Winter 17/18 – Back in Pai

The big question every year – how much more fucked up is the town. How many new buildings, how many new bungalow places and how many old places are gone. And I am surprised by the change every year. Some buildings do not even survive one year. And let’s not talk about businesses. In the daytime, I only care about the view from my bungalow of course. Still OK but was so much better a few years ago.
View from my bungalow - more empty bungalows over the field
View from my bungalow – more empty bungalows over the field

Guess I have to use the hammock this way. I see more green but less mountains
Guess I have to use the hammock this way. I see more green but less mountains.
Breakfast at Twin-Hut is still the same. I have coffee and a fruit salad every day.

White - still sleeping
White – still sleeping

Pai Walking Street

Rahel never used her new camera in the night so we went to walking street for a few shots.

Pai Thai Tapas
Pai Thai Tapas

Pai Crêpes
Pai Crêpes

The master at the wok
The master at the wok

A bit like a show kitchen
A bit like a show kitchen

But why not?
But why not?

Doing what they do best
Doing what they do best – every stall tries hard to get some biz. Some do better some not. There was a time when you could not walk in walking street in the main season. It was too crowded. Now you find days where not even the hawkers come out and sell something on the street.

Preparing jummy food
Preparing jummy food

Sure thing you have a Shushi guy
Sure thing you have a Shushi guy

Rolls and since a few years Potato Twist as well
Rolls and since a few years Potato Twist as well

We do not have the white ones
We do not have the white ones

And the fat street dogs waiting
And the fat street dogs waiting

Me need discount!
Me need discount!

Swiss perfection
Swiss perfection

He he
He he

Relax at the tables
Relax at the tables

Mojo Bar

The transformation from a Pizza Place to the new music hot spot in town. Mojo became my favorite music place for this winter trip. I sure hope it stays that way for long!

The best man at the drums
The best man at the drums

Stay cool
Stay cool

The Master
The Master

You are my pride and joy
You are my pride and joy

The second Bass Man
The second Bass Man

Supaporn "Boy" Sunti on guitar
Supaporn "Boy" Sunti on guitar

The Swedish house mafia
The Swedish house mafia

Other than that – my favorite food place is gone as well. Rent got so high that they could not make any biz anymore. That was the worst of news on this trip.

A new Khao Soy place
A new Khao Soy place

Still sleeping
Still sleeping

Breakfast at Twin Hut
Breakfast at Twin Hut

Time for a shower
Time for a shower

Clouds do make for better sunsets
Clouds do make for better sunsets

At THE walking street coffee place
At THE walking street coffee place

A few Days in Phố Châu

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

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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