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E-bike expedition part 4 Vietnam - Online diary 2016-2017

Filming for TV – Not getting away

N 20°40'14.6'' E 105°04'01.5''
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    21.10.2016 until 28.10.2016

    Day: 483- 490


    Hòa Bình

    May Chau

    Latitude N:

    Longitude E:

    Total kilometers:
    20,012 km

    Soil condition:
    Asphalt / gravel

    Total altitude meters:
    54.661 m

    05:56 h – 05:59 h

    5:32 pm – 5:27 pm

    Temperature day max:

    Temperature day min:

(Photos of the diary entry can be found at the end of the text).


“Hello Tanja and Denis. Please join us,” says Hai, who turns up unexpectedly in Mai Chau. “This is Mr. Tien, the head of Vietnam’s largest television station,” he introduces us to a man of around 55 with dyed pitch-black hair, who only takes out his smartphone to greet us. As soon as we have taken our seats, Mr. Tien pulls out his phone again and films our every move without interruption. “Mr. Tien is very interested in your journey and wants to make a film about you. Are you interested?” asks Hai. After a brief exchange of ideas, Tanja and I agree that contacting the TV boss of the largest TV station in Vietnam makes sense for our future project. “We’d be happy to. When does Mr. Tien want to come?” we ask, because we had planned to finally continue our journey in two to three days at the latest. “Would Friday be fine with you?” “That’s in five days. Hm, I think we’ll stay here that long as we’re behind with our notes,” Tanja and I agree. “Okay, see you Friday then,” Mr. Tien asks Manager Ka to translate, as he unfortunately doesn’t speak a word of English.

“Will they even come?” I ask Tanja when there is still no film crew to be seen on Friday morning. No sooner have I closed my mouth than two heavy limousines roll into the driveway of the Nature Lodge. “They are actually here,” I am pleased to hear about Mr. Tien’s reliability. The film crew, consisting of Mr. Tien, two cameramen, a journalist and two drivers, greet us. The English-speaking journalist explains to us what is planned for today’s shoot. Then Manh Do and the film producer Hung join us with another cameraman. “Vietnamese Hollywood sends its regards,” I joke. As we have already had to deal with film crews at Mai Chau Lodge several times in the last few weeks, we are now experienced. “It’s strange what is supposed to be special when two Europeans have breakfast, talk, do yoga exercises, cycle through rice fields, help the farmers with the rice harvest or walk through a small local market. Everything is filmed. “The 20-minute report will be broadcast next Sunday,” assures Mr. Tien and thanks us profusely for our free cooperation. Whether it really makes sense to invest our energy in a Vietnamese TV documentary, we don’t know at this point. It also remains to be seen whether our involvement will help the planned e-bike elephant expedition. When I ask Hai when we will meet for our last meeting, he promises to come back to Mai Chau. “When?” I want to know, as we really want to set off at last. “I’ll be back from Ho Chi Minh in three days. I will then travel straight on to Mai Chau,” he promises. Again, we confirm the appointment because it would be absolutely counterproductive to give up shortly before the really important meeting just to finally get somewhere. “We’ll wait that long,” I promise.

On the way to our bungalow we meet Manh Do. “Thank you very much for your support during the shoot,” he says and shakes my hand. “You’re welcome.” “My wife Moon and I will be celebrating our move to Hanoi, the inauguration of our apartment there and our five years together this weekend. We would love to invite you.” “So we’d have to go to Hanoi again?” I ask. “Yes, it would be really great if you came to our party. You’re the only foreign guests.” Tanja and I look at each other. We just can’t get out of here, we think to ourselves. “We feel honored to be invited by you and are very happy to come,” Tanja replies. “When is your party?” I want to know. “The day after tomorrow morning.” “Then we would have to take the bus to Hanoi tomorrow afternoon, spend the night there and be with you on Sunday morning?” “Yes, that would be really great.” “We can do that,” I agree, even though I don’t have the slightest desire to sit in a bus for eight hours for a party, the drivers of which are almost all kamikazes due to their suicidal driving behavior. On the other hand, Manh Do behaved like a friend towards us. By attending his party, we can show him how much we appreciate him and that our long stay at his resort may be the beginning of a lasting friendship…

Here is the link to the TV broadcast:

If you would like to find out more about our adventures, you can find our books under this link.

The live coverage is supported by the companies Gesat GmbH: and roda computer GmbH The satellite telephone Explorer 300 from Gesat and the rugged notebook Pegasus RP9 from Roda are the pillars of the transmission. Pegasus RP9 from Roda are the pillars of the transmission.

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