From Pom Coong to Cành Nàng

2017-11-15 at 14:41

Not to long before I have my flight home. It was about time to start moving again. Wanted to explore the Pù Luông Nature Reserve and do the Lao Loop. Waited for blue sky for a few days with no luck so one morning I packed everything and drove towards Cành Nàng.
The new road – a bit higher above the old QL15 is almost finished. It follows the river in the Mã River Valley. There are lots of chopstick factories next to the river. I took some pictures for you.

Getting more supplies
Getting more supplies with his trusted truck

Can you hear the noise?
Can you hear the noise?

Bamboo chopsticks production
Bamboo chopsticks production

Bamboo chopsticks production

Bamboo chopsticks production
Most of the factories are very small. Some have dedicated work space and others have the tools underneath their house.

Bamboo chopsticks production

Chopsticks
The finished product – ready for shipping. Strange that they do not pack in squares – they could get way more into the trucks.

US truck in front of an old IFA truck from East Germany
US truck in front of an old IFA truck from East Germany

Bamboo chopsticks production

The old road
The old road – not too much fun when it is wet. They constructed the last few kilometers so I had to drive on the old road again. Very happy that it was dry the last few days.

Working Woman
Working Woman

Traditional house
Traditional house which is to expensive to build now. A lot of the new ones are concrete like the one on the right.

Hard work but they are still happy
Hard work but they are still happy

Hello Hello
Hello Hello

The old truck is still in use
The old truck is still in use

Cành Nàng

Got to Cành Nàng round noon. Found a guest house and dropped the bag. Drove up the QL15C towards the Pù Luông Nature Reserve but it was too misty up there so I gave up after one hour and decided to try again at the next trip in spring 2018.

Different way to build a road to the village
Different way to build a road to the village

I had to turn back here - my road tires did not like the mud.
I had to turn back here – my road tires did not like the mud.

Rice - in the valley and along the mountains as well
Rice – in the valley and along the mountains as well

Peace full but to misty to explore
Peace full but to misty to explore

I hope I have more luck with the sky next winter
I hope I have more luck with the sky next winter

Imagine this with a blue sky
Imagine this with a blue sky

Nice construction to get the water into the rice fields
Nice construction to get the water into the rice fields

Not sure if he ever wanted to go to the Olympics
Not sure if he ever wanted to go to the Olympics

Food place in Cành Nàng
Food place in Cành Nàng. They have a food shop in front of the place. So I did my thing again with the phone and the “No Meat – No Animal” and they gestured me to the balcony in the back. Beer is never a problem and when the sun went down they started to cook. I love this small places.

Bamboo construction on a big pond
Bamboo construction on a big pond

You sip your beer and watch the locals fish under your feet
You sip your beer and watch the locals fish under your feet

Later the owner cooked my Dinner
Later the owner cooked my Dinner

Enough for tonight - and it was good!
Enough for tonight – and it was good!

The next day before my trip to Ninh Binh
The next day before my trip to Ninh Binh. Some people complain about my big bag. Here is a picture of the bag – if you compare it with the helmet it is not so big. Mind you I have cold and hot weather gear inside. It does look big because of the orange bag I use to protect the brown one form water and dirt.

 
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From Phố Châu to Pom Coong Village

2017-11-10 at 18:00

Gitte and Gieter had their flight out of Hanoi. Still a few days to kill so I invited them to drive with me to Pom Coong Village and leave the bike later at my friends Hotel in Ninh Binh. They wanted to give their bike to a friend but he was not in Vietnam for a few more days. That way he can pick it up in Ninh Binh. No need for them to drive into Hanoi with the bike – taking the bus instead and no need to find save parking for the bike till their friend get to Hanoi.
Their bike was fine for the whole trip only the rack was not good. Two heavy big backpacks and a small one was way to much. In the morning they when to a welding place to get if fixed again but the way it was done I gave it only 30-40 km before it would break again. We said Adios to Trần from the Ly Ha Hotel and drove towards Mai Chau.

Gitte and Gieter with a broken rack
Sure enough the rack broke after a few kilometres

Gitte did the usual thing. Down from the bike on the wrong side = burn your leg
Gitte did the rookie mistake. Down from the bike on the wrong side = you will burn your leg

Fresh Meat
Fresh Meat on the way to the butcher

The kid never listen so we had to stop at the middle of nowhere to get the rack fixed proper
The kids never listen so we had to stop at a small town in the middle of nowhere to get the rack fixed. Proper this time! I explained everything to the guy from the motorbike repair place. It is nice to talk to them when they do not speak English. We need this brrrrrrrr and this brrrrrrrr after that we need two pipes about thaaaaat long and you bzzzzzzz it here and here. He nods and hops on the bike to get a cutting tool and some pipe. A few beers later the bike was ready for new adventures.

