We were all wide awake at 6am, no idea why. So i was laid thinking what we could do. I decided that it was probably going to be our last opportunity to hire a motorbike again, i knew just slightly North up the Ho Chi Minh highway (the road which runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City) were some huge mountains. It would be great to go exploring them.
So we hired a bike for the rip off charge of $6 😉
We set off and already it was red hot. The days get up to 40 degrees and the nights don’t seem to fall below 28 degrees. So in vest and shorts with my ipod on we were blaring up the HCM Hwy listening to Meatloaf. I say meatloaf because when i was a kid i had a best mate (Craig) who lived just across the road from me. (we are still very good friends) his dad(Vince) who sadly is no longer with us, owned a red transit van. Every weekend we would pile into the back of it and go swimming in lakes, reservoirs, pretty much any collection of water so that we could just mess about. Vince would drive us anywhere. Anyway Craig was seeing this lass called Mel and she had gone to the Yorkshire Dales with her dad and her mate Michelle. Craig was trying to convince his lass to let him go see her, but Mel was having none of it, she was saying that he could only go up if he brought someone for Michelle. Now, Michelle was a monster, seriously. So believe me it took him some convincing me, but before long we were in the back of Vinces Tranny en route to the Dales. I remember like it was yesterday how he blasted out Meatloaf the entire way. As a young teen i have carried the memories of listening to Meatloaf that day with me, And even now i still love Meatloaf.
So driving up through the Vietnamese towns and mountains really did have a special significance. It was amazing.
Now i am not the luckiest person, seriously luck always seems to take a massive side swipe around me. But not this day. Im driving along and suddenly i felt the back of the bike bumping. I knew instantly it was a flat tyre. So i pulled over to investigate. It was flat, but how many people get a flat tyre outside a motorbike repair place. I am serious, smack bang right outside. So i went in and the bloke was more than willing to have it sorted, well, have his kid sort it. The mother took the kids insdide, put a fan on, got them a drink and out TV on for them. It cost me 10,000 dong (30p) and we were away.
Going up into the mountains was one of those moments where you feel goose pimples as you realise what you are doing. The scenery was breathtaking. As we wound up into the mountains we saw the clouds pass beneath us.
Eventually we reached the peak and there was a small pass. There were a few coaches and i knew we had stumbled across some tourist attraction. Charlie was dying for the toilet so we parked up and walked up into the hill where we saw some old ruins. Charlie was doing his thing and i heard some English guy say “Id stop your son doing that if i were you” It turned out we were at the old gates of Vietnam. Basically there are two gates made out of bricks, huge things surrounded by turrets and bunkers. One gate was the entry to Northern Vietnam, the other to the South (when Vietnam was 2 countries) Charlie was taking a piss on the entry to Southern Vietnam.
We made our excuses and left.
Heading back down through the mountains we got lost, eventually we did get back to the hotel, our little journey had done 200km and take 8 hours.
It was one of the most memorable days of my life. The kids loved it just as much.
Our final day in Hoi an and we didn’t do anything. We checked out then walked to a restaurant for some lunch. I had been previously and eaten stir fried noodles with vegetables which was lovely. So i ordered it again but asked if i could watch him make it. he was more than happy to oblige and took the time to show me.
gain it was lovely.
Afterwards i pulled a taxi over and got a price to the airport 240,000 dong, i asked he come and meet me at 4pm. It was sorted and we headed to the beach.
The kids played for 4 hours solid. I just sat and watched them loving life. It was great.
My stomach is badly sunburned again and today im feeling really tender.
Anyway we got to the airport and hung around for our flight.
We took off slightly late at 2130, i sat for an hour on the plane and watched the most amazing show of lightening. The entire sky beneath us was lit up. It was ace!
Upon landing at the airport we walked out to be greeted by a man holding a sign with my name. He lead us out to a Mercedes and drive us off into Saigon…