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The Adventurer’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 17 Mar 2007

Location: Central Highlands, Vietnam

MapOk, so I'm getting behind on the blog. Not sure if it's laziness or having too much fun--maybe a bit of both. Anyway, going to shorten these a bit so I can catch up.

There were only 2 days left on the motorcycle tour and it was still going fantastically well. On our second last day we visited more minority villages, and took in more of the countryside along the way. Finally, we stopped at a market so I could buy some things to take to the orphanage. This visit was my highlight of the day. It is an orphanage run by a Catholic charity. They had kids of all ages from babies to teenagers, though I didn't get to meet any of the ones who were in school. The woman and her husband who run the orphanage were very friendly and the lady did speak some English. We started with some basic introductions, and I gave the soccer balls, jump ropes, clothes, and a whole bunch of pens for the schoolwork.

Then the woman took me up to the playroom where all the small children were. It's amazing how much their faces light up at the sight of just one visitor. You'd think they'd get bored of all these foreigners coming to visit. Nope. And when I passed out the toys, you'd have thought I gave them a million dollars. I don't know how to describe this moment. These are children who don't have parents, and many of them aren't old enough to realize what that means. Some children have only one parent, who is unable to take care of them, hence they are in the orphanage, and some of them are handicapped. Tugs at the heart strings, I've gotta say. I was told that many foreigners come to adopt children from here, Europeans and North Americans. The woman took me down to the rooms where they slept, they all sleep in a common room with several beds inside. The kids who are old enough love talking to you, and would play with you and talk to you morning, noon, and night if they had the chance.

After the orphanage, we went off to our last destination before ending the tour, what is called Dalat #2, a new tourist area high in a mountain park that they started developing just over a year ago. The hotel we stayed at was very nice, and clean. We arrived just in time too, as it started pouring buckets of rain. We settled in and then the power went out. It was dark by this time, so we were using candles. The host still managed to cook us up a fine meal of wild deer mixed with vegetables, rice, and cucumbers--eaten by candlelight with the roaring thunder outside--and a beer. Called it an early night and I went to read (the power back on by now) before going to bed. Had to go to the bathroom, and as I was going, I noticed something very big and disgusting, a giant cockroach! This thing was so ugly. Twice the size of my thumb in thickness and length. I shut the door and locked it in until the morning--using the bathroom out in the lobby. They sprayed and killed it the next morning. I mean it, I hate those things!

Next day we drove all the way to the coast again, where I would catch the bus to my next destination. We stopped at this roadside cafe where I enjoyed drinking sugarcane juice while lying in a hammock, surrounded by fields and trees, the sun beating down. This was the greatest feeling. I could have stayed there all day. And sugar cane juice is excellent--you must try! Got into town by late afternoon (don't know the name of the town--sorry). Went for dinner, walked around a bit, and then hopped on my bus by 7:30--next destination--Mui Ne beach resort.