12 September – can tho
Slept okay. Sort of.
Probably shouldn’t have had those two beers when we got back.
Up around 8.00am, and then head down to have breakfast.
While waiting, I check a WhatsApp message on my phone, from a person called Hanh, who I assume is from the Easyrider group who will be taking us to Hue from Danang.
My assumption, again…., is wrong. Hanh is actually the owner of Kota’s House Homestay. It’s great to now have an actual name, rather than assuming it was simply Kota, after several Facebook messages over the previous months merely to a business name.
But! – that happiness is somewhat short lived, as the message states that she is actually in Sapa at the moment, and won’t be there during our stay. But her son will be.
I’m initially disappointed, but that quickly changes to annoyed.
It was all about the homestay thing, which is not just the accommodation, but also the host. They go hand in hand, as far as I’m concerned.
My breakfast arrives, and today it is bò kho. It’s a beef and vegetable stew, and comes with a banh mi.
It’s beautiful, and again, it’s not something I would usually have for breakfast. Fortunately, it also helps me to move on from my annoyance at the homestay issue.
But not before realising that that’s number three!
The first one was the cancellation by Saigon April Homestay, less than 24 hours before we were due to leave the house. The second one was Vietjet pushing tomorrow’s flight back by one and a half hours, and thus causing us to miss our train, and now number three is this.
They say things come in threes, so do you reckon this might now be it?
Not a chance. This is Vietnam!
There’s always something, and there’s likely to be more; you just need to keep rolling with it, and dealing with it. No point fighting it and getting upset, as you won’t win.
Breakfast done, we get organised, and sort out our bikes. Fortunately, the air that was put in yesterday, is still where it needs to be, and we’re on our way by 10.00am.
Again, it’s warm, but at least today it’s a little cloudy, so it doesn’t feel quite as hot as yesterday.
Off in the direction of the village, and we soon get to the barge and excavator. No ‘digging’ at the moment, and the excavator looks like it’s asleep with its head in the water.
Sleeping? Drowned? Acting as an anchor?
On we go, and then a thought enters my mind that we may have missed our turn off.
I stop, and ask Lisa if we should have turned off further back.
Yes, is the answer.
I don’t bother asking the second question of, “Why didn’t you say something?”
Maps.me is consulted, and it’s okay, we can get back to where we’re supposed to be by going a different way.
Up a bit further, and we find the bridge that will get us back on track. But, across the canal, I can see workers rebuilding the path that we would need to be on.
I think back to the last time we had to make ‘roadwork’ adjustments to a ride down here, and yeah, didn’t that end well…..
We do a u-turn and head back from where we came. Find the bridge we missed, and use it as we should have earlier.
Now heading in the right direction.
We soon get to the village, and if it was busy with people yesterday, today it is absolute madness.
But good madness.
School is out, and coupled with the market vendors and customers, there are kids everywhere.
Rather than adding to the throng, we pull over to the side and just watch. Lots of smiles, waves and hellos come our way, and again, I love the interactions.
A girl on a scooter pulls up next to us, and stops to chat. Her initial comment is one of concern, asking if we’re okay.
We put her mind at rest.
She then asks where we’re from, and what we’re doing, before telling us that she used to be a tour guide. But of course, that all changed once Covid struck. She was really lovely, and was genuinely pleased to see us in her home town. Our chat, and not for the first time, made me stop and think about just how difficult it’s been for those, particularly here in Vietnam, who relied on tourism prior to the world changing.
With the crowd now dissipating, we make our way through the market, and then over a bridge and into an area that we’ve not been.
As the path narrows, the number of surprised, but happy, looks increases, and we are well aware that not too many tourists venture this way.
Again, I love this, and again, I think of all those people that pay good money to ‘see the Mekong’, and yet don’t get to see real stuff like this.
The path comes to an end at a rather large cleared area, that also looks like it may, at some stage not too far down the track, become a residential housing estate.
We consider turning around, but then notice a woman with a nuoc mia da cart, but also a cart that may do caphe sua da.
The coffee option is the preferred one, so the question is asked.
No problem, and we’re quickly offered a seat on the usual small plastic chairs, overlooking, well, not terribly much.
But that’s no problem at all, and we soon have a caphe sua da each in front of us. Like yesterday, it has a lot of ice in it, so we wait a little for the heat of the Mekong to interact, rather viciously when you think about it, with the ice.
The woman then gives us a small aluminium teapot with cold tea in it, which I guess is tra da, but just minus the da bit.
She then motions to pour some into the caphe sua da.
Yes, really, apparently.
So, while a little skeptical, we try it.
And it’s good!
The tannin of the tea cuts through some of the sweetness of the condensed milk, and just makes it that little bit more refreshing.
It’s not just the taste of it that comes as a surprise, but also that we’ve never come across this practice.
Then again, maybe it’s not actually a thing, and we just had a case of ‘lost in translation’.
Much needed, and much enjoyed.
Suitably refreshed, and rested, the bill of 30 000 Dong is paid, and we head back down to our narrow path.
Back towards the village with the market, and seeing as it’s now close to lunchtime, that’s the plan.
Through the village, and attempt, unsuccessfully, to retrace our steps to yesterday’s lunch village, without using Maps.me.
We’re eventually back on the main road, and two minutes later we’re in the village riding past our lunch spot. The aim today is to try somewhere different, for no other reason than to ‘share the love’.
We ride the length of the street, and with nothing else really appealing, we head back to where we started and decide to do yesterday again today.
Bikes are parked, and once again they are happy to see us.
Same rice dish as yesterday, mainly because the alternative consisted of noses, along with some pickled vegetables and the assorted green garnish stuff. It also came with the soup, but this time each bowl had a rather large chunk of liver in it.
