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The Adventurer’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 15 Mar 2007

Location: Central Highlands, Vietnam

MapAnother amazing day on the back of a motorcylce! Ate fried rice with vegetables for breakfast (not my ideal kind of breakfast, but the options are limited--very limited). I'm really getting used to this Vietnamese coffee, and Nam always knew it was the first thing on my mind in the morning, ordering it for me the minute we'd get to the restaurant. We were on the road by 9 am--I know, getting some early starts, but also going to bed fairly early.

The day was filled with visiting more of the Cat too minorities, and the Yay minority. Long houses on stilts are in every minority village where the people meet for socializing, celebrating, relaxing, or talking. The homes are quite modest, built with bamboo, and straw on their roofs, though some have aluminum. I also had the chance to visit a couple of schools. The children go to school for about 2 hours a day where they learn math, history, social studies, art, music, though Nam didn't mention anything about the sciences and I forgot to ask. Even without, I'm not sure how they could fit all that in 2 hours a day, but I'm sure it's 1 or 2 subjects a day, and then they switch the next day. The schoolhouses are certainly not like any of the modern schools we know. One building with maybe 3 or 4 rooms, and some old wooden tables and chairs for the students to sit. The teacher has her desk at the front (also of wood) and a green chalkboard. The rooms are awfully hot and the heat quite stifling. The kids, however, are very cheerful, and play in the schoolyard when class is not in session. Most of them like to play soccer. Also, in some of the villages, it's apparent that some of the older adults sacrifice food so that the children can eat. One woman decided to show me the effect that starvation has on you--put me in kind of a somber mood. I didn't have any food to give, so I donated some money instead.

It was stifling hot today, so we stopped at another beautful waterfall for a very refreshing swim. I had the whole place to myself and truly enjoyed this.

We arrived at the next town (sorry, I don't know the name of it) just before dark where I checked into a nice hotel room. This one was very new and very clean, with a fan, a big room, and hot water (though in this heat, I'm happy to take a cold shower anyway). We ate another hearty beef noodle soup Vientamese style with some 333 beer to relax.

It was another awesome day, again with some breathtaking scenery (you'll have to wait for the pics). By this point, I've slowed down a bit with the pictures. Sometimes you just have to put the camera away and just take it all in. I have to admit, I was getting a bit tired of stopping at all these villages as it became so repetitive, but still fun and a chance to see other villagers. That feeling I described before though of riding on the back of a motorcycle through the countryside never went away the whole trip, and I would have spent more on it if I would have had the time (and the $$).

Our last full day would be tomorrow and included a visit to an orphanage, an electrical blackout, an amazing dinner, and a very unwelcome visitor at the end of the night...