May 5th Hanoi-Tuyen Quang, Vietnam

by - June 05, 2019

82 miles

We woke up at 7:30 a.m. and headed out to breakfast.  Then we walked to Style Motorbikes to get started on renting 2 motorbikes.  We also bought ponchos and better helmets than they provided.  After a bit of paperwork they took us out for a test drive on one of Hanoi's less busy roads.  We rented two Honda semi-automatics.  Then we walked back to the hostel to get our laundry and pack.  After strapping our bags to the back we were off.  First stop: gas station.  It was an absolute cluster fuck getting out of Hanoi.  Hundreds of motorbikes, cars, bicycles, and people all sharing roads with barely any light signals.  Everyone is honking at everyone.  Drivers come within inches of you.  A truck pulled out in front of us without even looking towards the oncoming traffic.  It was a tense 30 minutes.  We stopped for lunch at a food.  Then we stopped at a restaurant...terribly confusing menu only in Vietnamese.  Finally we found a busy restaurant with friendly staff.  We ate some fried rice and had locals taking pictures with us.  Once we got out of Hanoi it was awesome!  We spent the next 3 1/2 hours driving through the countryside and small towns.  We saw locals using half the blacktop to dry their rice and hay.  Traffic simply goes around them.  We saw tons of water buffalo.  We became the tourist attraction for some.  We looked over and a guy on a tour bus was taking our picture.  The only trouble we had was trying to pass semis on tiny roads and also to avoid the potholes.  We stopped in Tuyen Quang for the night.  We found a hotel and then walked around.  We ate some fast food fried chicken in a very nice mall and then went to the grocery store.  We took a nice stroll around a park and then went in for the night.  We are definitely experiencing some language barriers in Vietnam.  The hotel guy wanted to keep our passports and then me wanting a new hot pot turned into them trying to upgrade us to a bigger room.  It was a great first day of our Vietnam road trip.  Oh, and I have the worst tan lines now.

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