Winter 17/18 – Quite Days at the Beach in Đồng Hới

After Tet was over and Vietnam was “open for business” again it was time to pack the bag and move on towards Dong Hoi! My trusted bike was parked for the year in Ninh Binh and Viet was so kind as to move her from time to time.

Put the big orange bag on my Yamaha Exciter 135 and rode to the next gas station. Fill her up and down South it was towards the blue sky and more sunshine.

There is not really a nice road and I only wanted to get to Dong Hoi fast. Last time I drove the 410 km in one day but that is kind of a lot in Vietnam. Especially on the A1 with all the trucks and fast buses.

This time I only went half way down to Vinh and stayed there for one night.

My bike has now 26932 km on the clock
My bike has now 26932 km on the clock
The Yamaha Exciter 135
The Yamaha Exciter 135

The bag looks big but inside is my brown bag. The same small bag I use all the time. The orange bag served me quite well last year. Keeps the rain and dust away from the actual bag and you see the big orange square much better. A kind of safety feature if you will.

This year I shipped all. A new helmet, a mask to keep pollution at bay, rain trousers and waterproof boot covers
This year I got it all. A new helmet, a mask to keep pollution at bay, rain trousers and waterproof boot covers

A night in Vinh

Thanh Dat 2 Hotel
My room at the Thanh Dat 2 Hotel

Took a room at the Thanh Dat 2 Hotel for 7 US$. You get A nice clean room, 2 chairs and a table, Aircondition and a TV as well as a private bathroom with hot shower and toilet. The hotel has his own parking and a coffee as well. Great for a night or a few nights. If you are lazy they also have an elevator!

The Bathroom
The Bathroom

At the Beach in Dong Hoi

The next morning I continued down south. If you go easy it is almost a day with breaks and lunch. Arrived in the late afternoon at Ocean View Homestay.  My favorite place along the coast of Vietnam. It is so quiet over there so I can sleep without earplugs. They have a small garden to hang out and you only cross the road and walk in less than 5 minutes from your room to the beach.

A big nice room - the bed is 5US$ a night
The dormitory at Ocean View Homestay! A big nice room – the bed is 5US$ a night

Dorm at the Ocean View Homestay
I took the one on the lower left

Part of the garden
The garden

Restaurant at Ocean View Homestay
The restaurant at Ocean View Homestay

Most of the day I spend at the terrace and worked on the computer. The staff was so kind and made some nice food every day.

Happy Hour at Beachside Backpackers

Not too far down the beach is the Beachside Backpackers. They had Happy Hour from 17:00 – 19:00 and this is where I went every day. The dog was happy to tag along but usually 30 minutes or so after we arrived it was too boring for him to wait for me and he went home again.

My partner in crime - we went to the happy hour every day
My partner in crime – we went to the happy hour every day
At the beachside backpackers - Jo and her boyfriend
At the beachside backpackers – Jo and her boyfriend
Fried Tofu with Lemongrass, Rice and a Pumpkin dipping
Fried Tofu with Lemongrass, Rice and a Pumpkin dipping

Quite Days – Happy Evenings in Dong Hoi

My two other playmates at Ocean View
My two other playmates at Ocean View
Waiting for the evening
Waiting for the evening
Cats - everywhere Cats
Cats – everywhere Cats
Not a happy dog!
Not a happy dog – but loads of other happy animals moved next to him
More dogs to play with on the way
More dogs to play with on the way
He looks happy
He looks happy
Every day you meet new people at the Beachside Backpacker Bar
Every day you meet new people at the Beachside Backpacker Bar
The staff cocked nice Vietnames food for me every day
The staff at Ocean View cocked nice Vietnamese food for me every day
On the way to the bar - Happy Hour is aproaching
On the way to the bar – Happy Hour is aproaching
The evening flight to Saigon
The evening flight to Saigon
He loved that plastic flower
He loved that plastic flower
Very relaxing - you only hear waves and can sip on a beer. What else do we need?
Very relaxing – you only hear waves and can sip on a beer. What else do we need?
Onion rings with Beer
Onion rings with Beer
More food at Ocean View
More food at Ocean View
Until the cows come home
Until the cows come home
The morning flight
The morning flight
He gets lots of visitors, csrbs and other dogs
He gets lots of visitors, mostly crabs and other dogs
Calm waters
Calm waters
Happy hunter
Happy hunter
There is not to much going on at the beach
There is not to much going on at the beach
Today some fries with my beer
Today some fries with my beer
Lunch at Ocean View
Lunch at Ocean View

Time to move on – further down South to meet other friends. Thank you Trang for making this another special time at your place at the beach!!

