Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Mekong Delta - Saigon to Can Tho

1611 (local time)
Can Tho, Vietnam

Written in: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam – with spray paint all over my hands!

Vietnam is such a beautiful country. We drove all the way down to Can Tho in Vietnam. Can Tho is located in the South West 180km from Ho Chi Minh City.

We set off from Ho Chi Minh at about 10.30am which I thought was too late. We were on the road for about 20 minutes, we weren’t even out of the city until the clouds open up on us. We quickly pulled over and fortunately for us we were infront of a Motobike shop where we all purchased full face helmets and Poncho’s! So far 1 of these 2 things have come in very very handy… and thank god it hasn’t been the helmet.

We drove and drove and drove! My bike was running like a champ, and I was getting more and more comfortable on my bike and in the Vietnamese traffic. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Taylor (AUS) and Agu (ESP). I had a plan, the plan was told to me by John Yeomans who I worked with out in Egypt. John did a similar trip to me, but instead of driving around Vietnam, he drove around Egypt on a 600cc bike… slightly bigger than my 100cc.

He said, make sure you ride either at the same speed, or as fast as everyone around you’ and if you think about it, he speaks the truth.

Hear me out, if you are going slower than the general traffic you run the risk of a motorbike or truck pulling out from behind a car and expecting to get an open piece of road, instead he is now faced with a dumb tourist riding really slow and… BANG!

So, when I ride, I try and go as fast if not faster than the traffic so I can stay one step ahead.
Anyway, so after several hours or riding with a very very sore ass we eventually made it to Me Tho. Which is a small city that is the gateway to other places in the Mekong Delta.

We stayed the night at Me Tho and then headed out in the morning to Can Tho, which is just further south of Me Tho, maybe only 1 -2 hours on the bike!

The ride towards Can Tho was amazing, it was on lovely new back roads with hardly any traffic, and the view on each side was unbelievable! Without sounding like a Dr. Seuss book, it was the greenest Green, I have ever seen! It was such beautiful scenery to ride with, so pleasurable!

After a couple of ferries and many kilometers we eventually made it to Can Tho! Our reason for visiting Can Tho was to check out these amazing floating markets! So once me made it into town ,we found out where the floating markets were and headed off towards them. Once you cross the bridge you can see all the floating markets scatted down the river.

We got off the high way by taking the nearest exit then went looking for a place to dump out bikes.
When people started telling me about these floating markets I had no idea what to expect, but when you see them its quite amazing. So on this river down in the Mekong Delta there are several boats that either drive around or mostly stay anchored to the bottom with a stick in the air, on the end of the stick is what they are selling. For example, we drove past a boat that was selling Potatoes, as you could see they had hung a bag of Potatoes from the top of this mast or stick! It’s quite fascinating.

I found a place for us to park our bikes, and it just so happened that a random guy offered to take us on a tour around the floating markets, we jumped at the opportunity! I changed clothes into something lighter and jumped into the small boat and let the skipper drive us around as we took everything in, and took the odd photo!

After he drove us around for 30 minutes, he pulled up alongside a café, we disembarked the boat and jumped into the café. We sat down and were fed these weird rice snacks that tasted amazing. After this I enjoyed an amazing Vietnamese coffee, and then the three of us relaxed in 3 hammocks chatting to one another. I was reading Taylor’s Lonely Planet when a older Vietnamese guy challenged me to an arm wrestle!

For such a skinny old guy, he packed a lot of punch! But, I was able to hold my pride in tact as I beat him, left and right handed FIGJAM!

After a bit of a laugh, I continued back to reading the lonely planet, I was trying to figure out the language, when another Vietnamese guy sat next to me and we read it together. After about 5 minutes I had about Half a Dozen, Kids, Men and Women sitting either on me or next to me reading and learning the language! It was a fantastic experience, and it just shows what travelling is all about!

After about 2 hours just chilling out with this family, I had a women tell me she loved me and I learn some new Vietnamese words that I need to practice! It was time to leave, so we paid our bill and headed back to shore!

Once ashore we paid our skipper, jumped on our bikes and headed back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Unfortunately there were numerous breakdowns I was getting frustrated. All I wanted to do was to get back to Ho Chi Minh City, but the day was running out. So I told the guys I would meet them in town tomorrow, whilst they took it easy and spent another night in Me Tho.

It was no dramas, and I saw the guys the next day!

What an amazing experience, I didn’t know much about the Mekong Delta, and to be honest I still don’t, there aren’t really any attractions to see, its more about the driving pleasure and beautiful scenery, and I forgot to mention the small little villages on the way that treat any traveller as a celebrity! It was a great experience but I can only imagine its only going to get better as we travel further north!

So till next time! Stay classy guys!
Steve… OUT!

Just getting ready, Argu sorting out his bags...again!

Just when i bought the bike, 651km on the clock!

The battle axe warrior, pre skull! 

Argu's 'THE HULK'

On a ferry, in the Mekong!
Another one infront of the hotel!

Outside the first hotel in My Tho!
Pretty exausted outside a coffee shop!

A random coffee shop on the road!

On the ferry in the Mekong!
Chatting to Tyler on the ferry crossing!

Argu with a bunch of very confused locals!

The rush to get back to your bike before the doors open and you have to exit!

All the locals were just so curious!

after a good meal!
On the road after the rains!

Sorting our bags out!

Tyler having a shocking time, running out of petrol!

Relaxing on the bridge!
We got there!

Hanging out on the bridge!

More floating markets in Can Tho!

more floating markets!

the floating markets!

the boats in Can Tho!
The potential wife!

Beautiful fruits!

team relax!

my potential wife!

the guys that took us on our tour!

About to hit the road again!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Grand Final Day - Hawks v Swans

29th of September – Grand Final Day. Hawks v Swans.

As I write this now, I already know the result… I wasn’t impressed. But, on the bright side it was a great match to watch, Hawks should have won but we couldn’t convert on the scoreboard but 2013 is another year and I’ll be back in Melbourne to cheer them on.

Today Taylor arrived. Taylor is a young Aussie kid from Sydney that Agustin met whilst hiking in Nepal, he was going to join us on our epic bike journey around Vietnam.

After the grand final it was our mission to find 3 bikes to buy. I had ridden and done maintenance to bikes when I spent my time in Egypt (cheers Dixon and Yeomans).

So I knew what I was looking for in regards to bikes. By the end of the day, we had 2 Manual Honda Wing 100cc bikes for myself and Agustin (Spanish dude) and 1 Semi-Auto for Taylor (Aussie dude).

We got the bikes for $275AUD each, which was pretty good, but as soon as we got them I convinced the guys to buy a full faced helmet for $20AUD… which hopefully we wont need.

I love my bike, it needs a bit of work done to it but I don’t think its such a big deal. I have blacked out the entire bike, and I plan to spray paint white skulls on it to pimp it out! Photos soon.

After we had all the bikes sorted we headed back to our hotel and prepared ourselves for a big day of riding the next day.