Oct 172009
Magic Bridges

Vietnam has, in many ways, kicked my butt. It has also, incidentally, grabbed my butt. Despite all the stresses of traveling in this country, though, I declare that Vietnam is my favorite country that I have been in so far this trip. Why? Because it has BACKBONE. It is pulsingly alive with its own culture and with a fire to keep on rising.

Now, praise be to [...Read More!]

Oct 162009
Dealing With Periods During Hardcore Traveling

Men and folks uncomfortable with womanly body issues: Skip this post. Everyone else, keep reading because at some point you’ll need these tips, especially if you’re traveling in the Developing World. (Former students, don’t even start to freak out about this article because I have heard enough graphic period emergency details from you to last a lifetime– normally on the day you’re scheduled to take a big test!)

If you [...Read More!]

Oct 152009
The Hot Woman Fondle-Rob of Nha Trang

Let’s continue this groping theme for one more article, shall we? This time with a gender role flip!

Carey, a New Zealander who has been traveling the world for many months, sauntered home to his Nha Trang hotel late the other night. He had just had a riotously fun evening with friends at a beach cafe, and was ready for sleep.

Suddenly, a sexy Vietnamese woman blocked his path.

“Hello,” she said, [...Read More!]

Oct 142009
Being Groped on a Moving Motorcycle: Central Highlands, Part 8

Well. I hope you all have been reading parts one through seven of this Central Highlands motorcycle saga, because that context is important to understand the full dimensions of what happened next.

It was the evening of day three of Lulu and my four days on a motorcycle across Vietnam. I had just cried from exhaustion after traipsing through four jungle waterfalls by the border with Cambodia, and Lulu was [...Read More!]

Oct 142009
Central Highlands 7: Fury and Waterfalls

This is the point of the four day motorcycle ride through Vietnam’s Central Highlands (see my expression to the right) where things started to go downhill.

For hours, Lulu and I drove deeper and deeper into the Vietnamese jungle, towards the famed four waterfalls. The day wore on and the sun pounded down. Lulu pointed, as we drove, to a clearing in the thick green. “Cambodia just over there,” [...Read More!]

Oct 142009
Central Highlands 6: Granite Work, Paprika, and Pepper

From Lak Lac, our motorcycle purred Northwest, towards the Vietnamese border with Cambodia. We were getting deep into the countryside, headed steadily towards the jungle and waterfall-filled Yok Don National Park.

One of the most touching moments of the trip occurred as we pulled over on a mountain shoulder near a towering heap of granite blocks. A lone man swung a weighty hammer over and over in the sun, and [...Read More!]

Oct 142009
Central Highlands 5: Lak Lac

“You want do homestay for first night?” Lulu asked as we wound down the mountain road. We had left Dalat at eight in the morning, and it was now five pm. My motorcycle-sore rear and I said simultaneously, “Any bed is fine!”

On the edge of a mountain we pulled over and Lulu pointed to a sparkle amid the green far below. “Lak Lac down there,” he said. [...Read More!]

Oct 132009
Dragonfruit, Road Hellos, and Homework Toiletpaper

The road wove on through Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Inside the misty blue plastic bag strapped atop our backpacks, I could vaguely make out a spiny magenta shape. What was it? Lulu stopped the motorcycle at a mountain cafe and pulled it out, wiping the condensation from its plastic cage: DRAGONFRUIT.

How is this fruit not the rockstar of all food in all the world? It is ravishingly sexy [...Read More!]

Oct 132009
Central Highlands 3: Ethnic Minority Villages

In the Central Highlands of Vietnam, there are thirty-one different “Ethnic Minority” villages. In the Americas, we refer to these groups as Indigenous Peoples. Each of these Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam speaks its own language, has its own customs. Each has very little to do with Vietnamese country or city life.

As Lulu put it, “Ethnic Minority don’t like Vietnamese to be near. If Vietnamese move close, Ethnic Minority [...Read More!]

Oct 132009
Vietnam’s Central Highlands 2: Greenly GORGEOUS

For the second half of the second day on the road, Lulu and I wove slowly up, up, up and through the lush green mountains of Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

To clarify, I cannot drive a car, and I sure as heck cannot drive a motorcycle. I was on the back of Lulu’s machine, letting the expert of nine years (and over 150 such journeys) do the put-putting for both of us. [...Read More!]