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Old 06-04-2008, 04:29 AM   #16
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A little bit further down the road, I passed over a new bridge, with the old and very secondhand looking bridge next door.
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Old 06-04-2008, 04:37 AM   #17
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I did an afternoon departure from HCMC so travelling out of town in the afternoon, the schools were letting their pupils out for the day. Off the main highway a lot of the roads are dirt... this one had a school at the end of it, so here come the schoolkids.
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Old 06-04-2008, 04:52 AM   #18
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Day 2 - 10 May 08
Kien Duc to Buon Ma Thuot, via a slight "oh this road doesn't actually exist backtrack"
Day 1 was really a "get out of town day". I drove about 250km and arrived at the hotel a bit after dark with a bit of light rain at the end.

Oh! I learned some new Vietnamese that night, I didn't even know the word for "hotel". The town I stayed, Kien Duc was a one hotel town, so the hotel wasn't brilliant for the price (was VND250,000 from memory or about $16). Normally for $16 in the countryside, you get something quite nice but being the only hotel in town they didn't have to try as hard so it was reasonable, but nothing to get excited about.

Highway 14
So for the latter part of Day 1 and now into Day 2, I'm on Highway 14 or the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Heading out of Kien Duc you start to run out of big towns and the road turns towards the Cambodian border.

Here's my first taste of real countryside so far this trip:
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:04 AM   #19
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The road is quite good, two lanes and well surfaced.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail has recently been upgraded.
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:24 AM   #20
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Dak Nong province, sign advertising some waterfalls.
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:30 AM   #21
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Local farmer has made a small dam.
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:39 AM   #22
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I elected to get a bit of driving done before eating breakfast, so I checked out of the first night's hotel and set off as soon as I got up. The previous pics were taken before breakfast, but before too long I was getting hungry. A stop by a roadside shop was in order.

Little did I know when I was eating this, but I would be having a late, late, late, late dinner.
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:44 AM   #23
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Good storytelling, extra-great pictures, faces, sufficient documentation of route, gear and history and great title/topic... That's exactly how proper Ride Reports suppose to look like!
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:47 AM   #24
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ootsch.... who's thumb is that between 1 and 2?
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:14 AM   #25
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Thanks for that encouragement, Cooltours

Westerners and Tourists on the Trail:
There are hardly any foreigners touring the Chi Minh Trail.

The sum total of westerners I saw in the entire 9 days, except for when I dropped down to the coast and tourist hot-spot Hue and Hanoi was:

- 4 x American girls at a truck stop who had just crossed over on a bus from Laos.
- 1 x cycle tourist who I should have stopped to talk to but didn't in the south
- 2 x cycle tourists from Australia who I did stop and talk to in the north who were doing a similar trip to me by bicycle... they had been on the road a whopping 7 weeks in Vietnam!

Anyway, that's it only 7 non-Vietnamese the whole way except for Hue and Hanoi.

So - having so few westerners around, it's a bit of a novelty when one turns up on a motorbike with a big camera, so everybody wants to get photographed. Here's the waitress who just served me breakfast.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:22 AM   #26
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Food in Vietnam is very fresh - fresh ingredients arrive each day, usually on the back of a motorbike.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:26 AM   #27
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More fresh food; this is a market stall right across the road from where I had breakfast.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:30 AM   #28
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One thing Vietnamese food stalls aren't particularly good at is multi-tasking. Go to a pho stall and you can't get a coffee. Go to a coffee shop and there isn't anything to eat. So after my breakfast, I moved my bike across the road to a coffee shop and had a coffee.

Uhh, I forgot to get a shot of the coffee. Here's the waitress instead.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:42 AM   #29
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Gia Nghia

This is the township of Gia Nghia in Dak Nong province on Highway 14 - I thought it was a really pretty town and had a good drive around for about 1/2 hour. Here is looking back the way I've come, back towards Ho Chi Minh City.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:43 AM   #30
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Might have to leave it there for today - coming next episode, ducks at Gia Nghia market and my backroad that didn't exist backtrack.
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