Author Archives: emakordova

Vietnamese women

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Vietnamese women are  famous for their beautiful dark black hair and bright white skin. But it’s not only their look that makes these ladies so elegant. They are very peaceful and patient but at the same time they  prooved themselves like fearless wariors during the Vietnam war. They are very caring with their families  and never hesitate to work hard. It was a pleasure to watch them at work preparing silk fabric and designing my dress or making a meal, they always do their best.

Women from the hill tribes (Ktu, Se Dang, Ede) in central Vietnam work in extremely hard conditions plating tapioca or sweet corn on steep slopes of mountains. Mountain women from Sapa (north of Vietnam) are excellent wavers and there fabric is well-known all over south-east Asia. All these ladies of bronze skin in colorfull dress are charming they even spend all day working on never-ending muddy rice fields. They have our deep admiration although they still don’t have the status they deserve in Vietnamese sociaty.

lady from Saigon

my silk sleeping bag

women during Vietnam war.

dress with traditional round hat

“silk road”

that’s a beauty

traditional sapa dress

Hoa Mac Co….and a cobra for dinner!!!

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We’ve ridden about 250 km today from Kom-Tum to Buon Ma Thuon. We’ve practically spent all day on the road surrounded by never-ending black pepper plantations. They dry the seeds of pepper straight away on the edge of the road, the smell was very intense.

Black pepper bush

I felt like a giant fried steak at the end of the day. We pulled over to chill out a little bit. Uyen showed us some plant in the ditch. It’s called Hoa Mac Co…i’ve never seen anything like it before but it closes it’s leaves when you touch it. (you can have a look for a video below).

http://youtu.be/5T1yj9ozuxc

There is a story about a king that once met a beautiful girl in the mountains. He fell in a love with that girl and proposed to her. She was very shy so when he kissed her she shied away. The king went to the war and when he came back to the mountains the girl was dead. He couldn’t find her anywhere, her soul came to this “shy” tiny green plant. Uyen sung a song about this beautiful mountain girl, it was so sweet!!!!

“shy” flower Hoa Mac Co

We went for the strangest dinner in my life. Uyen found a restaurant for us where they only serve wild mountain animals. Honestly that place reminded me of a zoo garden more than any restaurant. There were turtles crawling on the floor of the kitchen, huge  snakes preserved in bottles of rice wine, a cook was just preparing some sort of big mouse for barbecue.

poor turtle……

In half an hour they brought an almost 3 m long cobra to the restaurant…actually the video below is self-explanatory.

http://youtu.be/v_l3ZAGl_ZU

They served the cobra as 6 different meals and they drained the blood into a bottle with vodka. All i know is that I was pretty sick of drinking whole blood vodka and any spiritual or mystical moment didn’t come up. Below is an explanation of how snake wine is made, we had both versions of the mixed but with vodka not wine. The video above is the actual snake we ate and drank.

Adrian drinking snake blood with vodka.

Uyen and Adrian enjoyin a cobra dinner.

snake delicacies

There are two varieties of snake wine:

  • Steeped: A large venomous snake can be placed into a glass jar of rice wine, sometimes with smaller snakes and medicinal herbs and left to steep for many months. The wine is drunk as a restorative in small shots or cups.
  • Mixed: Body fluids of snake are mixed into wine and consumed immediately in the form of a shot. Snake blood wine is prepared by slicing a snake along its belly and draining its blood directly into the drinking vessel filled with rice wine or grain alcohol. Snake bile wine is done through a similar method by using the contents of the gall bladder.

Hoi An

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By far the best we have seen so far. This amazing little city is the jewel of Vietnam and even being very very touristic is the most amazing place we have seen and we will definately be back to see it again as we only had 3 days here and that just wasn’t long enough.

Almost as soon as we entered Hoi An a huge smile grew on both of our face’s. The atmosphre and feeling you get when entering this little city is like no other we have ever experienced. And as soon as we entered and as if on que a genuinely nice Vietnames man named Uyen rode straight up to us on a motorbike and introduced himself as a guide and asked if we would like him to show us around. As usual we said no but he persisted a little and even followed us when we drove away which was extremely lucky for us as he is now a very good friend of ours. Almost everywhere you go in Asia you get people coming up to you trying there luck to get you to follow them somewhere for something.

Just 1 of the many busy streets that make up Hoi An

Anyway after talking to Uyen for about 5 minutes we decided he was genuine enough to help us find a hotel and wow did he what. He took us to an Amazing little hotel in a very quite neighbourhood just 5 minutes walk from the city centre. After checking into the hotel we sat down in the hotel’s cafe with Uyen and talked to him for a while. And even though it goes against everything we are doing here we decided to hire him to take us to Ho Chi Minh city(Saigon). Best decision we have made so far.

Uyen dropping us off at our hotel

My seat on Sophie has been killing me the last few days and Uyen took my seat back to his home town Da Nang and had it repaired with an extra 5cm of padding ohhhhh yehhhh that feels better. Anyway more about David later.

Hoi An is i think the best place in the world to have tailor made clothes made. I had 2 suits made and Ema Had a dress, a couple pairs pf pants and a top made and all at different tailors but after we got all our clothes back we wished we’d had them all made at the 1 place that was the best. It was also the smallest place we went to called Nhat Lan, Address: 2/2 Le Loi St, Hoi An. There was an amazing women there who sized us up and made all our clothes herself and i’m not kidding when i say she was amazing as all our other tailors we had to get our clothes adjusted at our first fitting then come back to make sure they were right the next day. But here when we went to our first fitting there were no adjustments they all fitted perfect first time.

