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

Friendly reception

N 20°39'14.6'' E 105°04'01.5''
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    Day: 400


    Hòa Bình

    May Chau

    Latitude N:

    Longitude E:

    Daily kilometers:
    51 km

    Total kilometers:
    18,156 km

    As the crow flies:
    28 km

    Average speed:
    24 km/h

    Maximum speed:
    51.0 km/h

    Travel time:
    3:15 hrs.

    Soil condition:

    Maximum height:
    1.200 m

    Total altitude meters:
    54.835 m

    Altitude meters for the day:
    174 m

    05:33 h

    6:38 pm

    Temperature day max:

    Temperature day min:

    08:30 a.m.

    Arrival time:
    2:00 pm

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


Because Starlet cooked so badly yesterday, we forgo her breakfast and eat the rest of our bánh gai. At 8:30 a.m. we are on our bikes and leave the lonely guesthouse behind us. From here, the route is almost continuously downhill except for a few initial inclines. An exhilarating descent from an altitude of 1250 meters to a depth of 250 meters. When we arrive in the beautiful valley of Mai Chau, it is almost unbearably hot and humid. We feel like we’re in a steam bath. Surrounded by rainforest-covered mountains over a thousand meters high, we cycle along a lush green rice-grass valley whose beauty can hardly be surpassed. In the tranquil little town of Mai Chau, we enquire about the Nature Lodge, which we have again chosen on the Internet as our possible base camp for the next 10 days. “Can we help you?” ask a friendly Vietnamese man and his son, who stop next to us on their bikes as I study the map. “We’re looking for the Nature Lodge. Do you know where we can find it?” “Follow us,” they ask us with a laugh and speed ahead on their bikes. We leave the main road and turn onto a narrow concrete path. Clack, clack, clack. The dog trailer makes frightening noises. “Sounds like the floor pan is going to tear apart at any moment,” says Tanja. “I’m sure she’ll make it to the lodge,” I reply, happy to have made it this far without a bad repair stop. Our path leads us right through the rice fields, which glow in all shades of green. It’s hard to describe the feeling of gliding through with the bikes. Small streams or rivulets babble to the left and right to supply the seemingly endless sea of plants with the necessary water. As if we had landed in a fairytale world, we can watch from the saddle as women wade barefoot through the fields shimmering in the sun, behind which the mighty mountains stretch into the sky. Because they are either planting new rice sprouts, weeding or applying fertilizer to the young plants, their backs are bent. Although these people do hard work, they convey a contented, harmonious impression. “Fantastic!” I hear Tanja’s voice behind me. “Surreally beautiful to look at,” I reply and can’t get the laughter out of my face. “Look there!” I say, pointing to a group of rice farmers. You can recognize their typical Vietnamese conical hats in the sea of green. The Nón lá, made from palm leaves and rice straw, is considered a symbol of Vietnam and is mainly used as protection from the heavy rainfall, although it can also be used as a bowl to carry something. Sometimes we can also see people fanning themselves with their large rice hats. “Hello! Hello! Hello!” the children’s shouts ring out to us. We return their friendly greeting and wave to them incessantly.

“Watch out!” Tanja warns me as a small bridge made of rough bamboo canes crosses a dried-up stream bed in front of us. “Ha, ha, ha,” I laugh hilariously and ride my heavily laden bike over it. “This is it,” say the Vietnamese man and his son, who have shown us the way to the lodge. We thank the two of them, who explain that they have only just arrived in the village to recover from the stress of Hanoi. “Looks inviting,” says Tanja with a grin on her face. “Yes, if the price is right, we’ll stay,” I reply. As soon as we have put our bikes on the stands, some people from the small complex come towards us and greet us in a very friendly manner. When the owner, Manh Do, shows me his most beautiful room, from where I can enjoy a wonderful view of lush rice fields and thatched huts, I am thrilled. “Wouldn’t have expected something like this here in this remote location,” I say to Tanja. It doesn’t take long and we agree on the price for the next 10 days. “Oh, one more question,” I say, because I’d forgotten whether Ajaci is also accepted in our new home. “Can we take our dog into the room?” “Sure, we love dogs,” says Man Do…

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

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