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Vietnam

leaving again

Re-returning to Vietnam – so new and so familiar

Traffic. Traffic is terrible in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It’s been about 14 months since I was here last and I swear it feels like traffic has gotten worse – or maybe I’ve just forgotten.

Amy has forgotten how to drive here. She rented a motorbike and drove out. 20 mintues later she was back – she wasn’t able to cross the roads in this chaotic city. Red lights are taken as suggestions. You must be constantly aware of your surroundings.

After less than 24hours we’re ready to leave this city.

Vietnam, the place where you can get a Pho for a dollar and a freshly made pineapple juice for 50 cents.

Da Nang. The pearl of Vietnam. Where the traffic police isn’t corrupt and where the streets are clean. Good food, good people, amazing beaches and weddings by the dozen. We’ve established ourselves, got upgraded to an appartment with two rooms and a kitchen. Life is good

I got on a motorbike for the first time in a year – shaky at first but I’m getting the hang of it again. Traffic is nowhere near as bad in HCMC but still – rush hour in the city center – not for everyone.

 

I’ve spent the first part of this post talking about traffic. It says something about the impact it leaves on you. But there are other things…

When you come here you’ll see everything from “hamburger bros” selling western style burgers to local places serving pipefish, ostrich, pork belly and other local delicacies. Where you can point at the fish while it’s still alive and you can make sure the food is fresh.

The place where you can get a Pho for a dollar and a freshly made pineapple juice for 50 cents.

An hour massage will set you back about $12.

Vietnam, where the toilet doubles as both the laundry room for the family, and where the dishes are washed for the guests. Where you learn some perspective about what hygiene is. In western culture we’re obssessed with cleanliness.

 

All of the above and many more things is why I love Vietnam. It’s like I feel at home here but it also feels like I’ve been away for a decade. It’s so vastly different from my home culture. When I’m driving on my motorbike with Amy on the back I’ve got a sensation of freedom and fear in equal parts. Of adventure and uncertainty.

 

Oh, how I’ve missed the joy of open-ended long term travelling. It’s good to be on the road again

 

What Were We Thinking (and other ramblings)

Lavender, France
From our trip to the lavender fields of France

A few months ago (who can remember exactly when), we decided to go on another trip.
I, Thor, wanted to see the rest of the world (south america and Antarctis). Both Amy and I wanted to visit friends and family.
At some point Amy has to have some continuity and get a career in Denmark and at some point we will make a family and then it’s hard to travel long-term.

Not now, though. Not now. Now it’s easy. Amy and I both quit our jobs and on a rainy day in August 2018 we took a plane to Vietnam. (And that answers the title question:))

We just came back from 10 days on Iceland – and what a blast!

Looking forward, at this point in time, we knew that we would be heading to Vietnam to plan our wedding July, 2019 and to visit Amy’s family. I’d be meeting her parents for the first time. Gasp!

We also knew we’d be going to Indonesia for a work opportunity.

Japan was on the itinerary to visit my, now, good friend JJ who was doing a sheep show there and my Niece, Tyra, who was doing half a year of study abroad on her asian studies degree

Finally, since this was also our honeymoon, we had (one-way) tickets to HawaiiUSA.

 

After this we’d be going to central America, Guatemala, South America, Antarctics. Possibly – plans change.

 

All this and home for christmas… or in january…

 

Keep looking back at this page. We’ll try to keep it updated. As well as on social media

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Also follow my pursuit of weight loss (sorry it’s in danish)

 

Thor and Amy!

Using the smugglers route to cross from Vietnam into China

In May 2016 I visited Lung Cu all the way up the most northern part of Vietnam but this is not what this story is about

After Lung Cu I thought it would be cool to see the border here. I’m drawn towards the border because I’m intrigued with the idea that a border to a country as closed as China would be completely unsupervised. I’ve always had this idea of a completely remote border, you know, without even a border control post where only shepherds roam somewhere deep in the mountains.

As I drove out the road the pavement suddenly stopped and before me was about 6 motorbikes and a tiny dirt path along the ridge of the mountain. It looked like something you would only want to walk and the direction took you straight towards China. This is it I guess – the border.

I could see pretty far ahead and it looked like at least a 15-minute walk down along a very muddy path before anything would change so I decided to opt against it. However, as I turned around a little bit I noticed a definite path going up the mountain, not towards China, so I figured it would be safe to go up there, at least for the view over the valley.

When I got up I saw several road marker stones with skulls on them all over the area. Skulls, just skulls. Frightening.

Thoughts of land mines and stuff like that popped up in my head and I was about to turn around. Enough is enough.

But when I was about to turn around I saw a shepherd with two cows on a definite path, albeit small, meaning that at least it would be safe, landmine wise – and so I continued towards him.

Around the corner I saw a paved road pop out in the middle of nowhere, Chinese signs and more skulls. I’m pretty sure this was the border. I walked up on the pavement, talked some with the farmer – who was Chinese! – and walked back to my bike.

On the way out, with mud all over my shoes, I got some concerned looks from locals who could only wonder what I’d been doing out there. I’ve heard from other people that the area is used for smugglers as well – which would make sense since it’s so easy and remote.