(Motorbike diaries day 7)
Today did not get off to a good start really! Neither of us could get out of bed and hit snooze hundreds of times before eventually getting up at half 8ish…a lot later than the ambitious 7am we’d discussed the night before. We should arrive at Ba Be today but the route wasn’t straight forward it had rained heavily all last night was pouring when we set off and we were both worried about road conditions etc. But we took it slow and decided that we’d just see how it goes besides if we weren’t making good time we should just stop on the way and spend an extra day getting there we’d still have enough time. To start with the road quality seemed good anyway and we were making steady progress so things were looking up. Due to the fact it was pouring I didn’t want to get my phone out and check the way too many times. We now have clear responsibilities Joe is in charge of packing the stuff up after I attempted to do it once and it fell off after about 2k. He is also in charge of driving the bike. I am in charge of navigation and taking photos/gopro footage, and waving at the local kids who all seem happy to see us. And so far this has turned out to work really well. My trusted maps.me app normally doesn’t let me down.
Today however it turns out that they have recently just built a MASSIVE dam and flooded an entire valley, and the road we wanted to be on just happened to be right at the bottom of that lake, woops. But it was okay I had it all under control they appeared to be building a new road so we’d just go on that. Should be fine right? All of a sudden though the road conditions were bad worse than the mud from yesterday and I wasn’t happy to continue.
We talked about heading back and finding a major road but every time we re-routed it seemed to point us back in this direction and to make matters worse it was still raining! ALOT. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse and we were down the smallest muddiest back road in the whole of Vietnam we broke down. We knew sooner or later this was going to happen but lets just say we hadn’t envisioned it happening here. Now it gets a bit better. It stopped raining YEY!!! Thank God my patience was wearing thin with the map, Joe and Hettie the Honda. As I previously mentioned as well as being broken down we were lost and wet through! But all wasn’t bad a lovely local man came to help and even took Joe to a mechanics down the road to buy a part that he then fitted himself before coming to the conclusion that the bike needed to go to the mechanics. It has to be said that so far on our travels the Vietnamese people are the most friendly genuine people we have met no one spoke a word of english but they could quite clearly see our predicament and all rallied round to help, we got a really good sense of community spirt in this local town and in hindsight it was a blessing we were stuck there and not in one of the bigger cities.
In it went; we had to push up a massive hill down this dirt track and it was right in the middle of the school run so everyone was stopping to help and all the kids were shouting “hello” every two minutes! We felt like celebrities, lost, broken down celebrities but celebrities none the less! We got the bike fixed for £4 and were on our way once more.
We decided to stay put in the next town to recuperate from this mornings traumatic events, the next town was Na Hang, unfortunately for us this happened to be a bigger shit hole than the last place we stayed. We managed to get some good food after trying everywhere in the village and then got our heads down and set off early in the morning.
We had a few more minor navigational issues I think our road was still under this massive lake somewhere but we made it none the less. And we were so grateful, first impressions and Ba Be is beautiful. So lets enjoy the next 2 days!!!