rt2k6 - Korea to Britain the hard way

2006-05-07 11:20

The Road To Sai Gon, Part 2

Da Lat to Lak Village continued

After lunch on day 1, we caught our first sight of the Ho Chi Minh trail; now a narrow path not rerally fit for 4wds to run along, but along which used to flow food, arms, artillery pieces, even tanks dismantled into parts and drawn by oxen and people. Apparently we could have walked back to Da Lat in 10 hours; it would have been a good trek, too. The other way, the road lead out to the coast south of Nha Trang, connecting by sea with the bunkers we'd visited at Vinh Moc.

The rest of the day we barely stopped. We passed a new highway-grade road which had been carved out of a cliff face - until six months ago, the villages at the end of that road took a day on foot to get to town by perilous cliffside jungle trails - now it takes 15 minutes by motorbike. The village elders closed the villages up; apparently when the road finally went through, the first thig to happen was tour operators bringing in busloads of tourists, bpoth foreign and Vietnamese, to see how an authentic hill tribe village looked. Schrodinger would be rolling in his grave.

That night we met up again with Trung at Lak Village - another such village, only the road had been put through some years before. A vigorour game of football ensued with Trung and Khoa and a random vietnamese dude, and a Danish man called Fleming and his two sons Martin and Kasper, 14 and 9, in which I was penalised for trying to keep goal with my hands (honestly ... I can't train my goalie's reflexes out). It was 5-5 when we decided the light was too bad to play on. A grand night was had in the floating restaurant, surrounded by frogs and geckos and lilypads.

Tomorrow I'm taking a reserve day to come and write the rest of the trip up, including crazy days in and out of Sai Gon, bus and boats up the Me Kong to Phnom Penh, and four days down on the south coast in which time my arse got unmercifully pounded by bad roads. I promise, really I am.