Hallo Hallo!! Gooodbye Gooodbye!!

We are serenaded by the children running toward us as we pedal through the countryside “hallo hallo!! Gooodbye gooodbye!!” They break into a fit of giggles as we greet them and cruise on past, our hearts warm with the welcome we receive.  The women smile at us as they sit by the side of the road selling root vegetables and greens from their gardens; the men are busy cruising by on motos.  Our first week of cycling was a tough one in many ways, mostly because of the trucks and buses passing us the first few days on the busy roads, blowing their diesel exhaust and incredibly loud horns on the mountain roads.  We had some pretty intense climbs, and some of the accommodations were a bit seedy (were we an hourly rental or did we plan to sleep?  Sleep, thank you).  We were happy to get off the beaten path, but at times we felt a little too far off!  Our map was outdated as some of the towns had been relocated and renamed because of dams that had been built, and for 6 days we did not find anyone who spoke any English!  We used our pantomime skills and a phrase book (thanks Molly) and generally got what we needed, but we had plenty of unanswered questions.  We did a homestay with a White Thai Vietnamese family one night, which was a highlight for us.  We were welcomed into their home and given pads on bamboo mats to sleep on.  Experiencing the peaceful village life was a delight – the serenity was much needed.  We met a group of Vietnamese men who had cycled all the way from Saigon, and the oldest one was 90!  They were very interested in us and our bikes, and we were completely inspired by them.  We had a long way to go to get to the French hill town of Sapa, but we made it and are now in a cozy room with a fireplace (and supposedly a view, but we are socked in with fog up at 5000 ft).  The food choices here are great.  We had been craving some western food and now we are content.  Our Vietnamese visas run out at the end of the month, so in a few days we will get back on our bikes and cycle 20 miles downhill to the border and enter China.

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14 Responses to Hallo Hallo!! Gooodbye Gooodbye!!

  1. Amaya says:

    It’s wonderful to read about your enthusiastic first experiences in Vietnam. The adventure is truly off to an ‘adventurous’ start. Hope you’ll be able to stick to quiet roads and escape the traffic.
    Best
    Amaya

  2. Kathy T says:

    Hallo Hallo!!
    What great photos! Thanks for sharing the visuals as well as the commentary. I love the market photos, the bike men, the room at the homestay, the adorable Vietnamese girl and, of course, the mountain scenery is breathtaking. And the hand drawn map is great! What an adventure for a lifetime. Were you able to have a Thanksgiving meal? 🙂 You probably burned off enough calories for my entire meal in one ride!
    Can’t wait to see and hear more! Be safe!

    xoxo Goodbye Goodbye!!

  3. Susan says:

    so much fun to see your blog and fabulous pictures. what an adventure. Halong bay is amazing. Love Susan

  4. Angie says:

    Hi Dan and Judy-

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving! I bet you are thankful for wide, quiet roads, padded seats and soft beds to land in at the end of the riding days. The trip looks like so much fun! I have heard great things about Hanoi, and would love to go there someday. Didn’t realize you were heading to China next. That will be another adventure.

    Lots of love,
    Angie, Shane, Addie and Winnie (who’s freezing his butt off in Germany right now 🙂

  5. Karons says:

    Hi, Friends! Your photos are sumptuous. Sounds like Vietnam was a fantastic phase one of your journey. The smiling faces are so beautiful, village life looks mossy green and peaceful once you extricate yourselves from those busy roads. Hope China is just as welcoming for you, can’t wait to read more! In MN, happy faces as our college girl came home for Thanksgiving: sleeping, eating, walking, reading and seeing Harry Potter 7 were the big activities. In other words, you two are not missing a thing back in the States. We wish you happy days in the saddle. Lots of love! S,P,M&S

  6. Natasha & Timothy says:

    Hi guys! So enjoying the blog and pictures. Thanks for doing all the hard work and allowing us to live vicariously from the comfort of our couch!

    • djborden says:

      The comfort of your couch in your loft in your beautiful new house with a view! I am missing all of you and the studio, but get on my mat each morning. We are cycling down to the China border in a few hours. Judy

  7. Rudi says:

    And I thought our 1750 miles drive in tandem down to AZ was an adventure! You will have a wonderful program to present to groups. The photos are amazing.

  8. Lisa says:

    Oh my goodness Judy! This is such an adventure for you two. I’m extremely jealous and extremely looking forward to seeing you when you get back home to hear all of your stories. Good luck with the rest of your trip and be safe!

  9. Kathleen says:

    Dan and Judy, what a treat to have a moment to imagine being so far away: the warmth and humidity are palpable in some of your photos. Snowed a little here last night, but mostly melted now…Thanks for sharing your remarkable adventure. Love, Kathleen

  10. Hi Dan and Judy,
    This is Matt, whom you met in Hekou, China.
    Trying to load your website I had a little trouble. It seems that wordpress maybe be on the list of blocked websites in China.
    I was only able to get in after going through a proxy website

    I wanted to share with you how to do that, but I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see this message or not. Tried to find your email addresses on your blog so I could contact you directly, but couldn’t find them.

    Anyway, if you are able to view this, and you need a proxy server to use while in China to access blocked websites, I recommend this one:
    www dot hidefap dot com

    Matt

    • djborden says:

      Hi Matt,

      It was nice to hear from you. Indeed, WordPress is blocked, but I tried the proxy server you suggested, and we got on. Thanks. We’re in Jinghong now, just finishing the China portion of the trip. In a few days we get on a boat on the Mekong to Thailand, and hope to make it to Chaing Mai by Christmas.

      Hope you’re doing well, and thanks again for all your help in Hekou. It was just what we needed.

      Regards, Dan

  11. Rog (Raaaaaahg) says:

    Dan and Judy— Wow! Really enjoyed hearing about the first part of your trip and seeing the extraordinary photos. You haven’t posted in a while though. Hope all is well.
    We had 27 people at our house on Thanksgiving, three from China (Nanning and rural areas) but I missed you and would have preferred 29!
    Look forward to your next post. Love, Rog

  12. Karina says:

    Howdy, i read yur blkog from tine to tijme andd i owwn a similar one annd i wass
    just curious iif yoou gget a lot of spam comments? If so hoow
    do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you caan recommend?

    I geet sso muich lately it’s drivijg me mmad soo any help is vvery much appreciated.

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