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Winter 17/18 – Off to Vietnam

Two months in Thailand went to fast – as usual. The morning after my birthday party it was time to take a TukTuk to the airport in Chiang Mai

Tuk-Tuk to the airport
Tuk-Tuk to the airport

At NOK-Air they have Angels and Butterflies!!
At NOK-Air they have Angels and Butterflies!!

At Thai Lion Air they have Chinese tourists
At Thai Lion Air they have Chinese tourists. Hmm – but they are cheaper to fly still I should look into Nok next time!

The plane. Have a look at the smoke in the back!
The plane waiting for us to board. Have a look at the smoke in the back!

A lot of space in that one!
A lot of space in that one!

Looks quite ok
Looks quite ok

The nice staff of Thai Lion Air put me in the 1st row - 3 seats for me and more legroom. They changed the lights to blue for the flight
The nice staff of Thai Lion Air put me in the 1st row – 3 seats for me and more legroom. They changed the lights to blue for the flight

Chiang Mai on a normal day in the beginning of February. Can you see the smoke?
Chiang Mai on a normal day in the beginning of February. Can you see the smoke?

Hanoi – Vietnam

There was a time the fires in the North started at the end of March or April. But this time is long gone. If the Thais would not set fields and forest on fire in January I could stay a bit longer and avoid Tết in Vietnam. But this year (again) I arrived a few days before. Most of the shops are closed and everybody is on the move to see the family. After all, Tết or the Vietnamese New Year is the most important celebration in Vietnam. The plane got into Hanoi International in the evening. You never know how long you need at immigration so I usually have a hotel for the first night in Hanoi. On this trip I needed to change money as well so had to wait for the next morning anyhow to get the best rates for my trip.

The airport bus to downtown Hanoi. Free WiFi and only 1,15€ at the time of travelling
The airport bus to downtown Hanoi. Free WiFi and only 1,15€ at the time of travelling

The Golden Wings Hotel in Hanoi
The Golden Wings Hotel in Hanoi. Should read the description better next time. Comes without private bathroom. Well no problem for one night but the bathroom was way to small to even take a picture of it. If you stay here take any room but this one.

2 Beds, Tv, Ac a table and chair
2 Beds, Tv, Ac a table and chair – everything super clean and the bed – a dream!!

Comes with a shared bathroom - that is super small
Comes with a shared bathroom – that is super small – so the toothbrush packaging makes a lot of sense 🙂

Local beer check - € 0,40 and up. Good!
Local beer check – € 0,40 and up. Good!

The import beer starts at € 0,70 up to 2,11€ for 500 ml. Super cheap compared to Thailand!
The import beer starts at € 0,70 up to 2,11€ for 500 ml. Super cheap compared to Thailand!

Watering the flowers
Watering the flowers in the morning. You see – you do not see! Traffic that is. Almost none in Hanoi!

On the way to the money changers - OMG!
On the way to the money changers – OMG!

This is my favourite place if you ever in need of a money changer in Hanoi
This is my favourite place if you ever in need of a money changer in Hanoi

And just a few more steps you can get the best French Croissants
And just a few more steps you can get the best French Croissants I ever had in the city.

With the local bus to the bus station and from there to Ninh Binh
With the local bus to the bus station and from there to Ninh Binh. 70.000 Dong – about 2,60€

At my friend's place outside of Ninh Binh
At the place of my friends outside of Ninh Binh

Lots of work waiting to clean the construction side
They just got the house and build the new part between the two old houses. The green roof that is. Lots of work waiting to clean the construction side and start the garden in front of the house and at the orange spot on the upper left corner

There is a small mountain behind the house
There is a small mountain behind the house

Lots of construction along the streets
Lots of construction along the streets

Outside of Ninh Binh
You can imagine how it looks with blue sky!

