few days in Hoi An. It’s been a tough ride to get here and my arse is killing me even sitting on a nice comfy sun lounger. There is a bar behind me well stocked with Saigon green, our beer of choice at 60p a bottle. The only catch is that I have to help the waitress with her english homework before I can have the drink. Its really impressive her level of understanding. Actually I’m always impressed by other countries determination to learn English. Its sad that this passion is not reciprocated by us for their language. I’ve been here 9 days now and I still can’t say “thank you” properly!

Hoi An is the fashion destination for tourists. It is possible to get a tailor made suit in ANY material you want. I’ve seen a girl come back with a truly hideous shirt she had made for her. It had three different materials and none of them made it symmetrical which I presume she wanted… Anyway, i’m going to see what the suits are like but probably just top up renew my shirt collection. It may be an expensive stop over…

Went for a wander to find the light festival. It was amazing seeing all the paper lights floating down the river. Amazing sight. Literally hundereds of little candels bobbing along and vietnamese old crones shouting at us to buy more candels or go on a boat ride. I had a real craving for a mini baguette with porky goodness inside, it was something I had when  first arrived and not seen it since. Your just going to have to see the photos, its not really an interactive thing

Oh and a side effect of the ignition key not turning off the bike is that you can also kickstart it without the key at all…