And that is what the guys tried
Get down to business: Brrrrrrrrr

Why use welding glasses when you have a fake Ray Ban?
Why use welding glasses when you have a fake Ray Ban? Bzzzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzbzzzbzz

Ready to go
Ready to go

Local house
Traditional Long House

Fighting the hills
Fighting the hills

Dinner in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa
Dinner in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa. Gitte is Vegetarian too so we drove round town to look for a place to eat. I have “Vegetarian Food. No meat no fish” on a note on my phone so we showed it at a few places till a grandmother nodded and we followed her into the restaurant. The husband went shopping for some greens and I checked the kitchen for more food. The beer was cold and we had a nice table full of food.

Lots of Vegetarian food

At the beer run
We drove a few kilometers back out-of-town to a Nhà Nghỉ we spotted on the way in. The place was brand new and the rooms OK. Had to do a beer run since they did not sell beer. This lady wanted a picture with me so I put her on the laundry detergent bucket. Big fun for the rest of the restaurant.

Đức Tại Guesthouse in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa
The Guesthouse: Đức Tại in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa

Đức Tại Guesthouse in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa

Đức Tại Guesthouse in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa

Pom Coong

Took them to my favorite Guesthouse in Pom Coong – No. 24. Still the best place in town. Far away from the big tourist center so you still can enjoy a cold brew with dinner in the evening without all the souvenir selling places next to you. The food is still amazing and the place is still cheap. More information on Pom Coong and Guesthouse No 24 in this blog post from last year.
Walking the fields behind the town we saw a few new resort style places and lots of new souvenir stands. If No. 24 would not be there – I would not stop! But since it is very convenient on the way you will find me next year again there for a few days.

The rice fields of Pom Coong
The rice fields of Pom Coong

Traditional House in Pom Coong
Traditional House in Pom Coong

Traditional House in Pom Coong

The rice fields of Pom Coong

The rice fields of Pom Coong

Farmer on the way home

Gitte and Gieter on the way to Ninh Binh
Gitte and Gieter posing for the final photo before they move on towards Ninh Binh – see you again guys!

Traditional Dance

One evening a group of British bikers stopped for dinner at Guesthouse No 24. The guesthouse organized a Dancing Show for them in the cord yard. Took a few snaps from the balcony. I have better pictures and a video at the post from last year.

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

 
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A few Days in Phố Châu

2017-11-09 at 15:26

Charity Work with Mr. Trần

Mr. Trần Đình Trợ is not an ordinary man. He is out there to help others. And he does it every day! I use Mr. Trần here so you do not confuse him with my friend Trần! Mr. Trần usually wears a hat so it is easy to know who is who!

Mr. Trần and me
My friend Trần took me to meet Mr. Trần. We went to the English School he is running on the side. They collect books for the children. Fixed a few computers and provide internet in the classroom. But the main purpose of the building is giving free English class to kids that could not afford it otherwise.

Mr. Trần gives the contributions and sits for the proofing picture
One day he went out to give donations and money to people. Trần asked if I want to ride along. Gitte and Gieter stayed at the same hotel so we took them too. Mr. Trần collects donations and gives them to those who are in need. This picture is from our second stop that day. We went to a home where the parents take care of their son. His hip is open and he has multiple other problems. Money and supplies where dropped and a picture to proof that the family got the donation is taken. On the green paper you see a list of names and the amount they gave. This way everybody can be sure that the money they gave reaches the people.

On the way to the next house - Heenezy and Maria protect us!
On the way to the next house – Heenezy and Maria protect us. You do read right: Heenezy! The car is not from the organization. Somebody drove us with his car so we could go from house to house. Since some people get not only money we needed a car to transport the other things.

House and household goods donated
House and household goods donated. A guy from the local government was also there and a few neighbors to celebrate.

Counting the donation money
Counting the donation money

Group photo
Group photo. You can see how much they got on the wall. Not sure if you really need to have a banner like that all the time but that is the way they do it.
I was hoping for the food they prepared but we went on to the next place after the picture.

Another House
Another House – this one still under construction. We stopped at a few more places and where back at our hotel in the late afternoon. Quite a day different from the others. And very interesting as well.

The Green Food Place in Phố Châu

Food place in Phố Châu

Food place in Phố Châu
Nothing special but I liked the green walls and the contrast with the orange and red plastic.

Photo shooting at the Temple

Trần is into Photography and one of his friends is a Photographer. One afternoon we tagged along with him to a temple where he took some pictures of an old man. I took the opportunity to get a few pictures as well. But the guy had my lens so I only could use the 50mm and of course I had to stay back and could not get the best angle.

Temple Roof

Reading at the temple
So this is staged – not like the usual pictures I take

Happy old man
He does look like a happy old man!

Do you like my pictures?
Not sure why but they put me there to show him the pictures so they could get some shoots with us.

At the Chinese Temple

Tree at the temple

Sunset at the temple
Sunset at the temple – not really – only some clouds.
We went to another small temple far from the main road.

