We were up bright and early to start our motorbike adventure. Cuong (nicknamed "Strong man" despite him being 5'1") had Kat on the back of his hefty bike, while Imy made her own way on a moped. It was perfect weather for a spot of motorbiking and we couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces. Cuong had promised to show us some of the more touristy things first, so we stopped off at Marble Mountain and explored the network of shrines and caves that form the mountain. It was pretty impressive, but without the breeze we were unbearably hot and headed back for the bikes sharpish.
We made our way to China Beach next, where we sat and took in the view, while Cuong had yet another cigarette. A quick trip up the Hoi Van Pass gave us some pretty amazing views of the coastline and we had a cracking iced coffee, but the incessant woman trying to sell us a load of crap got too much, so we carried on on our journey.
|Kat and Cuong|
|Bikes enjoying the scenery|
|Us enjoying the scenery|
After a little while, Cuong took us to a local joint for some lunch. You could tell it was local by the amount of bone and innards included in the meal. That said, it was good grub and we were set for our trip to the waterfall. We were so ready for a swim in the waterfall because it was a roaster of a day! Cuong, being the big brave strong man that he is, jumped in from the side, but scared for our safety, he isn't that we entered safely by climbing down. There was a lovely group of pissed Vietnamese trying to tempt us over with their beers, but we declined politely and swam about in the fresh-water pool, counting our lucky stars for bumping into Cuong.
Unfortunately, getting out of the pool wasn't as easy as getting in, and Imy found herself flopping about like a stranded seal, unable to heave her gut up the rock. The Vietnamese piss heads rolled around laughing at her display before gathering themselves enough to start taking photos.
|Locals getting on it|
Time was getting on a bit and we started to make our way to the small town that we'd be staying in. We passed through tiny villages, where kids came running up to us waving and shouting "hello". We stopped off in one of the tiny villages so Cuong could show us how they make rice wine. He had some business on the phone to attend to, and while he was doing that the locals gathered around us and had a good old laugh at our "bright red skin", which we saw as more of a healthy golden glow. Just as the circle of people was getting a bit to close for comfort, Cuong was finished and we were off again, this time riding into the sunset. The sunset brought with it a rain storm, so we donned plastic bags that they market as waterproof ponchos and raced to the hotel.
We arrived wet through, with wrinkly skin from the soaking. Dinner was a great success and Cuong got pissed as a fart off rice wine. Knackered from the day's events, we headed to bed early so we'd be ready for the next day of riding.
The Ho Chi Minh trail awaited us and within twenty minutes we found ourselves on the famous trail, not believing how beautiful the scenery could be. There were waterfalls everywhere and winding roads around mountains. We passed through tiny towns, where wooden houses were scattered around rice paddies and even more kids smiled and waved as we passed. At one point we came to a tunnel that was home to a herd of cows and we had to dodge around them to get through.
|Hubby and wifey|
|Strike a pose|
The trail hasn't been fully renovated yet, so a bit of off-road riding was in order. This was all fine and dandy until the heavens opened again, transforming the road into an ice rink. Slipping all over the shop, Cuong kept the pace slow and steady. To the great amusement of Imy, the weight of Kat and her bag was too much for Strong Man to handle, and in slow motion we fell to the side, bike and all. Scrambling to our feet, Imy had to help Cuong lift the bike and we hopped straight back on to try again, Cuong was mortified about the incident and kept saying that Imy was a better driver than he was and that he should let her lead the tours in future. (This was true).
|Second waterfall strong man took us to|
Finally we came to the end of the slippy stuff and were back on a proper road. We finished up driving through Hue, where Imy felt like a local, nipping through the other traffic on her moped. Cuong dropped us off at our hotel and we were gutted to see him go. We love Strong Man always and forever!!