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VietnamVietnam

Northern Winds

I am surrounded by white people and it's freaking me out a bit. I have left life as I know it. My kids have new teachers. My lovely apartment is empty. My vegetable lady is wondering where the hell I am. All I can say is that recently a strong ... read more

Rachel Holan

VietnamVietnam

Turning Vietnamese

I swear I get more Vietnamese every day. I think the reason I haven't written in a long time is not due to lack of weird things to write about, but that the oddities of a life in Viet Nam have just become the norm. Most mornings I wake up ... read more

Rachel Holan

VietnamVietnam

The Water Bottle Incident (Halong Bay, Vietnam)

After finally sorting out my visa problems, I decided I needed some relaxation.  I wanted to get out of Hanoi for a few days and go to nearby Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an icon of Vietnam’s beautiful scenery.  I had wanted to visit Halong Bay ever ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Hanoi Hustlin';

The backpacker district in Hanoi was situated in the Old Quarter, a maze of narrow streets, alleys and boulevards centered around a peaceful green lake.  In the evening young Vietnamese couples sat on benches along the water’s edge and watched the sun set over the peaceful water.  On the north ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

The Minsk Dies (The Middle of the Jungle, Vietnam)

The bike died three days later.  Actually, it died three times within three days, but each day I refused to give up on The Minsk.  I did all I could to bring her back to life, but my efforts were in vain.  I was putting band-aids on a corpse.  I’m ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

MIA in the DMZ (Somewhere in the De-Militarized Zone, Vietnam)

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Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Back to Civilization (Hoi An, Danang & Hue, Central Vietnam)

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Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

The Ho Chi Minh Trail (Near the Laos Border, Kom Tum -> Nham Duc, Central Vietnam)

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Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

A Mad Dash Across Vietnam (Dak Lak - Kom Tum, Central Highlands, Vietnam)

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Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Over the Hills and Far Away (Nha Trang to Dalat, Central Highlands, South Vietnam...june 2009?)

Day Three on the Road marked my departure from the tourist track. Most tourists travel through Vietnam on “Open Tour Bus Tickets”, allowing them to travel to the coastal cities on a pre-purchased ticket along a pre-determined route. But I had sampled the tourists track in Nha Trang, and I had no ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

A Rude Awakening

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Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Dispatch from Hanoi

Yes, yes, yes, I know – it has been a while since my last post. How cruel of me to inform you that I bought a motorcycle only to disappear for two weeks leaving you to wonder if I had perished on the side of the road, just another American ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Motorcycle Diaries, Day One (Late May, Saigon-->Mui Ne, Southern Vietnamese Coast)

Normal 0 Motorcycle Diaries, Part One Three Challenges - Challenge One - Challenge Two - Challenge Three I know what you are thinking.  Motorcycle Diaries? You mean like Che Guevara?  Haha, yes, cliché isn’t it?  Or should I say, cli-Ché?  (This cheesy joke is hereby patented by Mark Ayling).  Well, ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

The Minsk (Saigon)

Normal 0 I bought the bike within minutes of seeing it.  It was a piece of junk, and it suited my purposes perfectly.  It was an old Russian Minsk, a simple 125cc bike that has not changed in design since before World War Two.  Minsks are tough; they can drive ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Swingin' Through Saigon (Late May, Ho Chi Minh City [Saigon], Vietnam)

Normal 0 S Saigon - Economic powerhouse - The Vietnamese work ethic - Regional differences - The American War - "Motorcycle for Sale"... [Note: my camera temporarily broke, so I have no pictures for this one...keep reading anyways!] I entered Saigon by bus, snuck past the motorcycle taxis and tuk tuk ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Tomfoolery in the Mekong Delta (Vinh Long, Vietnam)

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Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Good Morning, Vietnam! (Kampot, Cambodia --> Can Tho, Vietnam, Late May)

Kampot – Vietnamese Drivers – Disticnt Culture – S. Vietnamese History – Fortunate Son     My Lonely Planet guidebook described Kampot as being a pleasant riverside town with “fine French architecture.” I now know that “fine French architecture” is a euphemistic phrase that really means, “There is absolutely nothing to ... read more

Mark Ayling

VietnamVietnam

Bring it on.

When the other moped hit us it didn't hurt much. Just a tap. It was the shock more than anything. As I yell out a loud obscenity I realize two things: 1. The small child on the back of that motorbike is in the class I just finished teaching. 2. ... read more

Rachel Holan

VietnamVietnam

A Nice Welcome Home

I went for a run this morning through the surrounding neighborhoods, and on turning a corner I got chased half-way down the street by a tiny lady trying to sell me cigarettes. It's my own fault though, as I was jogging through the Cheap Cigarette District. Oh how I love ... read more

Rachel Holan

VietnamVietnam

Thrill-Seekers Anonymous

Nothing could have possibly prepared me for the moment when I got milked by a four year old this morning. Nothing. What an oddly normal ending to a fantastically strange week. Today we learned about animals. As it was nearing the end of the hour, we roared like lions, flew ... read more

Rachel Holan

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