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Hello Vietnam

by Tyler

According to my GPS, we've arrived at the road leading to Vietnam: it is a dusty red track with no signage whatsoever. Feeling dubious about this intersection leading to an international border, we ask a nearby food seller for directions. I'm expecting he'll point us further down the road, or maybe back the way we've come.

Instead, he smiles and points at the desolate, rutted path we were considering moments ago.

Cambodian Woman on Motorbike

Alright then, off we go!

Some Pig

Down the red dirt road, villages become sparser, as does the landscape. We're still feeling a little doubtful, but when we ask a few more people about the way to Vietnam, they all assure us we're headed the right direction.

Tara's Feet & Dry Earth

At the edge of our last Cambodian town, we take a break to capture this brightly-colored wedding tent. It is rare that we've passed a village of any size without seeing one (or two or three) of these, clashing in the countryside with their garish hot pinks, fluorescent yellows, and neon greens.

Cambodian Wedding Tent

With this final iconic image of Cambodia collected, we're almost ready to say goodbye. But first, I want to record the ominous music emanating from within. I only manage to get a minute or two down before we are accosted by a strange, intellectually impaired man.

We steer clear of the barbecued gosling(?) for now…

Grilled Duckling?

…and settle on a place that serves phở. After trying about five different pronunciations, (fo? phOh? fuu? feh? fuh? fUh?, yes fUh!!) I finally manage to be understood, and soon receive a steaming minty bowl of noodle and chicken soup. It definitely does not rate high on my list of tasty flavors. Something about it reminds me of Christmas in a not-so-pleasant way.

Tara winds up with a delicious place of rice and barbecued meat, which I covet and steal several bites from.

Tara Sipping Pineapple Shake, Learning Vietnamese

On our way back to the hotel, we receive our first broad smile, as a mother and her children stop to ogle the strange white people in their small town.

Vietnamese Family on a Bike

At the moment, I am missing Cambodia. Vietnam is loud and in-your-face by comparison, and if today is any indication, communication here is going to be very difficult.

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Hi my dears! I can't believe you're hitting Vietnam the exact week after I had a family member, bicycling there for two weeks!

(Obviously, that's not my website.. ) The leader of this bike group is my uncle that lives in Mahomet.

Stay safe! Keep enjoying your adventure!
Posted by Bobbi on January 21st, 2011 at 4:58 PM
Hi Bobbi! It's too bad we didn't know earlier, because we've actually been in Vietnam for a month and a half now. (We're just behind on our journals)

It's a bummer we missed your uncle, but we'll have to check out his website. Thank you for sending it along.

Hope you're well!
Posted by Tara on January 22nd, 2011 at 12:03 PM
The pig photo is awesome and I really really love the women with the checkered scarf on her head.
Was bike done from your. Only you guys could get that kinda shot while on the move.
Posted by Natasha on January 23rd, 2011 at 8:18 AM
Meant to say....was that taken while riding on your bike? ARGHHHHH. My brain and fingers aren't communicating today.
Posted by Natasha on January 23rd, 2011 at 8:31 AM
That photo was not taken while riding. We were sitting down at an outdoor restaurant and I leaned over to snap the photo, but the guy in front of me moved his arm, thus creating the weirdness at the bottom. I liked it though. ;-)
Posted by Tara on January 23rd, 2011 at 9:12 AM