We were both very excited about today. Xuan had told us that this is his favorite part of the ride between Dalat and Hoi An. We will be spending a fair amount of time on the new Ho Chi Minh road. Well, like many things so far, it delivered.
The first stop was at a family owned taro factory. They dry and grind them into a powder to sell to others that then use the powder in combination with rice powder to make a batter. The batter is then used to make rice paper, like Emma has tried making.
This area has a lot of Vietnam war history and it was very interesting to visit the places of US bases and battles. Xuan is very knowledgeable about Vietnam’s long war history and was able to explain everything in detail.
There are constant reminders along the road. Tanks, memorials and now unused bases that the US destroyed before retreating. We also visited the area where a lot of Agent O\\\\\\range was dropped. Xuan told us that it was a dense jungle area and now just a field with a few small trees. The ground is only now beginning to recover. The Vietnamese and now US governments are aiding those most affected. There are still about one million people severely suffering from the effects of this chemical.
My favorite stop was the US airfield. Xuan just stopped in the middle of nowhere and said we should walk through the bushes to see where the airfield once was. I didn’t expect to see the whole tarmac still there! It was an eerie place. When they had no more use for this airfield the Americans bombed it and those craters were later filled again.
The further north we rode, the more picturesque the landscape got! Above is one of these scenes, the bamboo bridge can be crossed by motorbike of course.
We visited more minority villages and Xuan would explain their different customs.
Found these two cheeky ones sharing lunch. They didn’t seem too phased by our presence, but Emma was of course very good at interacting with them.
The central highlands are a great region to visit in Vietnam, but it is often foregone in favor of the coastline.
I think even Xuan was having a great time today. We stopped and watched these guys for a while. A great farming tool and they surely knew how to use it.
The highest point of Ho Chi Minh road. A great outlook! The weather was chasing us and we tried to get away from the rain.
Bit of a bonus waterfall that would be incomplete without a selfie where Emma looks like a pilot.
We stopped at another rice farm. The kids in the other field thought we were hilarious, we don’t know why.
Sadly this isn’t an uncommon sight in rural Vietnam.
After a fantastic day of riding, we settled in probably the most basic accommodation yet. A class of high school students also stayed in the dorms above and they were very excited to see us. I was in a lot of their photos. This one is complete with teachers.