Hanoi, Saigon appears as any bustling Southeast Asia City with
new skyscrapers dotting the skyline, neon billboards, and a
density of hustling population. Horst said it reminded him of
Hong Kong ten years ago and most said they found it remarkable
two cities could be so different. In fact, each city we had
passed through had struck us as being remarkably unique.
day started with what was planned as a quick stop at Lam Thi
Ni Pagoda and perhap's Vietnam's most famous resident monk.
We ended up staying over and hour as the group marveled at his
prodigious stock of works and captivating personality.
outside town we descended for several miles through the pine
forests that surround Dalat emerging onto the flat plateau of
tea and coffee plantations that mark this area of the Central
Highlands. The heat turned up and over the next few hours we
rode over rolling hills past the rich planted fields and dozens
of wedding celebrations -- the day after Christmas it seems
is a popular day for hitched.
early afternoon we reached our destination, Bao Loc, and lined
up for showers, ate a large lunch, and petted the restaurant's
Gibbon monkeys. Back on bus, lead by Tim, Barbara and Debbie
sang rice-wine induced 60's songs all the way back to Saigon
as the rest of us try to rememeber the lyrics. Sinh joined on
the guitar and the drive went quickly, but we were all disappointed
the tour was really over!
16-day bicycling tour by twelve Americans and Canadians involved
traveling the length of Vietnam, from Hanoi to Saigon, with
plenty of time to stop and see the uniqueness of the cities
and people along the way. Although cyclists ranged in ability
from beginner to champion racer, all found a way to explore
Vietnam at their own pace and in the best way possible -- as
most locals do -- on two wheels.
diary was written and updated each day during the trip as it
happened during the tour according to the perspective of the
author who makes no claims of accuracy to the events happening
as described herein.
scenic, six-mile descent from Dalat is an incredible beginning
of our ride followed by rolling hills through coffee and tree
beans are raked to roast evenly under the hot sun. These
unprocessed beans are sweeter and tastier than we get in the
and tea crops are the main crops in this area of Vietnam, but
bananas, strawberries, vegetables, and flowers are also grown.
shows off a new purchase - Moka brand coffee beans.
makes friends with a gibbon owned by the restaurant. I remebered
when they first got the monkeys as babies 5 years ago. These animals
are endangered, but Sinh still seems them on his treks.
hillside land is raked over for a new planting of tea, or perhaps
banana trees. The earth is rich and fertile and the climate ideal
for crops making this area more affluent than rice growers along
the central coast.