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Old 06-06-2008, 08:39 PM   #91
testrider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh69
Bike in the waterfall car park. I just left it like that with the jacket on the seat and tank bag with another $400 camera lens inside. I did that several times during the trip. Nobody touched it. Actually once I left it parked for about 30 mins in downtown HCMC and forgot to take the keys out of the ignition! Nothing happend then either, although I wouldn't recommend doing that regularly.
Thanks for the report and excellent pics. However, speaking of leaving your jacket/tank bag/camera lens etc.. on the bike, consider yourself lucky that they were still there when you got back, including the bike. In Saigon (or HCMC), they even snatch cell phones and watches and disappear so don't even take it for granted. Good people are everywhere but crooks are also everywhere.

Thanks again for the great report!
-mike-
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:35 PM   #92
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Fantastic, keep it coming??
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'07 Bandit 1250ABS
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Old 06-07-2008, 05:59 AM   #93
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Day 3 - Sunday
Buon Ma Thuot to Kon Tum

I had a big backtrack the day before but one advantage in returning to B.M.T. was that being a big provincial city, it had a good range of hotels.

I checked into a decent looking one and got a good nights sleep.

After riding in the downpour the night before, my waterproof gear turned out to be very effective, just a bit of water in the left boot where water seeped in through the top from getting sprayed by cars passing while I was riding.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:01 AM   #94
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I got in a massage the previous night, before heading for bed.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:03 AM   #95
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Just as I was packing up the bike and leaving the hotel, the beer truck turned up.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:06 AM   #96
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Heading north out of town on Highway 14, for the first time I started to leave the heavily populated areas. Here is a typical local road, off the main highway and leading to small settlements.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:09 AM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by testrider
Thanks for the report and excellent pics. However, speaking of leaving your jacket/tank bag/camera lens etc.. on the bike, consider yourself lucky that they were still there when you got back, including the bike. In Saigon (or HCMC), they even snatch cell phones and watches and disappear so don't even take it for granted. Good people are everywhere but crooks are also everywhere.

Thanks again for the great report!
-mike-
It was a calculated risk - I've been working in Saigon for 18 months and I'd never go out with something dangling off my arm and easy for a drive-by snatch. However except for the big city drive-by snatches (which are not common but happen often enough to take precautions) and in particular in the countryside, crime is very low.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:16 AM   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indochine
Thanks for the details of your travel pack and routing, Josh. Let us know how much you dug into the repair kit to fix stuff. And perhaps more important, let us know how the bike performed.

Goes without saying, but I love the pix.
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I didn't have any mechanical or tyre problems at all! The only thing that did happed was the day after riding through the big rain storm, the bike stalled twice. I think water got into either the carburettor or kill switch (it restarted both times after ficking the kill switch). So nothing came out of the sparea parts bin except a squirt of RP7.

I was quite happy with the bike - I lived in Beijing and Tianjin for 3 years, so I wasn't worried about buying a Chinese bike. I'd like to get a bigger bike now though.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:22 AM   #99
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Montagnard Villages

From this point of the ride onwards, most of the people I saw were from an ethnic minority.

You can read a bit about them here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degar

Before the Vietnam War, the population of the Central Highlands, estimated at between 3 and 3.5 million, was almost exclusively Degar. Today, the population is approximately 4 million, of whom about 1 million are Degars. The 30 or so Degar tribes in the Central Highlands comprise more than six different ethnic groups who speak languages drawn primarily from the Malayo-Polynesian, Tai, and Mon-Khmer language families. The main tribes, in order of population, are the Jarai, Rhade, Bahnar, Koho, Mnong, and Stieng.
Originally inhabitants of the coastal areas of the region, they were driven to the uninhabited mountainous areas by invading Vietnamese and Cambodians beginning prior to the 9th century AD.
Although French Catholicmissionaries converted some Degar in the nineteenth century, American missionaries made more of an impact in the 1930s, and many Degar are now Protestant. Of the approximately 1 million Degar, close to half are Protestant, while around 200,000 are Catholic. This made Vietnam's Communist Party suspicious of the Degar, particularly during the Vietnam War, since it was thought that they would be more inclined to help the American forces (predominantly Christian—mainly Protestant).
In the mid 1950s, the once-isolated Degar began experiencing more contact with outsiders after the Vietnamese government launched efforts to gain better control of the Central Highlands and, following the 1954Geneva Accord, new ethnic minorities from North Vietnam moved into the area. As a result of these changes, Degar communities felt a need to strengthen some of their own social structures and to develop a more formal shared identity.
In 1950, the French government established the Central Highlands as the Pays Montagnard du Sud (PMS) under the authority of Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai, whom the French had installed as nominal chief of state in 1949 as an alternative to Ho Chi Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam. When the French withdrew from Vietnam and recognized a Vietnamese government, Degar political independence was drastically diminished.
The Degar have a long history of tensions with the Vietnamese majority. While the Vietnamese are themselves heterogeneous, they generally share a common language and culture and have developed and maintained the dominant social institutions of Vietnam. The Degar do not share that heritage. There have been conflicts between the two groups over many issues, including land ownership, language and cultural preservation, access to education and resources, and political representation.
In 1958, the Degar launched a movement known as BAJARAKA (the name is made up of the first letters of prominent tribes; compare to the later Nicaraguan Misurasata) to unite the tribes against the Vietnamese. There was a related, well-organized political and (occasionally) military force within the Degar communities known by the French acronym, FULRO, or United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races. FULRO’s objectives were autonomy for the Degar tribes.

The 1960s saw contact between the Degar and the U.S. military, as American involvement in the Vietnam War escalated and the Central Highlands emerged as a strategically important area, in large part because it included the Ho Chi Minh trail, the North Vietnamese supply line for Viet Cong forces in the south. The U.S. military, particularly the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, developed base camps in the area and recruited the Degar, roughly 40,000 of whom fought alongside American soldiers and became a major part of the U.S. military effort in the Highlands.
Thousands of Degar fled to Cambodia after the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army, fearing that the new government would launch reprisals against them because they had aided the U.S. Army. The U.S. military resettled some Degar in the United States, primarily in South Carolina, but these evacuees numbered less than two thousand. In addition, the Vietnamese government has steadily displaced thousands of villagers from Vietnam's central highlands, to use the fertile land for coffee plantations.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:24 AM   #100
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Heading along the Ho Chi Minh Trail I saw a number of local roads leading to villages a bit off the highway.

Here is one I stopped at - dirt roads and traditional wooden houses and of course friendly people.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:25 AM   #101
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Same village
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:26 AM   #102
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Traditional clothes, modern transport
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:29 AM   #103
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I'm the centre of attention. 10 minutes before, there was nobody at this point on the road, but when I stopped, everybody came out for a look.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:30 AM   #104
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The younger generation.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:37 AM   #105
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Heading down the road a distance from the last set of pictures, a traditional long house.
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