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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Can Gio from Saigon. National Holiday and these titles suck now.

          It seems like it’s impossible to be on time in Vietnam. Most people who go to Can Gio tend to travel in the wee morning hours to avoid the sun. Unfortunately, for me and my crew, we couldn’t get up early enough.

         Another Vietnamese National Holiday meant off days all around, meant that the roads in the morning would be jammed packed.

         By 9 o’clock we were seated at a table patiently awaiting service. I’ve been craving some pho for days. That didn’t work out because the restaurant was so busy. Customers were moaning and griping. People sat around without any service. The waiters acted like there was no urgency to take orders. We said F it and walked out and drove around until we found a random com tam place after many other places told us they ran out. The later breakfast hours in between lunch means it’s very difficult to actually find something of quality to eat.

         The Nha Be road was packed. When we reached the ferry, the entrance was relatively hassle free.
I was worried about the ride initially because locals tend to rush and cram without realizing who was there first. People packed into the lines and packed into the side compartment to await the ferry.
When you board the ferry, please be careful. Seriously, you have to watch out because the grooves don’t line up perfectly between the boat and the land. A wheel could easily get caught and wedged in the middle and then you’re done for. I took a little angle because my bike clearance isn’t the greatest.

          The ride across was peaceful. A vendor served ice cream, and Canh and I ate away at some mad delicious 7,000 Dong ice cream sandwiches. On the other side of Can Gio it’s a little bit tamer than Nha Be. The buildings aren’t as tall and there are a lot less people. Before the ferry could full dock, motorbike ignitions went off, and the roar of exhausts echoed across the ferry. I felt bad for the man behind me because my exhaust tip was pointed directly in his face.

          So we were off.

      What a spectacular journey. The scenery and landscape changed from small town to rice lands to mangroves. The road there was relatively smooth and open. But you have to be careful. Roads aren’t imperfect. A random rock could make your trip miserable. The cruise was amazing. I took my bike up to pretty dangerous speeds at times because I could. Writing this right now, I definitely want to go back and cruise that road and explore more of the area. The heat was intense though. My face was completely drenched with sweat behind my mask. Sun burns all around.

       When we got there, the market area was crowded, and there were new developments along the beach that weren’t there a year ago. I was kind of shocked to see how many people there were there. The group and I turned left in search of a place to park. When we thought we found one, it turned out that we were parked on sand. My bike quickly sank, and some random dude helped me. Then on the way out, I hit a deeper bed and my bike toppled over with me. I was stuck underneath with my knee wedged into the ground. Austin and Canh helped me up. The bike wouldn’t start. I started panicking. My knee was stinging like crazy. Then I freaked out because there wouldn’t be any mechanic down there that could help me. I would have had to get a cart and cart it back to Saigon. Who knows how much that would have cost me. Luckily, a random guy saw me trying to start the bike, and we spoke a little bit. Then as I spoke with him, I realized that I was starting the bike while it was in first gear. A quick shift over to N and some slight hesitation, yet it was still able to start. So we I said thank God, and we got out of there. We went back to the market area, bought some seafood, waited two hours for it, and ate away. Then we made record time heading back. It was damn hot. I drank like three cups of sugar cane. It was so hot and busy. Clearly, there’s a market for day tourism in Vietnam.

       After I crashed, I wasn’t really enjoying the trip. I knew something was wrong with the bike, aside from the brand new mirror that I just bought because earlier in the week somebody stole one of my mirrors. The ride back home wasn’t as pleasant because there were many little rocks on the road, way more than the road going there. We sipped Monkey Island because it was getting late. After taking my bike to my mechanic, he test drove it, and told me right away what was wrong, and we both agreed something was off with the bike. So I’m bike-less for a few days. The damage will be in the hundreds of dollars. The morning after I couldn’t lift my left arm above my head and my shoulder blade is incredibly sore.

      Sorry for the relatively condense and short entry, but I'm lingering in pain.

Oh, and I didn't record a single video because I forgot to bring batteries for my camera.

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