Baby Goat
Baby Goat

Kids on a bike
Kids on a bike

Bringing home the buffalo
Bringing home the buffalo

Can I have a picture with you?
Can I have a picture with you? Sure enough word spreads fast when a tall white guy stands in the fields. So everybody stopped and they waited to see what we do.

Everybody came over to see what we do

Even he came over for a selfie with me
Even he came over for a selfie with me

Back in Phố Châu

At the butcher shop
At the butcher shop in the morning

Song Hà - a famous Vietnamese writer
Song Hà – a famous Vietnamese writer. He offered me a drink and we took a picture together. He put me on his Facebook for a while and I never saw that many likes for a picture in one day.

Picture with the monk
Trần took me to a temple. They wanted a picture with me as well.

Dinner at the temple
Later another monk came over and walked us round the temple. He invited us to stay for dinner. Great – only vegetarian food here. One of the monks worked in East Germany before and could speak German. So he was happy to talk to me in German. He still has his former wife and kid over there in Germany and visits every year. Small world!

Dinner with friends of Trần
Nice dinner – not too much food for me but the beer was cold

And a picture with the girls
The next evening we went to meet some of Trần’s friends. A picture with the girls – why not?

At the Wedding Shop
At the Wedding Shop

Phan Chau Trinh School

Strange things happen everywhere. More or less this school is in the middle of nowhere and a German guy helped to build this school and another one in Quang Nam. Rudolf Walther gave 500.000€ the German World University Service gave some and the rest of the money was from the province government. The school can also be used as shelter if the province gets flooded.

Schoolboard
The school board

The School Guard
The School Guard

Phan Chau Trinh School
Phan Chau Trinh School

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From Phong Nha to Phố Châu

2017-10-26 at 09:58

Another one of those Gray days. You can not see where the sun is the whole day because the Gray soup is so thick. And it looks as it would start to rain every second. Had my breakfast at the Mountain View Hotel. Since I do not like to eat eggs I had my Baguette with Tomatoes instead. That did confuse the boss woman for a few days but now she is used to it. And since I stayed here a few times she gives me an extra Vietnamese slow drip coffee every morning as well. Nice!
“Pack the Bag” game and everything on the bike. Drove down to the Lemon Tree Spa to say Adios to Trang.

M35 Truck
M35 Truck – still doing the heavy lifting in the forest

The main drag of Phong Nha
The main drag of Phong Nha towards the right of The Lemon Tree Spa

The main drag of Phong Nha
And towards the left

Phong Nha Hollywood Style

Phong Nha Hollywood Style – at the mountain where you do a left into the city if you come from the ocean.

Open road into the mountains after Phong Nha
Open road into the mountains after Phong Nha

Rainforest somewhere between Phong Nha and Phố Châu close to Xã Hướng Lập
Rainforest somewhere between Phong Nha and Phố Châu close to Xã Hướng Lập

Rainforest somewhere between Phong Nha and Phố Châu close to Xã Hướng Lập
The rain stopped for the rest of the trip and that made for a great show above the rainforest

Rainforest somewhere between Phong Nha and Phố Châu close to Xã Hướng Lập

Nhà thờ Giáo họ Tân Phương
Nhà thờ Giáo họ Tân Phương

Another church in the middle of nowhere

Another church in the middle of nowhere

Phố Châu

Went to the same hotel as the last few times. The Ly Ha Hotel in Phố Châu. I got another room at the second floor again. Now I had 3 different rooms in this hotel.

My room in the Ly Ha Hotel

My room in the Ly Ha Hotel
My room at the Ly Ha Hotel in Phố Châu. 8€ with AC, fan, closet, table, chairs, kettle and private bathroom with hot shower. The room is not to big but for a few nights perfect.

My room in the Ly Ha Hotel
The bathroom. Small but everything I need

Mr. Trần
Mr. Trần – the manager of the hotel took me again for a coffee at his favourite place. Of course we did talk Photography for most of the time.

The Cafè downtown
The heart of the Café

The Cafè downtown
From the “room” before the heart

The Cafè downtown
Part of the courtyard with the stairs up

The Cafè downtown

View from the “room” under the balcony into the courtyard

The Cafè downtown
Little raised table on the right

The Cafè downtown
There are 2 more seating areas upstairs

The Cafè downtown
Who would think to find such a place in the middle of nowhere??

Off to the Karaoke wonderland
Later Trần took me to see some friends and we ended up in the Karaoke place

Private Karaoke room
Private Karaoke room – everybody was happy and there was cold beer so I was happy too!

This is how a room looks when you have Vietnamese customers
This is how a room looks when you have Vietnamese customers – poor cleaning woman 🙁

Todays Drive

191 km in 7 hours and 34 minutes including lunch, photo stops, rain coat shopping and shelter seeking as well as a Gas stop. Since I drove the same road as last time I have the same map again – I hope you do not mind!

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