Vietnam road trip: Saigon to Hanoi on a Honda Dream – Part 5
The road into the highlands became narrower, windier and more remote as we climbed. The smells changed along with the scenery – farming land in every direction or forest. There wasn’t a lot of traffic on the road except for the occasional herd of goats or cows. Beauty took it all in her stride charging the corners and peeling off the bends without struggling as the views grew increasing scenic over the forests and down to the fields below. I have become guilty of taking photos of her everywhere – Beauty in Saigon, Beauty at the beach, Beauty in the highlands…
Once we were on top of the range we drove through endless coffee plantations and towns with dirt as red as in outback Australia, chickens clucking around and old wooden houses. Some kids waved from their houses but most were too shy to come out and I didn’t stop long.
Just short of Di Linh, ravenous at 2pm, I stopped in one of these villages seeking food, and ordered from the inquiring lady in one of the shops the first Vietnamese food that came to my brain – pho (the Hanoi noodle dish).
The woman was delighted and produced the largest bowl of noodles I’d ever seen with two enormous chunks of meat for the cheapest price in Vietnam. She was completely taken with me and kept up endless conversation despite my knowledge of Vietnamese including only phrases such as “that was delicious” and “I’m full”, both of which I used when she paused in conversation. It didn’t seem to bother her I understoood nothing.
Later came gifts of tea, fried bananas, fresh bananas and a request I take her daughter to “Uc” (Australia), I assumed via Hanoi first.
From Di Linh a storm brewed overhead and I raced angry black clouds and thunder, and rogue bus drivers, until the stormy finally hit me 10km short of Dalat. I would have been soaked in seconds except for the raincoats I’d procured in Saigon before departure. Still it wasn’t quite the welcome I was looking for, but after about 179km and 5-6 hours on the road, Beauty and I arrived in the highlands town, wet, bedraggled and tired – but arrived nonetheless.
You can read the next installment of Jo’s adventure here