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

Food dog

N 18°03'50.7'' E 105°49'22.6''
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    25.11.2016 until 26.11.2016

    Day: 518 – 519


    Hà Tĩnh

    Đồng Tuần

    Latitude N:

    Longitude E:

    Daily kilometers:
    76 km

    Total kilometers:
    20,868 km

    As the crow flies:
    67 km

    Average speed:
    24.6 km

    Maximum speed:
    45 km

    Travel time:
    3.02 hrs.

    Soil condition:

    Maximum height:
    50 m

    Total altitude meters:
    57.323 m

    Altitude meters for the day:
    318 m

    06:07 a.m. – 06:08 a.m.

    5:19 pm

    Temperature day max:

    Temperature day min:
    17° C

    9:00 a.m.

    Arrival time:
    3:00 p.m.

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


Although it is still pouring with rain, we decide to set off. We have breakfast one last time in the uncomfortable dining hall. As always, the only guests. Then we load up our bikes and set off. As soon as the first few kilometers are behind us, the weather gods have decided to drop enough rain on the wet, maltreated land. In some regions of Vietnam, there have already been five severe floods in which residents have lost their livelihoods. So far we have been very lucky in this respect and have been spared.

Today, too, we hardly have to climb any altitude. The Ho Chi Minh Highway leads through a lovely, unspectacular landscape. Large harvested rice fields, plowed by farmers with their water buffaloes, border the asphalt strip to the left and right. As there is still not the slightest chance of sunshine due to the cloudy skies, temperatures will be a maximum of 19 degrees. Perfect for us cyclists. “Shall we take a short break there on the bridge?” calls Tanja. “Sure,” I reply. We drink a soy milk and eat Cu Do. The specialty of Ha Tinh province is peanuts in a mixture of honey, sugar, syrup and ginger between two rice crackers. I’m just about to bite into the sticky, hard specialty when a loudly roaring moped rider follows a moped in front. About two hundred meters further on, they both stop. The pursuer jumps off his scooter and rushes towards the other rider, who is just putting his motorcycle on the stand. “What’s going on?” asks Tanja. “The tall one, in his blue raincoat, is undoubtedly a foreigner,” I say. “I wonder why the foreigner is so aggressive?” “It’s all clear to me now,” I reply seconds later when I realize that the Vietnamese has three dogs on the carrier. “A dog dealer,” Tanja agrees with me. “That’s right. I’ll go and have a look from close up.” “Don’t interfere with anything,” warns Tanja.

I’ll buy the dogs from you,” says the young European and hands the dog dealer 200,000 dong (€8.50). The Vietnamese man replies with an ugly laugh. “How much do you want for a dog?” asks the foreigner. “Do you know what he’s saying?” he asks me after the Vietnamese man has let out a torrent of words. “First of all, I think your campaign is great. Thank you for that,” I reply and say that I always understand the number six. “You mean he wants 600,000 dong?” “Maybe, although I think a dog dealer like that gets a lot more for his animals.” “Okay, I’ll give you 600,000 dong,” the dog rescuer offers the dealer. “Ha, ha, ha,” he replies, shaking his head. The man in his blue raincoat becomes increasingly aggressive. I can understand him, because I know that the dogs are often brutally beaten or put in a sack, maltreated with electric shocks or stabbed with a knife and then bled to death. The reason for this brutal method of killing lies in the human taste, because this torture causes the creature to release adrenaline, which supposedly makes its meat taste better. According to animal welfare organizations, 20 million dogs are slaughtered for consumption every year in China alone and 5 million in Vietnam.

Link to: Dog theft, tortured for better taste and vigilante justice

“I’ll give you 600,000 dong (€25) for a dog,” the tourist insists. “2 million (84,- €) for a dog”, we understand the dealer. Before I can say anything, the European leaves the man scolding loudly, gets on his motorcycle and speeds off. The dog dealer also gets on his buck. Before he roars off, he turns around and gives me a condescending look. I look after the two of them and wonder whether it would have been a good idea to throw money together with the foreigner to buy freedom for at least one dog. But what good would that do? We can’t take another dog with us and if we were to release him here, he would most likely be quick prey for the dealer. The average income in Vietnam is around 2.4 million dong per month. (105,- US$). If a dog brings in 2 million dong, the chance of freedom is vanishingly small. Dejected, I run back to Tanja to tell her about the foreigner’s failed dog purchase.

It’s raining again. The roads are slippery. I’m still stuck in my thoughts and ask myself, with all the suffering that is currently happening in this world, what the individual can do to reduce or even stop it. Only in the corner of my eye do I notice a large shadow shooting towards me from the hill next to me like a rocket. Just in time, I take a swerve to the left. In the rear-view mirror I see Tanja slamming on the brakes and coming to a halt in time. A moped skids onto the road in front of her, towing a three-meter-long trailer on which a mountain of 15-meter-long bamboo trees is lashed. A young Vietnamese man is hanging from the bizarre monster, trying to brake the heavy load with his bare feet. The crazy train rattles along the Ho Chi Minh Highway. The moped rider and his brakeman screech with laughter as they continue their breakneck ride in the opposite lane and a truck thunders past, honking loudly. Lucky not to have passed the spot a second later, and lucky that Tanja wasn’t there a second earlier.

“That must be it!” Tanja draws my attention to the house where you can obviously spend the night. I look at my GPS. We are actually standing in front of the truckers’ accommodation that the Australian cyclist Paul had mentioned. We are allowed to stay, even though the owner is terrified of dogs. For 300,000 dong (€12.67) we get a simple room on the second floor. The owners are unfriendly, don’t help us carry our equipment and are perfectly suited to the steady rain that starts again. The room is dark, clammy and cold. We eat soup in the only roadside restaurant. Although we asked them not to add flavor enhancers, I spend a nasty night. Later we find out that the Vietnamese cook with spice mixtures in which the manufacturer has already added plenty of flavor enhancers (glutamate). “I’m sorry,” apologizes the cook the next morning. “I didn’t know that the spice mixes contained glutamate.” Because it is still raining terribly and the weather forecast for tomorrow promises a slight improvement, we decide to stay in the uncomfortable dwelling for one more night in order to sit out the monsoon rain at least for tomorrow…

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

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