The Ho Chi Minh road

We moved south on the Ho Chi Minh Road (an upgraded, 2 lane motorway somehow following the famous old Ho Chi Minh trail). We were advised this way would be much more scenic than the coastal route.

The end of the second riding day found us soaking wet (continuous rain!) in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

In the second picture, note the peasant in the far background who is using animal traction for agriculture, while the peasant in the center has upgraded to a lawn mower looking machine.

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Finally, she is here!

I can’t accurately describe in writing my feelings when opening the box. Switching the engine on felt probably the same way parents fell first heart beats of their new born child!

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The neighborhood

One day we decided to explore the nearby villages. Impressive off road capabilities for the scooter but too much dust in our shoes in the end.

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The Noibai Customs office

I arrived today at 8:30AM at the customs office in Noibai to clear the shipment. The amount of required paperwork was incredible. I had more than 100 pages of documents/invoices/receipts/insurances forms only for the temporary import of my personal motorbike. The level of incompetence and ignorance of the officers appeared to be at par with the number of stars and decorations on their uniforms. Half of them were playing solitaire, few more were checking facebook. The two guys who were actually working were reading my documents as if this was the first time ever in their lives seeing such papers. They began calling various supervisors, requesting clearances, checking regulations, manuals, books etc. At 11:30 everyone stopped working for 2 hrs for lunch break. After lunch, by 4PM I managed (with the aid of a Vietnamese translator) to advance through 3 different clerks. Business hours were until 5:30 but at 5:10 they gave the documents back asking to come back the following morning, as it was already too late.

Some people should not exist.

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The military museum

The military museum in Hanoi explains the struggle of the Vietnamese people against the Chinese, Japanese and French imperialists. Of special interest are various pieces of equipment captured during the war against the USA. We also saw there the famous T54 battle tank that crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon in 1975, thus ending the war.

Not pictured but also included is a WW2 era T34 used during ’70s conflict.

One interesting thing is that the war against China from 1979 is only briefly mentioned as “The North war” and not as “the war against China”, most likely to maintain good relationship with their neighbor.

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