Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Road trip section 8: Kon Tum to Dak Glei

After a morning bouncing along dirt roads, visiting ethic villages, in the blazing sun we headed back into Kon Tum to pack up our gear and make a dash towards Hoi An. Being 300km away we wern't going to arrive that day so we wanted to make the following day as bearable as possible and aimed to ride around 100km and find a place to crash as night fell. Once we had checked out of the hotel run by the Happy Family (note: sarcastic tone) I tied our bags onto the back of our bike as the sun belted down. Sweating profusely I did my best in an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

It felt like a sauna as we rode along. We decided the afternoon road trip was not for us and would keep to the early mornings for the rest of the trip. We were not in the mood for photo's and flew along the highway until our bums needed a break. The seat on our old bike is not the best and the padding provides little support so after an hour or so it starts to get a little painful. Celine and I would take turns standing up on the foot rests and stretching our legs, getting the blood circulation going, while I rode along. It was probably not the safest thing to do but provided great amusement for any other riders nearby. In Kon Tum our bikes third gear decided to die so we could only use first, second and fourth for the 300km journey to Hoi An.

We were now on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We stopped in Dak To, a small unassuming town which saw some serious battles in the Vietnam/American war, for a coffee and a relax. This was an area that saw major human losses, on both sides. It was hard to imagine what happened in Dak To as you sat and chatted to friendly locals, watched kids play and ride bicycles, waving enthusiastically when you caught their eye.

After that the rain set in so we stopped and put on our new raincoats. The rain came was heavy for about 30 minutes but we rode straight through it waving to anyone else who was still on the road. We continued along the Ho Chi Minh Trail passing many ethnic minority villages that lived close to the highway. Women in traditional dress were walking up the road carting timber. Young boys drove buffalo's with a long bamboo stick. Others gave us a curious gaze as we slowed on the bike. The minorities have their own languages and many village people, especially those living out of the bigger cities, don't speak Vietnamese.

As the sun was going down we arrived into a small town, Dak Glei, and found a guesthouse to sleep the night. The room was basic and relatively clean, the people friendly, and the rate very acceptable: $5 for the room. It was nice to be staying somewhere not written about in guide books or online reviews.

No comments:

Post a Comment