Gentle Ninh Binh
Trip Start Jan 13, 2009
70Trip End May 17, 2009
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What a lovely few days in Ninh Binh. When I was the only one getting off the bus to Hanoi at 4:30 in the morning, I was wondering if perhaps this was a crazy idea and why I always seem to choose the road less travelled. The past few days have hardened my resolve to trust my instincts. I was getting tired of the tourist route and I have found that Vietnam has a much defined route. About 80% of the travelers I have met here are going north to south, following the Lonely Planet Guide to the letter. I am going in the opposite direction and am tired of the commercial stuff and wanted to see real Vietnamese people before I wrote this country off.
For three days I have been travelling the back country by bicycle - the pace is perfect, stopping for photos, to talk to the children who call to you or who just want to ride with you and seeing and feeling the slow pace of the rural life
Part of the fun of the last few days has been sharing it with Andrea - a 34 year old Dutch girl from a town I did a student exchange in when I was 9 years old (Arnhem). We have spent the last couple of days riding and exploring and sharing our lives and it has been really nice. Travelling this way and spending time with people from every corner of the world really reinforces the fact that we are all the same. Very few differences when you get beyond language and skin color and eye shape. As they say here every two minutes.....Same, Same, but different
Andrea is heading south to Hue tomorrow and I am heading north to Hanoi. It rained most of the day today and we still cycled many many miles through country lanes in the fine mist. By the time we got back tonight we were soaked to the skin and looking forward to a hot shower. The temperature has been very cool here so I hope that will change soon.
If you could see me now you would howl: the power is out - don't know why, it just goes out around here occasionally, so I have my headlamp on, a candle lit beside me, a bottle of orange fanta open, the balcony open to the street noises below and life feels very nice and comfortable.
I had planned to head to Halong Bay for a cruise but it will be weather permitting as the draw there is the beauty of the landscape so if it is wet and foggy that really negates the experience. I am also hoping to be able to kayak as part of my trip so will play it by ear.