Biking Through Vietnam

March 10, 2012

Day 7 – To Kon Tum

Filed under: Uncategorized — scribblygum @ 10:36 am

We left our big fancy hotel in a big fancy motorcade of about twenty bikes.

 

 

 

Each bike was wearing the national flag.

There was a reason for the flag – this is it – the traffic.

The big sign with the globe on top is the centre of the roundabout.

We head around the right of it, then turn left across several random lanes of traffic.

Notice the truck.

 

The truck is going the same way.

 

He gives us a bit of menacing, after all, he is bigger.

 

Somehow we all get across the traffic and are in the clear.

 

 

Along the Way.

These are a bunch of pics showing the mix of old and new, tidy and raggedy, that make up this whole country.

 

 

 

 

Big brewery making Saigon Beer and a few others.

 

 

 

 

 

Road surface. This is a major industrial route and so the road is sometimes patched.

 

 

And sometimes not.

 

 

War memorial.

 

We stopped at this major memorial.

The Soviet style monolithic sculture is typical of Vietnamese War Memorials.

 

 

The names are organised into provinces, towns, names, then dates of birth and death.

There were several children listed, child soldiers twelve or thirteen years old.

 

 

 

Market Stall.

This is typical of many roadsides. A bunch of posts stuck into the ground with blue plastic tarps over the whole lot.

I imagine somebody runs it as a business, but this one was sparsely populated.

 

 

Petrol Stop.

We pulled in for fuel every second day or so.

The guides only put in a couple of litres each time – I imagine in case of overnight theft.

The final fuel fill up was quite sparse as the bikes were shipped back to the start point on the train and all tanks had to be drained.

This left some of the bikes running out of fuel in the final hour or so, requiring some siphoning.

 

 

This guy pulled into the servo when we were there.

His trailer was filled with plastic jerry cans, probably to keep the farm running for the next week.

He has handlebars and two wheels but he doesn’t qualify as a biker.

 

 

Things on bikes.

 

OK, here we go again. There is a never ending stream of new things to see on the back of bikes in this place.

In front is a woman with a load of tapioca. Behind her is a cultivator and trailer.

Behind them both is a lot of very patient truckies.

 

 

Stacker chairs, probably being taken to a roadside cafe.

Small chairs are easier to carry – depending on the length of your arms.

 

School kids going home for lunch.

School is about 7am to 11am, then a break until about 1pm to 3pm.

We often passed groups of schoolkids like this.

 

Petrol bowser.

Over on the right.

 

And close up.

Many places have a twenty gallon drum like this with a hand pump and sight chamber on top.

The petrol is pumped into the glass cylinder and then the scooter is filled up from there.

 

Noodle factory.

Man and wife industry.

The woman is putting rice dough into the top. The machine squeezes it into the blue extruder portion you can see.

The noodles exit the extruder, about a hundred or so, and are slightly cooled by the fan.

The man grabs the whole bunch and cuts them to length with a large pair of scissors.

He then folds them across the bamboo pole behind him.

 

The couple live in the factory, see the bed over the drying rack.

There was also a little boy in another room in the place.

Our guides brought us here rather than to a larger place which might attract coach tourists.

There are several families like this that the tour company supports financially.

 

 

Roadside cafe.

This is across the road from the noodle factory, just a little local business making the most of a country intersection.

Cool drinks in the red esky, peeled sugar cane in the white bucket, and the ubiquitous bottle of petrol out the front.

 

Pepper country.

That black stuff that goes onto food – here’s what it looks like in the raw.

 

Hillsides full of pepper vines.

 

Pepper plantation kids.

It was school hours and they were not at school.

A couple of older boys, ten or twelve, were up the tree just in view on the right, getting through a pack of cigarettes.

The school was just across the road and full of kids. We never found out why some kids don’t seem to go to school.

 

The vines are grown up the trunk of another tree. They plant the original tree, keep it pruned so it grows straight up with no branches, and when it’s ten to twelve feet high they chop it off at the top.

Several pepper vines are then planted around its base.

 

 

The pepper grows in small bunches. The yellow tarp is to catch the pepper being picked at the moment by a bloke up a ladder.

 

 

The pepper is then dried in shallow layers spread out in front of houses all along the road.

It is slowly raked over by hand, as you can see on the right.

 

Green pepper in one patch, drying pepper goes black in the others.

 

 

Lunch stop.

 

This cafe is famous for it’s fried chicken and rice.

 

 

The little dishes hold a commonly served mixture of salt and chilli with lime wedges.

Even fruit is often served with this side dish. Pineapple with salt and chilli is very nice.

 

 

Somehow we missed getting a photo of their famous fried chicken.

Imagine a plate of rice with a piece of fried chicken on top.

Twenty something of them.

Plus a soup of bitter melon with pork stuffing.

There you go, no photo needed.

 

 

Rubber Plantation.

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting a sliver from the bark where it’s been cut before.

 

Rubber starting to flow from the cut.

 

 

Along the road.

 

The guy is loaded up like one of the locals, but the freezer truck coming the other way makes him look even more loaded up.

 

Road under construction. Yep, it does happen some times.

However, look at how those power poles have been undercut for the road.

We passed many places where they cut the road away like this and left little islands of dirt holding up power poles.

 

Just because the road is under construction doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set up shop.

And another loaded up scooter.

 

Scooter load of chooks.

 

More road work.

And another business refusing to lose his customers just because they put a six foot deep cutting in front of his shop.

Can’t quite see what the guy is carrying on the bike.

 

 

Hotel at last.

 

Coming into Kon Tum City.

 

And here is the entry to the hotel.

 

The bikes are being parked up in here.

 

Yep, it’s the main ballroom, shiny granite floor and all.

We ride up the ramp, through the reception area, and turn left into the ballroom.

Just another surprise from this country of surprises.

 

 

And as soon as possible, out comes the esky.

 

Welcome to Kon Tum Indochine Hotel.

 

 

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