Seeing the internal organ, I immediately know I will now have two chunks, even though I would actually prefer none.
The things I do, to not waste food…..
Lunch! But one bit will end up in my bowl.
Our lunch spot.
Like yesterday, it was all really good, although I would have been happier if the pig had kept his liver.
Lunch done, I go and see my man about money. Seeing as yesterday we were charged 40 000 Dong, I hand him a 50 000 Dong note.
He smiles, I smile, and transaction is complete.
I actually doubted there would be any change coming my way, as I’m pretty sure he gave us a discount yesterday, but it was a funny little interaction. And one that I was more than happy with, because I didn’t at all feel like we were ripped off.
Back on the bikes, and back onto the main road. On the top of the bridge, and the question is asked whether we stay on the main road, or do we take the longer more scenic route down by the canals.
I’m not sure the question was even completed, before the answer of ‘main road’ was given, which unusually, I was alright with.
While it was nowhere near as sunny today, which was very fortuitous for my still sunburnt arms and legs, it was still very warm due to the humidity. And doesn’t that humidity drain you!
We stay on the main road, and yep, the discovery is made that it is actually significantly shorter than first thought.
Back to Green Village around 1.00pm, and once again, it’s been a great ride. Amazing how you can do very little, and yet still have a lot of fun. And, essentially, for nothing.
Made it ‘home’.
We head off to our hut to do the rest and recovery thing, with the end result of that being a nap in the hammock on the balcony.
Could get used to that….
Batteries somewhat recharged, it ends up being a pretty lazy afternoon, while dealing with a mild case of a stomach making noises that it shouldn’t.
Was always going to happen at some point, and hopefully it stays at the ‘mild’ stage.
Do a little Trip Advisoring, as well as some notes, while Lisa does some parenting stuff by talking to the girl via Facebook.
With our Green Village time rapidly diminishing, I start doing a little of that pack up thing I so enjoy, in preparation for tomorrow, before going for a walk around the grounds.
I bump into Thy, and we spend the next 15 minutes or so just chatting. Again, she’s so easy to talk to, and I’m just so pleased that we were able to make this trip happen, after those three long years.
But it also reminds me of what’s to come tomorrow, and I’m really not looking forward to that.
Back to our hut, and find out Lisa is also dealing with a stomach that is a little unhappy about what’s inside it.
Mild concern shown, and then out to the balcony to do the beer and life contemplation thing, while watching big black threatening clouds roll in.
They looked impressive, but in the end they delivered next to nothing.
Beers done, and then time for that much needed shower. The cloud cover today had been appreciated due to my sunburn, but the humidity had been insane.
But I’m not complaining, as being cold is one of my pet hates, and after coming through a pretty cold and bleak Melbourne winter, I’ll take this humidity every day of the week.
One of my little gecko mates.
Up to dinner at 7.00pm, and tonight it’s fried chicken with vegetables and rice, along with a seaweed soup. The chicken is beautiful, and even the soup, surprisingly, is really good.
Food done, we spent the next hour or so just sitting and relaxing and chatting to Thy. Rafael then turned up, but minus Alexia, who was back in their hut suffering from a bad headache and high temperature.
Nothing worse than being sick when you’re on holidays, and it was disappointing we couldn’t spend our final night with the two of them.
Alexia was obviously also disappointed, as she even asked Rafael to apologise on her behalf.
Hopefully she’s better in the morning, so we can say goodbye properly, before we head off.
Another couple of girls, who were actually Australian, then turn up, before Lisa heads back to the hut to deal with her still troublesome stomach.
Seeing as I can’t help much with that, I remain where I am, while chatting to Rafael and the two new arrivals.
The girls are from Brisbane, and have left their husbands home to look after the kids.
Chatting away, one of them then says, “Don’t think I’m stalking you, but are you Scott from Trip Advisor?”
I’m blown away.
She recognises me from the blog, and then tells me that they’re here because of me, due to my recommendation.
I’m now really nervous, and rather hesitantly ask if she’s happy with her decision to stay here at Green Village.
She is. And I’m now very relieved.
Rafael heads back to look after his patient, and the girls end up calling an early night too, as they’re doing the floating market in the morning.
With a slightly larger smile on my face than I had earlier, I do the same and make my way back to our hut, to tell Lisa my news.
She too is amazed, but is somewhat pre-occupied with her stomach issue, which is forcing her to not be too far away from a toilet.
The usual beers on the bed, some note taking and Trip Advisoring, and plenty of contemplation on what we’ve done so far, what’s to come, as well as just trying to get my head around how things pan out sometimes.
That was all well and good, but it’s the ‘what’s to come’ bit, that jolts me back to reality.
It’s that goodbye that needs to be done tomorrow, and it’s a goodbye that just never gets any easier.
4 thoughts on “Vietnam 2022 – Trip Report 6”
Hi Scott & Lisa
Loving your trip reports.
Think you should organise and run a group visit next year. Would love to experience Vietnam like you bothdo but we’re not that adventurous on our own
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Thank you so much Glenys!
I’d never thought about doing trips, but I’m not sure I’d be the be the most tolerant.
And trust me, the adventurous side is certainly pushed.
Especially when it comes to Lisa. :-)
I always think that it is the “adventure” part that makes it! The satisfaction of each discovery, or successful interaction with the locals be it via mime, mangled foreign language attempts or translation apps is the best part. I don’t think that what you (or I) love best about travel can translate into a group or guided trip at all well.
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Yep, Reins, it is, for me, so much more about the adventure / journey. It’s always been the ‘little things’ that have interested me so much more than the actual ‘tourist attractions’. And no, I think people who are inclined to do guided tours would be absolutely bored out of their minds hanging around with me. :-)