I booked a motorbike tour for 8 am and chunky, the tour guide, showed up. I got to drive my own motorbike after pushing for it and it cost me around 75$ USD for the day. We started by going to a bamboo mat making shop. The ladies there showed me how to do it and then I made part of one. It was a contraption that moves strings and pushes in the bamboo sticks bringing them close together to form the mat.
We then went to a little family’s house just across the street and chunky had breakfast while he showed me a couple Vietnamese words, then we left for the road. We drove through the little local villages which were very poor but children and people were still smiling and laughing and loving life. I don’t feel like first world countries have life figured out anymore than third world countries do. It’s all about making the best of your situation and adapting to make the best of it. Attitude does more than anything else in life and anyone can feed off of a good attitude. Happiness is from the inside, there are no external factors that make you happy only you’re reactions to things. This is a Buddhists’ teachings.
We eventually got to the standing buddha statue which was nowhere to be found on trip advisor, a little temple with only locals around. Everyone was staring at me as the tallest, biggest and whitest person there. The standing buddha statue was 3/4 the size of christ the redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, it was white and giant. It’s the biggest standing buddha statue in vietnam.
There was a big community of monks living in the temple nearby.
We then left and stopped at a rice farm, where Chunky showed me some rice plants and how the rice grows. He was telling me that Vietnam was the second biggest exporter of rice and coffee. It was cool to see the rice plants and see the green rice. It turns yellow then we cut it and polish it for the white look.
After this we headed towards the national park, on the way we went through purely Vietnamese towns with no English in sight. Once we got to the top of the mountain, there was an amazing view of the countryside. And on top there was a house of a Frenchman, Alexandre Yersin, who helped develop the Malaria Vaccine. He had passed but was loved by all the Vietnamese people that they decided to preserve his house and land as an honor to him. There was also a little shack hotel at the top with about 12 dogs barking at everything and everyone they saw.
We then headed back down after hanging out here a bit and stopped at a random stream where I climbed up it a bit to find a flat rock to take a nap on and we napped for a good hour next to the stream in the setting sun.
I met up with Sam, the Irishman after for supper and we met the group at the sailing club which is a 5 star resort on the beach, where beers were 8 dollars instead of 1 dollar so we left right away and went to the “why not” bar. Had 4 beers and was good to go, the other group that we were travelling in parallel with, were all out so was able to socialize and dance with them. It was a good night.
On the way home, I was bringing a friend home because she was a little tipsy. There was a guy hanging near us, I kept an eye on him and he offered us a ride home. We declined because we were close to the hotel. We crossed the street but the girl stopped in the middle of the street to check her map, I kept walking to the corner and then the guy came out of nowhere on his scooter and knifed her handbag off. She only had her cell and a bit of money in the handbag but at least she was safe, it was amazing how quickly he struck. We got to her hotel finally, made sure she was okay and I asked the guy at the hotel to drive me home, feeling that going out alone would be a bad call and he did. What a day! Not a very good welcome outside of Saigon, hopefully it gets better! The next day promised to be better.
Stay awesome and follow your dreams!