Magun's Compass
Learn from the Travel Experiences of Others

From Hoi An at dawn,

We straddled two motorbikes to Highway one, for quinze mille;
the toothless Viel Homme, preferred to speak French.

He stayed with us to stop the bus, and negotiate the price.

He wanted us to pay 40,000 dong, the caller wanted 100,000 each. We played disgusted, shocked, and disbelieving. The Vietnamese on the bus peered through the door with interest, and amusement.

The day was still young, another year had begun. We had time, the driver didn't. With other transport sure to pass, bargaining was in our favour. It's hard to read anything in their eyes, but we were adamant. We would pay 50,000, or no go.

"HAPPY NEW YEAR", rang the chorus from the girls at the front, as we squeezed ourselves to the rear -- between the wooden crates and the Indonesian-made truck-tyres, complete with inflated inner tubes.

Foreigners like to cycle Vietnam

"Why another picture of a cyclist in Vietnam?" You might well ask.

Well, the foreigner on the road gets a lot of attention from the locals.

His friend was at least a mile or two behind, but they wouldn't get lost as there was only one road South.

I don't know how many people actually make it to Kontum,
as it's not on the modern
Ho Chi Minh Trail.

It's not the journey that's arduous,
only the haggling.

After the turn off at Qui Nhon, the rice paddies, banana plants, and coconut groves become a thing of the past, as the overloaded bus twists slowly up into the Central Highlands.

The callers are tired, so they sprawl themselves out on the crates and tyres. How they can sleep with the ducks carrying on as they do, is beyond me. Then one of the callers slapped the wire basket; and shocked someone's future Canard a l'Orange into silence for a while.

From Russia With Love...

Asia Index

Nomadic Gatherings - Travels in Asia and Australia

Travel on trains and buses in Asia, then jump into cars with complete strangers in Australia and New Zealand as Michel introduces you to a collection of characters that bring Nomadic Gatherings to life.

If you can't afford to buy a copy of Nomadic Gatherings, the chapters are slowly being made available online - for free.

You may even decide that it really is worth having a hard copy in your hands; a useful read for those long bus journeys being written about, and for endless waits at ferry ports.

Nomadic Gatherings - Online Chapters.

Find out more about Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, The Middle East, and The Americas.
Magun's Compass

Originally Hosted on Geocities - in 1996

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