The older part of the area - there was a time when building next to the road was not that important
The older part of the area – there was a time when building your house next to the road was not that important

Rice planting season
This time of the year: Rice planting season

You can see all the footprints
You can see all the footprints

Lots of work
Lots of work

Work work work...
Work work work…

And more work
And more work – people in the northern part of Vietnam decorate their house with peach blossoms (hoa đào). We gave this one a nice pot and lots of that red earth from behind the house.

Dinner at the house
Dinner at the house

The Tet fire
The Tet fire! You would not believe it – the government speaker was blaring Happy New Year from ABBA!!!

You go to the house of relatives and relatives come to your house
You go to the house of relatives and relatives come to your house – basic 101 Tet holiday season. And food – a lot of food! And moonshine – even more moonshine!

A very happy Viet!
A very happy Viet!

And his father is happy as well
And his father is happy as well

Lots of vegetarian options
Lots of vegetarian options for me. What a nice afternoon. And beer – they had beer as well. This evening I went to bed early.

Old and young come together for a few days
Old and young come together for a few days

They eat and drink and talk a lot too
They eat and drink and talk a lot too

The old guys trad stories from the good old times
The old guys trad stories from the good old times

The only thing that I understand is when I have to drink another moonshine with them
The only thing that I understand is when I have to drink another moonshine with them – basically every few minutes.

Of course, Tết Nguyên Đán is way more – not only food and moonshine and visiting relatives. If you are interested Wikipedia has an excellent article about the Vietnamese New Year celebration.

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4 Days in the US – Day 1 From Chicago to Fitchburg⁩

Another Long Man mission. Fly to Chicago and deliver some parts – have a few free days to explore – fly back. I like those kind of missions. Got a car for 4 days and booked a few nice hotels. Spring was late this year so it was not as green as I hoped for but it was a free trip so why complain?? First stop ‎⁨Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩ via Frankfurt and Chicago.

Stuttgart Airport
Stuttgart Airport – even a decent time of the day. Usually when I do this kind of trips I am on the first plane out of Frankfurt to Chicago which leaves at 07:25. That means get up at 03:00 – drive to Heilbronn – pick up the goods and race to Frankfurt Airport to get the flight.

Stuttgart Airport

Nobody looks really happy today
Nobody looks really happy today

Not a lot of leg room
Not a lot of leg room

Lufthansa A320-200

Loook! An Air Berlin plane!
Loook! An Air Berlin plane!

Off we go - the Albtrauf in the back
Off we go – the Albtrauf in the back

It is blue over the clouds
It is blue over the clouds. I really love it on a rainy day. You have a gray day and go in a plane – it takes off and gets over the clouds – voilà! Sunshine!!!

Look - LEGROOM!!
Look – LEGROOM!!

But it is only the shuttle bus in Frankfurt
But it is only the shuttle bus in Frankfurt

The plane is somewhere - we do a sight-seeing tour of FRA
Usually I do not like it when they ferry you with the bus to the plane. But this time it was different. The plane is somewhere out there – we do a sight-seeing tour of FRA 🙂

Quite interesting
Quite interesting to see the planes from this site

The back turbine
The back turbine

A United plane
A United plane

Finally in my United plane - a bit better than Lufthans on the way to Frankfurt
Finally in my United plane – a bit better than Lufthans on the way to Frankfurt

I want to be able to do that!
I want to be able to do that! Board a plane and fall asleep – how nice would it be. No waiting for the food, no looking for the next movie – only a cruise in dreamland.

Stupid Premium Economy - the exit row in front of me was empty but of course you have to pay for it. And so was most of the Premium Economy part of the plane as well.
Stupid Premium Economy – the exit row in front of me was empty but of course you have to pay for it. And so was most of the Premium Economy part of the plane as well.

Vegetarian lunch
Vegetarian lunch

The wine was not really drinkable - the beer was!
The wine was not really drinkable – the beer was! I had two young Germans in my row. They where on the way to Vegas. And they had a few 1000 to blow. But no clue about beer. Lucky for me they wanted German beer – Warsteiner – one of our TV Beers – so more birds for me 🙂
The flight attendant was German and did look at me like I had a funny hat on – why would you drink American beer? Well she accepted my explanation with the TV beer and handed me a Goose. I told her later that this is a really good beer – much better than Warsteienr if you ask me. Turns out she does not drink beer in the first place.

