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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Winter 17/18 – The last Days in Pai

The BLACK HOUSE Sessions

Arno and Jason have rented a house a bit outside of Pai. The house is black – hence the name – you guessed it! Since there are so many musicians in Pai they invite some of them all the time to the house. They make some music videos and Arno posted them on facebook.
The interesting thing is the mix of different styles and ideas. I filmed a few of the videos. If you have time check them out here:
->Ramon & the Hot Gang de Pai – Chocolate Jesus
->Hot Club de Pai – Latcho Drom
->John Taney – Tennessee Whiskey
->Bamboo Tambourine – Belleville Rendezvous
->Saint James Infirmary
->Hot Club de Pai – Misrelu
->Gipsy Fish

There are MANY more videos up! Check out the music love!

The BLACK HOUSE Sessions: Kam Kamil with the Sound Guru
Kam Kamil with the Sound Guru

Mr. Guitar Jason and Arno on the bass
Mr. Guitar Jason and Arno on the bass

2 or 3 rehearsals and they where good to go
2 or 3 rehearsals and they where good to go

It was already getting quite hot in the afternoon
It was already getting quite hot in the afternoon

Charly Clerentine on the strings
Charly Clerentine on the strings

Lots of different styles on that balcony
Lots of different styles on that balcony

You never play alone
You never play alone

One more try?
One more try?

There we go
There we go

Norton makes sure the sound is right
Norton makes sure the sound is right

Look at this historical MacBook! Still working like a charm
Look at this historical MacBook! Still working like a charm

The smoke getting more dense day by day
The smoke getting more dense day by day

Ready for action! Camera - lets roll
Ready for action! Camera – lets roll

The big one with Alice Alouette and Wiriya Wiseatkun.
The big one with Alice Alouette & Oosamu Sakurai as well as the one and only Wiriya Wiseatkun

The interesting thing about the BLACK HOUSE Sessions is the mix of styles and people all the time
The interesting thing about the BLACK HOUSE Sessions is the mix of styles and people all the time

Florence and Sam
Florence and Sam

rehearsal for an outdoor video
Rehersal for a outdoor video

And after everything is recorded there is time for a beer and a smoke and of course we have to listen to the recordings as well
And after everything is recorded there is time for a beer and a smoke and of course we have to listen to the recordings as well

In other News

This cat!
This cat!

The yellow flower field
The yellow flower field

Rahel on her last day
Rahel on her last day before leaving Pai

Another sunset beer
Another sunset beer in my hammock

Looook
Looook

That is what we need! More fires!
That is what we need! More fires!

Good Morning Pai
Good Morning Pai

Warming up after a cool night
Warming up after a cool night

Khao Soi cashwe
Khao Soi cashew

Picnic at the River

On the way to the waterfall
On the way to the waterfall

Dee and Gerben are back in Pai. Of course, the monkey is with them and Dee’s brother with his girlfriend. The monkey loves to play in the fresh water so we went a few kilometers upstream for a picnic.

Gerben looks for the best picknick spot
Gerben looks for the best picnic spot

Dee with her brother and his girlfriend
Dee with her brother and his girlfriend

The monkey was so happy in the cold water
The monkey was so happy in the cold water

Back in Pai again

Just look at this happy face!!
Just look at this happy face!!

Finally Jose gets his hair done!
Finally Jose gets his hair done!

Maria is not so sure about it
Maria is not so sure about it

Hmmm - do I like it?
Hmmm – do I like it?

You can see the smoke in the valley
You can see the smoke in the valley

Heating up in the morning rays
Heating up in the morning rays

Morning shower
Morning shower

Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang

White is hiding inside my bed
White is hiding inside my bed

Does not look really comfy
Does not look really comfy

Sleep sleep sleep
Sleep sleep sleep

And more sleep
And more sleep

Best view? From the roof!
Best view? From the roof!

Chiang Mai

Dee and Gerben gave me a lift to CNX
Dee and Gerben gave me a lift to CNX

Look who I found in Chiang Mai!!
Look who I found in Chiang Mai!!

Last minute room - well not a lot to expect for that kind of money
Last minute room – well not a lot to expect for that kind of money

Dinner with friends
Dinner with friends

The next day - the guest house I booked in advance
The next day – the guest house I booked in advance

A bit better
A bit better

And a fan!
And a fan!

Comes at last with a private bathroom
Comes at last with a private bathroom

My birthday breakfast
My birthday breakfast

My little birthday party with Nattinee and Khemphirat
My little birthday party with Nattinee and Khemphirat

There is a new Bear in town
There is a new Bear in town

And it is snowy Weizen
And it is Snowy Weizen