A very very small amount of the different fabrics colors and patterns you can get clothes made from

1 of my new party suits and walking cane

Check out all the moolar 8,000,000VND
Yay i’m rich hahaha

There is also a huge number of amazing restaurants here but the best we went to was Morning Glory. We went there after meeting a really kool couple from New Zealand in another restaurant and they suggested we go there. It is owned by a Vietnamese lady who takes authentic street foods as well as her mother’s recipe’s and serves them here in a most amazing style. She has also published her own cookbook. There are no words for the tastes we had here so i will leave it at that and if you want to know more you will have to come and try it yourself, and we highly suggest you do!!!

My roast pork and brown rice dish at Morning Glory restaurant

Just 1 of the many amazing views from 1 of the many amazing restaurants in Hoi An

As well as the food the beach here is equally amazing but don’t go to the main beach with all the other tourists because just a short motorbike ride away is An Bang beach which is not near as crowded and much more private. With the warm water and the beach to ourselves we throughly enjoyed relaxing there for the day before going to our tailor’s for our fittings.

Ema enjoying a cocktail on the main beach

Check the reflection in my glasses

Lazy day at the beach

And at nighttime the city changes to an even more beautiful scene than in the day. With colourful lights lighting the streets and candles floating down the river.

Just 1 of the places that light up Hoi An at nighttime

Hue to Hoi An

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This is supposed to be 1 of the most amazing coastal roads in the world and well i agree when you can see the coast it is but unfortunatly you can only see the coast for about 15-30km of it which was kinda disappointing. But even with only that much i would still highly recommend it to any1 doin a similar mission to what we are doing.

Here you can see the road snaking it’s way up the mountain pass

As you can see a beautiful coastal road

4 Days on the Ho Chi Minh Trail

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Well we thought we could make it to Hue in 3 days but because of our great sense of direction it took 4.

Day 1

The first day we took the AH1(Vietnam’s state highway 1 and main north-south road) for about 60km to Thanh Hoa and oh my god what a shambles, it’s the worst road i have ever ridden on. After this 60km we took our first chance to go inland to the famous Ho Chi Minh trail and into the mountains. Oh yes what a change and great decision that was. The mounttain roads arn’t just better quality and less traffic than the AH1 but the scenery is absolutely breath taking.

Riding through the mountains with breath taking views all around us

This is just 1 side of the road

Because we spent so much time on the AH1, we only made it a little past Sao Vang where we found an amazing little hotel with a great cafe beside it. It was an open sided cafe with no walls and just a little bar but it did have a giant flat screen T.V with cable. And a few friendly locals who we smoked local tabacco with through a water bong(a piece of bamboo about a foot long with a cone piece halfway down it and filled with water). Also i remember when we first got there there was a power cut but we had been rained on for a few hours while we were riding and were just glad to be somewhere with a roof so didn’t care and headed straight to the cafe for a beer.

I’ve met Nguyen at the end of our hallway on a balcony. He didn’t speak any english . I’ve just pointed  at a bamboo platform where rice bread was drying, so he invited me to the local family to make my own rice bread, which was a great experience. A Vietnamese lady heated fuel in a metal pot and roasted a round rice sheet at the backyard of her house. It was nice and crispy and with sesame seeds tasted so good.

Making rice bread

Day 2

This day was the worst weather wise but the best scenic wise. It rained most of the day, plus we got lost….a lot. Also Ema had her first real crash today. And it was a head on crash too….litterally she rode head on into a cow…..yep that’s right a cow….Ok so it wasn’t really her fault there was this guy in front of her with basiclly a tree on the back of his bike, you couldn’t see shit in front of him and when he slowed down she pulled out to pass him and by the time she seen the cow it was to late. I saw the whole thing happen in slow motion bout a 100 metres back, it was awesome!!! The cow escaped unscathed and Ema just banged up her knee.

Ema’s battle wounds

This day we done quite well despite getting lost and spending most of the day riding round rice paddy’s looking for the actual Ho Chi Minh trail we actually covered quite a lot of ground and made it down to Duc Tho just below and inland from Vinh.

Day 3

I dont actually remember much bout this day except it was raining and shit. We got real lost this day and ended up 60km in the wrong direction. But we found some kool caves….at least we think they were kool by the time we got there they were closed and they wouldn’t let us in. We actually thought it was a resort and tried to ask if we could stay there the night cos it was getting late but they just laughed and told us to get out. So by the time we actually found a hotel it was pitch black and we had no lights so that was an interesting ride especially with all the fuckin mosquito’s and no visor on my helmut. We ended up having to ride behind a truck just so we could see using his headlights.

Just an amazing picture of a local mountain girl we thought you’s would like

Day 4

Well this wasn’t a bad day we actually made it to Hue but by the time we got there i was seriously ill(Dehydrated). It totally destroyed me and i spent the next 36hrs in bed not really moving but moaning a lot and the worst thing no english T.V. Last time i was in Hue 4 years ago i was also very sick but with food poisioning. Whats the fuckin chances aye 2 times in 1 city 4 years apart and i still don’t know whats there just the inside of 2 different hotel rooms.

HELP ME!!! I’m dieing