- Buy bikes; feel like badasses.
- Pack all of our stuff on bikes (about 85 pounds worth – see here, here, and here), take off unsteadily from the hotel, and promptly fall over (me) from all the weight on my little 110cc engine. Comments from the crowd include: “Do you even know how to ride?” in perfect English. No longer feeling like a badass.
- Unpack bikes, figure out how much weight I can actually carry, and determine what to send home … and how to do so.
- Book another night in Saigon.
- Wake up with insane head colds – promptly ignore; first priority is shipping suitcase. Visit the post office, receive the ultimate packing job using almost an entire roll of tape (we clapped for our packer), and get 30 lbs. worth of gear successfully in the mail. ETA? 3 months, give or take, via sea. RIP video/filmmaking capabilities.
- Figure out active ingredient in cold medicine and visit pharmacy with said word scrawled on a scrap of paper. Procure meds, American-made. $1.
- Return to hotel to book another night so we can sleep off colds … hotel sold out. Forgo finding a room at a different Saigon hotel and decide to finally leave the city, taking our colds with us.
- Pack bikes, take 2; departure, take 2. Success!
- Head for Can Tho, 105 miles SW of Saigon. On the road: swerve, curse (me); dodge pedestrians walking on the side of the highway, curse (me); slam on brakes to avoid hitting a truck pulling out suddenly and slowly in front of me, curse profusely (me); see many ambulances along the way, want to cry (me).
- Fall short of Can Tho on account of furious rain and rapidly approaching nightfall. Take temporary shelter in the store of a good Samaritan who waved us inside. Call backup homestay (i.e. a Vietnamese B&B) to see if they can accommodate us – affirmative, thank the gods.
- Navigate flooded streets and hop on ferry (both motorbike firsts for us) to homestay on An Binh Island in the Mekong Delta. Find escort, who leads us down a >1ft.-wide dirt trail of mud and puddles … in the dark. Headlights on bike no longer working. Boatloads of unholy curses from me. Rain … again. Arrive soaking wet, exhausted, a little pissy (well…just me, again), triumphant. Badass status restored.
- STOP. Hot shower, wonderful dinner, sleep.
- Dawn, new day.
After spending some time on the Mekong on An Binh Island and in Can Tho (more on those later), we head to Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand tomorrow for some much needed rest and relaxation on the beach. Then, our journey north begins!
Peace, love, and happiness –