But they only had a few of the birds so I had one of them as well
But they only had a few of the birds so I had one of them as well

Watched a few movies
Watched a few movies

Snack before touchdown in Chicago
Snack before touchdown in Chicago

Closer to Chicago
Close to Chicago

Close to Chicago
Closer to Chicago

Chicago

Immigration at O’Hare International Airport – the longest I had to stand in line was OVER 3 hours!! That was with the morning flight when a lot of planes come in. Now they have a different system with a lot of machines. Scan the passport, do this do that – do not smile for the picture and whatever. Since I brought some sample I marked the custom form for the goods. After that is was waiting waiting and waiting but not 3 hours more like 45 minutes. Finally it was my turn and I had to explain two times what I bring and after that I had my stamp and was off to customs. They X-Ray the bag and Adios! Good! Germany booked a car for me – at Hertz. So you go out and wait for the shuttle bus to bring you to the rental office.

  • Enterprise 11 times
  • Avis 10 times
  • Thrifty 10 times
  • Alamo 10 times
  • National 9 times
  • Budget 8 times
  • Dollar 8 times
  • Hertz 0 times

WTF??? Somehow I should bring stuff to Fitchburg⁩ in ⁨Wisconsin and not look at the shuttle buses from other rental companies! I see one upstairs – hmm since I waited now more than 30 minutes why not try upstairs at departure? – upstairs I go. Same same – but different! Now more National and Alamo and less Avis buses. I see one coming at arrival again. Running down like a rabbit runs from the fox I got in – let’s go and get the car!
Only 4 more customers in the bus – looks like I do not have to wait today. Ha Ha Hertz had a dirty trick up their sleeve! I dunno how they did it but there where about 25 customers in front of me. Hmmm they might send only one shuttle every 40 minutes or so – this way the line will not be all the way out of their office. Another hour and some minutes pass and finally I get the keys.
The nice thing with renting in the US is that you can choose your car at the parking lot. You rent a class and go and see what parks there. If you have time you even wait a bit if something better comes in. Lets see – I need a nice color and something I fit into. USB etc they all have so no need to check that. In the end I opted for a KIA with 349 miles on the clock. Who does not like the smell of a new car?

Finally in the rental car
Finally in the rental car

My ride for the next few day - a KIA whatever. Lots of plastic but it drives well
My ride for the next few day – a KIA whatever. Lots of plastic but it drives well. I was a bit confused about the toll system here. The last times I paid cash but some of the toll stations do not have an option to pay cash. And I had next to no coins as well so I stopped at a gas station to get something to drink and coins. Just in case. Next both I put my coins a man who worked there told me the car has an I-PASS thing on the windshield. You can open and close it and decide if you want to pay with it or with your credit card or cash. Ok – good to know….
There was not too much traffic and I got into ‎⁨Fitchburg a bit after 18:00.

Fitchburg⁩

Had to bring the samples to two technicians waiting for them in the
Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg. They where happy and I was tired. Of course there where no room booked for me but I was too lazy to find something else so I checked in the Wyndham. Nice place next to a small mall. So no need to take the car to get some food. To tired to go to a restaurant that has some vegetarian options anyhow.

Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩

My room at the Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩
My room at the Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩

Mini Bar, Microwave, Coffee Maker and an Ice Cooler
Mini Bar, Microwave, Coffee Maker and a Ice Cooler – looks like I need that little ice cooler later!

Sink opposite of the bathroom
Sink opposite of the bathroom

The bathroom
The bathroom – no space for a sink there.

If you ever go to Fitchburg⁩ use my affiliate link and stay at the: Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg

Went over the street and scouted for some dinner options. Hmm took me the longest time in front of that fridge!
Fuck - which one?
Fuck – which one?

The choice for today. Hummus, Avocados, Bananas and Baguette. And - BEER!
The selection for today. Hummus, Avocados, Bananas and Baguette. And – BEER!

House of Cards in real :-(
House of Cards in real 🙁

Here you find day 2: 4 Days in the US – Day 2 From Fitchburg⁩ to Mukwonago
Here you find day 3: 4 Days in the US – Day 3 From Mukwonago to Libertyville

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