|We straddled two
motorbikes to Highway one, for quinze mille;
the toothless Viel Homme, preferred to
He stayed with us to stop
the bus, and negotiate the price.
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
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.
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.
"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.