On my way to Khe Sanh

It's been a truly wild last couple of days. Meaning to post more but I have limited WiFi and more limited time to write at length. Right now I am in a car on my way to Khe Sanh. There are still American Military planes left over from the warmest so I am excited about what I am to find. It's been a whirlwind. I got back from Ha Long Bay and proceeded to have three more amazing days in Hanoi. I made wonderful friends with Lila and T and spent the majority of those days with them. I've met so many dutch. Quite literally a different group if dutch travelers each day. I suppose similar looks magnetize towards each other. Most of them thought I was dutch too (nah). 

I spent nearly the entire day on Tuesday trying to figure out how I to get my motorbike on a bus or train. The train station had no more motor cars for 5 days, but the man gave me the address of the bus station. My phone died while driving on the way so I just kept driving.   I finally pulled over to ask for directions and i had driven about 30 km to far. When I finally got to the bust station I waited for easily an hour to find someone who would take it to Dong Hoi. Once I did I gave him about 18 USD and left my bike but took the key. Not thirty seconds later I lost the key in the dirt bus field with hundreds of people. I was about ready to just say 'to hell with it' and leave when one of the security men swung by on a motorbike with my key in hand. Day saved, and suddenly worth the three hours it took to ship the bike. I got back to the old quarter and my friends and I got beers to recover from my efforts. We then got a massage in the old quarter for a whopping $8. 

Next I boarded the night train after some farewell shopping and food with Lila and T. The night train was fine, I was in a bunk but of course far too tall for it.  

Yeserday I landed in Dong Hoi and hopped in a taxi to pick up my bike. I was fairly certain I would ever see it again because the only reciept they gave me was a phone number to call and the name of a bridge in Dong Hoi. The texi driver called the number and sure enough it was already parked there less than 24 hours later. O had to reattach my rack and part of my rear guard was sewn off but my bike was there. I was to drive up to Phong Nha caves that day. The primary other concern was that my front break had been cut...... I made that a priority and went to work on the side of the road. I removed the metal brake casings which were no just rattling incredibly loudly. The cave was a 45 minute drive up hill so I just had to make sure that I got it fixed before going down. I found a mechanic in the town of Phong Nha and got my break fixed and oil changed for about $4. We got there too late for the caves but it lead me to meeting two more dutch people, and they brought me back to their dutch sqaud for some beers. I had a long drive ahead but cut it short cause it was getting dark early. I drove back to Dong Hoi where I left my bag for the day, and checked into the beach side backpackers hostel. This places was incredible. I am seriously considering going back and staying to see the caves. The hostel was on the beach and reminded me of this Netflix TV show called Trouble in Paradise. Even down to the waitress looked like one of the dectectives on the show. I actually fell asleep on the beach before moving back to bed. Had to be up at 4:00 AM for a 2 hour drive to Dong Ha.

I spent yesterday with an incredible organization called Peace Trees Vietnam. They are the only American NGO that does landmine removal in Vietnam. I was a little surprised at how that was possible. It sounds like there is a bit of flooded markets in terms of NGO's here which could all use more funding. I went with their team to the landmine extraction zone that they were currently working on. It was incredible. While we were there shooting, we actually got a call that someone from the local ethnic minority village had found a landmine in their stream. I then followed their rapid response team to successfully remove the landmine.

 Arriving at Khe Sanh now, will write part two later.



Henri Fitzmaurice