Thu Mar 17, 2011
One month ago we flew from Berlin to Moscow. It’s been one month already! We spent three weeks in different parts of India. We used trains to move from city to city. Inside cities we walked, used tram, metro, rickshaw, motorickshaw, bus, motorbike and even a carriage pulled by horses.
A week ago we flew to Vietnam via bangkok. We spent the first days in Hanoi with a friendly young family who lived in the 7th floor of a building. They show us photos, told us about their life, drove us around and invited us to their typical noodle breakfast. Hanoi felt quieter and the traffic smoother than in Indian cities, but the air equally polluted. It was surprising to see roundabouts with a hundred motorbikes entering and leaving and no one honking, like a huge coordinated choreography. We planned different ways to go from Hanoi (north) to Ho Chi Minh City (south, about 1800 Km away). One of our plans was to rent a bike, but watching the rush hour in Hanoi, together with the fact I never drove a semi-automatic bike before, and the falling rain made us decide the bus was a better option. Told like this it sounds easy, but we spent a lot of times looking at bikes to buy, at how we could fit our stuff in it, at bikes to rent…
In any case, we got an open bus ticket that allows us to stay as long as we want on the various stops and continue the trip a few days later. Our first stop is at a place called Hue. As usually in our trip, we had no idea what we would find in this city. We carry no Lonely Planet and no other guides. My phone is being a useful tool though. I use the map, google, wikipedia and the translator to communicate with people when gestures are not enough :)
Today we rented a motorbike and spent hours driving around. It was very interesting to explore the area. By foot it would take much longer. The zero-bureacracy bike renting was amazing. Basically, this guy we met on the street gave us his scooter for 100.000 dong, about 3 eur, and told us to call him back when we are done in the evening. He didn’t even know where we stay or our names. Nice smily guy. We are thinking of more driving tomorrow, but it depends on the weather.
It surprised me during our driving to see huge cemeteries in green hills full of plants. Cemeteries bigger than they should be for a place with such a small population.
I like to eat where local people do. Sometimes we’ve gone for touristy pizza or burger, but it doesn’t feel right. People from here would rarely go to such places. An improvised plastic tent in a corner with tiny plastic chairs and a meal for 20.000 dong (rich tourist price, I guess) is much more unique.
Tomorrow we will somehow get to Da Nang.