Vietnam – The beauty of simplicity
We are still alive 😉
Please excuse us for the lack of posts here lately but since we are back in Austria so many opportunities happened at the same time. We had to work on different projects back to back. And on top of that Roman was finally setting up everything for his new portfolio website which will be released soon. We are definitely motivated and have a ton of ideas for this blog – just give us a little time…
Back to Vietnam. We have to share more of our motorcycle adventure with you guys! Although we didn’t get lucky with the weather there, we definitely didn’t miss out on great experiences!
Meeting the locals
We were speechless when we rode through the jungle for the first time. It felt a little bit like in a Tarzan movie. The green tones are crazy there. We haven’t seen something like that before. Huge trees everywhere and we had to stop countless just to stare. We rode a lot on the Hồ Chí Minh trail. It runs from Hanoi almost 1.600 kilometres down the length of the country, crossing into Laos at several points, and ending near Ho Chi Minh City. Most tourists travel the well-worn coastal road though. We met exactly one other traveler on our way to Hanoi. That’s how we wanted it to be. It felt awesome!
The local people live very simple. Looks like there hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Very basic houses with one or two rooms. Don’t expect a bathroom, living room or a kitchen. Even electricity and running water isn’t standard there. You are lucky if you have that. Instead everyone has a few chickens and a pig or two. But the locals didn’t make an unhappy impression on us. It was the opposite. They are thankful for what they have and reminded us again that it’s not the things which make us happy. Health is obviously the most important thing. We met so many locals and all of them greeted us with a smile. We stopped in many villages and ate in all their “restaurants” all without speaking many words in vietnamese. No one spoke english and so we had to communicate with our hands and sometime with images on the smartphone. It wasn’t always easy but most of the time we managed it to order some basic vegetarian food. Mostly it was rice, eggs with some basic green vegetables. Although we had to convince them that chicken isn’t a vegetable too sometimes 😉
Was the food good? Yes and no. You never know beforehand. But you get used to that situation. The best food we had in Vietnam were definitely the sweet potatoes woman sell on the streets. Whenever we saw some we bought some! In generell the food rarely cost us more than 2 Euros per person.
When you are used to daily pouring rain you get pretty excited when you wake up and it’s just a little drizzle outside. On a day like that we jumped on the motorcycle and just rode! No ponchos needed! That’s the best! Lucky us even saw the sun sometimes on days like that.
On one of those days the next village we were going to stay wasn’t far away so we had time to check out some really of the beaten path tracks… At the very north of Vietnam we took a tiny gravel road and made our way to a even more tiny village. As soon as we parked there and walked around a bit we were surrounded by a couple of woman. They were starring, whispering and laughing… And they seemed pretty interested in Roman “a tall man with blond hair”, definitely not your everyday sight in a village like that.
So Roman was busy “talking” to them and Helena strolled around but didn’t come far. Just around the next corner she stumbled upon a few man who invited her to have tea with them. This turned out to be a wedding party and as soon as Roman arrived the tea was swapped against local rice wine (vietnamese snaps). He had to drink one with every guest. At least it felt like that. A “no, thanks” was not accepted. We hang out with the whole family and were invited to sit with them on the floor inside their home. It was a big circle and you could see that they just finished lunch with a lot of food still lying around on the floor. Immediately they offered us everything but it was hard to explain that we don’t eat meat… after a rather long conversation with the tipsy family in “vietnamenglish” we stuck to the snaps 😉
It’s moments like that, that make traveling so special. We will never forget that wedding! Diving in so deep in a foreign culture is something we are really grateful for. They had little and gave us everything. They made us feel at home a couple thousand kilometres from our real home. That’s what traveling is all about. Experiences like this are priceless…
Photo gallery (to be continued):