Vietnam: The Yin Yang results

Written in Hue Airport whilst waiting for my flight down to Ho Chi Minh to fly home…

A while back I wrote down ten positive and ten negative things likely to happen whilst in Vietnam. Here’s some anecdotes relating to that post… Ten things likely to happen whilst travelling without a plan in Vietnam:

  • Drive on the worst roads imaginable
    • The “main roads” are shambolic, with roadworks on long stretches. And any back roads are either dust or covered in huge boulders. Everything except the Ho Chi Minh Trail are the worst roads.
  • Get hurt
    • Thankfully nothing too serious. My inner calves took a battering from the bike. I was also bitten by Mosquitos hundreds of times. Thankfully no breaks, or death*.
  • Lose something
    • It wasn’t till I was packing for home I realised I’d lost my shaving moisturiser. Dry itchy face ensued.
  • Get completely lost
    • On occasion this happened. At one point (our first day on the bikes) we rode 15km past our first turning. Thank goodness for Google Maps.
  • Get drenched
    • At least twice I was soaked to the bone. I abandoned a set of clothes that never seemed to be dry. I took them as bad luck. The feeling of cold water dripping through dry jeans into your crotch…
  • Get angry beyond belief
    • Didn’t happen too often, but I did lose my rag with the bike a couple of times. I nearly ripped off the mirrors and launched them in a lake. The whole bike was going in a lake on another day. I’m not the most patient of men.
  • Fear for my life
    • In the bigger towns and cities the roads at rush hour are insane. Nobody looks. Nobody stops. Nobody cares. That was scary. I also had a local come over to say hello, but when I shook his hand he tried to drag me across the road to spend money. Had to struggle a little with him. Slightly scary.
  • Throw up
    • On the day I felt all better (and regretted selling my bike) I went out for food. I hadn’t eaten in 24hrs. As soon as I got back to the hotel I threw the whole lot up. I wasn’t better after all.
  • Use the phrases “this is f**king sh*t” and “who’s f**king idea was this?”
    • Day 1 on “crazy street” in Hanoi, I muSt have shouted this out loud a dozen times. And probably every time a delivery truck went by.
  • Want to go home
    • Only in the last couple of days did I feel like that.

Ten more things likely to happen whilst travelling without a plan in Vietnam:

  • Smile so much my face hurts
    • Every time a kid smiles and waves back and says hello… Such a great feeling.
  • See something mind blowing
    • The Paradise Cave was pretty spectacular.
  • Have an epiphany
    • We talked about Rip-off Britain s lot and why the balances of cost and taxes are so ridiculously skewed back in the UK. My one epiphany was “get the hell out of Britain”.
  • Laugh till I cry
    • I did on occasion laugh at the stories I heard from other people. Can’t say I cried at any of them though.
  • Shoot FAR too much video
    • Yes, I’d fit the GoPro to one of our helmets and leave it running. I’ve probably got about 4 hours of footage to whittle down to a few minutes.
  • Eat and drink things I never thought I would
    • Fresh authentic Vietnamese spring rolls are fabulous. The fermented egg wasn’t too bad either. Vietnamese tea is also interesting, if not slightly unpalatable for me.
  • Have a conversation with someone who has no idea what I’m saying
    • This happened with a group of builders at the resort in Sam Son. They were mesmerised by my drone video helicopter. Even though none of us knew dithers language, we had a good chat of sorts.
  • Laugh with someone I’ve never met
    • Either our first or second day whilst still struggling with the bike, I couldn’t get it into first at any point. We’d stopped to chill for a bit, and a local came over to laugh at me. He invited us to sit just a few feet in from the pavement in his shop. Clarence and the stranger laughed at me, like they knew me. I laughed with them, even though I was being laughed at.
  • Get completely lost
    • Yep. Regularly.
  • Not want to go home
    • Whilst sat on the airport I got an overwhelming feeling I was an idiot. Just because I was uncomfortable on a bike, I gave up? I was almost in tears at the thought of abandoning this trip. But the accumulation of everything else made going home the right decision.

So I wasn’t far wrong with the list. Regarding the “death” footnote, please see this post.

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