I made my way from Hoian, Vietnam to Jakarta, Indonesia. How I did that? That´s what I am wondering myself sometimes. 14 days, 4 countries, 4 money exchange rates and countless hotel beds later i find myself in the capital of indonesia – Jakarta.
My way started with a 7-day motorcycle adventure through middle- and south Vietnam. I spent this tour 24 hours a day “skin on skin” with my driver Ocean. We spent mostly 8 hours per day driving on winding roads through the mountains in the western part of the country. From there we made our way east to the coast and drove south along the coastline from Na Thrang until Ho Chi Minh City.
This tour gave me an unique view into Vietnamese culture and living. The easy rider days made it possible to crush into family homes as if it was the most natural thing in the world. 99% of all addressed people reacted extremely friendly to our requests. My tourguide explained short I would like to know more about Vietnamese culture. Within 30 seconds I sat in the middle of a family home involved in their daily business. I supported the processes of food preparation, childcare, rice planting, tea plucking, pig catching and learning english to highschool kids. The people were always interested in the same questions: “How old are you? Why are you travelling alone? How many kids do you have? Where is your husband?“
Very feely-touchy i was observed on all parts of my body. I got extraordinary attention from a local family having four daughters my age. They kissed me, opened my hair and redid it, controlled my fingernails, grabbed my boob, pulled my pants up and asked me about weight and size. Tho this kind of “getting to know each other” was new to me I had incredible much fun! Each family offered me a chair to sit on, fresh water to drink and they liked picking a fresh fruit from a tree to let me try new things. Proud I was supposed to hold babys or see the new TV. Even if we did not speak the same language we talked, laughed and ate.
Arriving in the south Ocean brought me to his village where i slept in his sister´s home. We took a handmade bamboo boat from the river to the ocean and back and saw fishermen practicing their traditional fishing. At night we were observed by village people who created a big circle of people around us. Kids with their big eyes and dirty clothes wanted to hold my hand and followed me on every step. Everybody wanted to give me food, believing a huge person like me does always have to eat in order not to starve. Finally we arrived in Ho Chi Minh happy having a real bed and no motorbike under me.
In Ho Chi Minh a new travel-buddy arrived and we explored the city together. Spontaneously we decided to do a Mekong Delta tour ending in Cambodia. And this is how I sat, faster then my brain could realize it, in Phnom Penh on a river talking to a monk about love and the differences between Europe and Asia. Only two days later, we took the 8 hour bus to Siem Reap, I arrived in Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is one of the places I was looking forward the most on my worldtrip. Finally I had the chance to see the awesome temples built in the 9th and 12th century. As this is an only-event I took a tourguide and a driver for 2 days. It is rainy season in Cambodia and the Monsun is visiting every day. Siem Reap, a tourist city is deserted. In the hotel it seems there are 5 staff members for each guest available. Food in a local restaurant is about 1$, the tourguide per day costs 15$. Cambodia is different from what I expected. The last 15 years without war let Cambodia expand and especially grow in infrastructure. Today Phnom Penh and Siem reap represent modern Asia. Very clean and compared to Vietnam – very organized. The scratches left from war are still present. As soon as you leave the modern highways and main roads you enter bumpy dirtroads flooded by monsun rain. Cambodia is a country I definitely want to travel to one more time. Next time I would like to see the countryside to see the “old” Cambodia before it fades.
Yesterday we took the bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok (11 hours) and flew from Bangkok to Jakarta. Again in a big city I am preparing for my next task: Meditation.