My Motorbike Is Not For Sale…YET! (Part 6)
The hotel we made it to in Binh Dinh doesn’t register on Google Maps or any travel website; English or Vietnamese. The place was a bit spooky and we decided that the 3 of use would split a hotel room with two full size beds. No one was willing to stay in a room by themselves. The room was okay, the aircon was below average for Vietnam, we had one cockroach friend, but the price came out to $4 per person so what the heck.
We went into town to grab dinner and quickly it became evident that Westerners did not stop for an overnight stay in this town much. We were getting a smoothie from the local smoothie lady when some children came up to talk to us. A county fair of some kind or another was taking place tonight and they wanted to take us as their guests. We went to see the fair and I think the rest of the town came to see us. The children were so happy to have us there and were showing us off like trophies. I prefer to think that we were the winning trophies and not just a participation trophy! We bought them a couple rounds of carnie games, while lit up there faces with smiles bigger than most children in America's faces on Christmas morning. We were tired after a long day in the hot sun and went back to get some rest so we could get an early start the next day.
We started of this morning taking the scenic route and met a man in a small farming village who was black out drunk before 10am. He was having a conversation in Vietnamese with Chris and I that we couldn't understand one word of before eventually writing something on his own hand. He handed the pen back to me so I took it that he wanted my autograph (Autograph Video). This was genuinely one of the happiest moments in my life and I believe you can see that on my smile in the video. We said our goodbyes, but not without issue. The friendliest drunk decided he needed to give Chris a mouth to mouth goodbye kiss as he got back on his bike!
Chris had to be in Quang Ngai to begin his career as an English teacher by 12pm so we hopped back on the death defying AH1 highway for the last 60 kilometers. We got Chris to school on time, gave our hugs, said see you later as Trang and I got back on the road.
We were headed to the very popular tourist town of Hoi An. She was in charge of giving the directions while I drove. We were back by the beach temporarily, but a couple of wrong instructions later and we were at a dead end. By this time, it was the middle of afternoon and the roads were hotter than hell from the sun beating on them all day. We took another road that was also a dead end and were given directions by a guard here that led us down our third dead end road. The heat is adding to the frustration at this point. Trang was apologizing for giving the wrong directions and that is when we both just decided to laugh it off. It’s a part of the Vietnam adventure after all.
We finally found the correct road and were heading the right direction again. Google Maps put us on a brand-new road that was 4 lanes wide and almost no one else was driving on it. We were making great time and catching up for lost time by traveling about 70kmh. The new road decided to disappear on Google maps. We pulled into a small town and took some back roads for the remaining 45 minutes and got into Hoi An a couple of hours before sunset.
Hoi An is widely known as one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam. The town is very Westernized, but with a heave Vietnamese influence. Do any research and you will find all sorts of travel information about Hoi An. Most commonly it is visited by travelers looking to get custom tailored clothes for prices well below what you would pay back home. We weren’t looking for the tourist experience.
The next morning we got back on the road and finished our drive to Da Nang in less than an hour. “Ahh” it felt really good knowing I did not have to get back on my bike and drive for a few days. Coincidentally, one of my friends (Rich) from California at the same time. It’s weird, but when you haven’t been around people you’ve known for a long-time it is really refreshing to hang out and catch up with someone you know understands where you come from.
The second day in Da Nang was bittersweet. I had to say goodbye to Rich and Trang. I was on my own again and a decision had to be made. Stay in Da Nang and begin to teach or continue my journey to travel through Vietnam on my own?!?! I took a couple days off to relax, looked for permanent housing, and eventually decided that I would continue my path to finish the north loop on my own. It was a bit daunting as I had grown accustom to Trang translating for the past week. It was time to bust out of my Google Translate app again. I feel like Google should be paying me for how much I talk about their apps on this blog.
One thing I did learn while I was in Da Nang for a few days is during the sunrise hours of the morning you can expect the beach to be packed. It is a daily routine for many of the locals to go exercise on the beach and get a swim in before their day starts. My homestay mom got me up at 5am to join her. I’m looking forward to making this city home for a little while when I get done cruising the countryside on my motorcycle.