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

In paradise and tormented by thousands of malaria mosquitoes

N 12°24'43.9'' E 108°10'59.1''
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    Day: 601


    Đắk Lắk

    Lien Son

    Latitude N:

    Longitude E:

    Total kilometers:
    22,323 km

    Soil condition:

    Total altitude meters:
    65.000 m

    06:07 am

    5:54 pm

    Temperature day max:

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


“I didn’t sleep well,” I moan in the morning. As Tanja is still tired, I leave the room with Ajaci. Outside, a beautiful, awakening nature awaits me. Tropical birds chirp in competition. The first rays of sunshine make their way through the dense branches and leaves of the numerous palm trees, plants and trees. Two traditional longhouses, whose natural construction fits perfectly into the park, seem to be waking up like living creatures. “Come on, let’s go to the lake,” I ask Ajaci, who takes this as a joyful opportunity to shoot back and forth like greased lightning. Carefully, enjoying the fresh morning air, I walk along the narrow stone paths through a paradise. Exotic flowers bloom everywhere. Ajaci and I pass the little house where the women wash the resort’s laundry. “Good morning!” I call out. “Good morning!” they reply, giggling and enjoying the big white dog.

The Lak Ho (Lak Lake) is just waking up. Fishermen row their narrow boats across the shiny surface in the sunlight. Some of them lay out their nets or pull them straight into the boat, while others hit the surface of the water hard with their paddle to drive the fish into their nets. I sit down with Ajaci at the edge of the lake and enjoy the early rays of sunshine that are increasingly penetrating the morning mist. On the way back to our run-down accommodation, I take a look at all the bungalows. Some of them don’t look quite so gloomy because they are either built directly on the lake or are not in the shade of a jungle tree. “We’re going to move,” I say to Ajaci as I go to the reception desk. The girls are in a much better mood today than last night. But maybe it’s also due to my own state of mind. I’m still feeling quite tired after yesterday’s exertions, but I’m in a great mood. “You’re welcome to move,” a young woman offers me. “Just choose a bungalow,” I understand. When I am able to negotiate the price down from 750,000 dong (€30.47) to 550,000 dong (€22.35), I walk through the park in an even better mood, which seems much nicer and nicer today than it did last night. “We can choose another room,” I say to Tanja when we get back to our dump. “As you wish, my darling,” she replies cheerfully. A little later, Tanja, Ajaci and I wander through the grounds again to find a suitable place to stay for the next few days. Unfortunately, the internet connection is poor or non-existent in 90 percent of all bungalows. The routers are ancient, defective or dangle from rusted screws. “Man, the manager here seems to be a real pipe,” I judge. “But he gave you a considerable discount,” Tanja reminds me not to be so hard on him. In the end, we find a brighter room where everything seems to fit. “I think I can write down our stories here,” I say, satisfied to have found a place to work for the next few days.

The breakfast is comparable to the condition of the huts. “It’s just as well we didn’t stay upstairs in the villa. As both facilities belong to the government, the standard is probably just as bad. Above all, we would have had to drive here from up there every day to eat,” says Tanja. In that case, we simply wouldn’t have stayed,’ I reply and order a second cup of coffee. “But you have to pay extra for them,” demands the unfriendly waitress in an extremely rude tone. “Firstly, we don’t pay extra for the coffee because that’s not usual in Vietnam, secondly, we already pay enough anyway and thirdly, they can be a bit nicer to their guests,” I reply in English. The woman snorts at us even louder than before. When I remind her again to be a little more sociable with her guests, she simply storms off. “That’s enough,” I swear, storm after her and forbid her to treat us as if we were naughty children. “Sorry,” she suddenly apologizes, but won’t be serving us or speaking to us for the next few days. Since we only decided to stay this morning, we’ll overlook the incident and not let it spoil our day.

In the evening, a tropical shower unleashes over the resort. The consequences are fatal. Millions of mosquitoes leave the swampy lake shore and the wetlands in the park. Black swarms buzz around looking for the light. This is how they find our room, in front of whose entrance a yellowed light bulb hangs in its rusty socket, like a lighthouse signaling the insects to the port of refuge. After returning from the uncomfortable and huge dining hall, where we are usually the only guests, we carelessly open the door to the bungalow. A mistake with serious consequences, because even before the door closes, thousands of mosquitoes take the opportunity to buzz after us. “Look at the madness!” I shout, pointing at the countless mosquitoes. They hang from the ceiling and walls, making the dirty white look rather gray. “Can’t be true,” I grumble, grab a towel and set off on the hunt, even though the odds of eliminating her are rather against me. As if stung by a tarantula, I run through our room and grab the towel. Clap! clap! clap! it crashes against the wall. After three hours of hard work, the ground is covered with countless mosquito corpses. The constant walking back and forth smears them into a brown mass. Meanwhile, Tanja is working on a Facebook update and looks up from time to time. “Slowly becoming fewer,” she says. “Yes,” I reply, hurling my weapon against the wall again.

At 9 p.m., just as I’m about to stop my hunt, someone knocks on the partition wall to the other bungalow. Apparently we are not the only guests after all. “It’s a good thing the battle is already won,” I say, hanging my towel on the hook. Half an hour later, I have to take Ajaci out for his last round. We turn out all the lights. Then I stand in front of the door with the towel while Tanja quickly opens it when called. In a flinging motion, I let my towel whiz through the door slit to drive away the mosquitoes buzzing around the entrance. Then Ajaci and I jump into the humid night. “And what does it look like? Have many people come in?” I ask from outside. “I’m fine,” replies Tanja. In the beam of my headlamp, I discover a blanket of mosquitoes on the door. I look at it, stunned. Especially because I know that mosquitoes can transmit malaria in central Vietnam. “You won’t believe it. It’s all full here. Thousands! Hundreds of thousands!” I shout. Shaking my head, I walk into the woods with my dog so that he can empty himself. I illuminate every meter of the ground with my headlamp. This way I can see the reptiles, including nocturnal venomous snakes. As soon as something moves I call Ajaci back in time, because if he steps on one of the poisonous snakes it would be a real nightmare…

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