BootsnAll Travel Network

A Harley in Viet Nam


June 10, 2004
While I was in Bangkok Bob flew to Vietnam. He wrote to say he had difficulties accessing the web today and spent most of the day traveling.

His emails:
Now in Da lat in the mountains about 300-400 km north of Saigon. It is at a 5000 foot elevation so cool–in fact feels cold. Probably about 55 degrees right now–everybody in a jacket. Feels like central Oregon and after the heat/humidity combo in Hanoi it is quite refreshing. I am at an internet cafe surrounded by adolescents screaming at success/failure with video games. Tiz too much–later.

June 11
good morning:
have been roaming around Dalat—much embroidery art done here–quite nice but also can have a hefty price–saw several landscapes that I liked–might pick up a small piece–just to have a representative sample. Bought several pieces in Hanoi–I really like their style of art.

Approached by a fellow this morning–call themselves “Easy Riders”–have big bikes and arrange trips off the beaten track–tempted to have him take me to Saigon via the Cambodian border and the Ho Chi Minh trail–he can also extend things to the delta (and probably to So. America for that matter)–he is 45-50 in age and has been doing this awhile. Am tempted as it would take me to areas I would not otherwise see and I am tired of the usual tourist routes. It would mean 300-400 km on the road and the limiting factor would be the ability of my butt to withstand several days in the saddle..

June 12
Another nice day in Dalat. It is a major tourist destination for Vietnamese—with it being a weekend the place is packed—had to inquire at three hotels before finding a vacancy…in evenings they close off the downtown streets to vehicles and streets/plazas are packed with people just walking and people watching. Not much to buy re handicrafts etc. but wonderful produce — however do not see it offered in restaurants. Am tired of Vietnamese cuisine and am overdosed on French bread.

NOTE: Next few days Bob spent in bed with some kind of virus….Bob worried about influenza-like syndrome and me thinking it was probably Dengue Fever as this is the season for it.

Sat June 18
Was going to leave Dalat today by bus for Saigon. This a.m. had second thoughts and decided would be much more fun and interesting and educational to do the bike thing. Tried to find my rider (named Budda–because his stomach and somatotype is identical to the icon) but could not arouse him by phone–he probably ditched me for other customers so went down to the local easy rider hangout cafe and there were at least a half dozen of the “boys” there. They start out by being very cool but then the pitch begins . I had experienced it twice before so he (Thui) was surprised when I cut to the chase, “How much for 3 days?”. So to see whether I would be able to tolerate we agreed on a sampler package of a day trip around Dalat. It worked out well–he is safe… informed, understandable (re accent), non-invasive and 48 yr/o–but looks 55 to 60.

Weather turned inclimant and last hour on the bike was wet. Purchased a plastic pancho but was totally saturated at the end of the trip. Was informed that my previous illness was do to too sudden climate changes, that there was no possibility that it could be bird flu because that entity does not exist in Vietnam! I was instructed that on return to hotel that I must wash my hair to get all the rainwater out so that I do not come down with any other ailment(s).

Tomorrow leave for 3 day trip to the coast just East of Saigon–he does not want to get closer because of increasing traffic and I appreciate his concerns. I will travel remainder of distance to Saigon by bus. So depart 8 a.m. tomorrow–I look like a Harley biker going down the freeway. Not sure how we’re going to get all my luggage on the bike but he says, “no problem’. Will not see internet again until Saigon.

NOTE: my daughter-in-law, Luk, a Thai, has also warned me to wash my hair after a rain. She said when it first rains there are bad chemicals in the rain that can hurt you. She could be referring to Acid Rain?

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