A Travellerspoint blog

Pleiku to KonTum

sunny 26 °C

a leisurely start to the day with a late breakfast and time spent saying goodbye to friends. Always never sure if this is the last time. Wonerful accepting hospitality.

Goodbye from Pleiku

Goodbye from Pleiku

Four of us bludged a lift of one of the friends of our guests. A nice change from the usual bus experience
A very pleasant drive. The road in this section of the country is now excellent. Took 8 years to construct. In some sections there are even signs banning the use of vehicle horns....and it seems to work. Should be applied to the whole country.
Not sure what was going on in Tra Huynh which is about half way to KonTum, but on every corner and intersection there were stationed and army and a police person. Only saw one vehicle pulled over. Not sure what was on.
A few years ago we witnessed the riot squad, army, police and anyone with a siren parade around KonTum in their vehicles as a show of strength. They also had big signs on the side saying we are against criminals. A very strange at times.
Went and visited a local orphanage to make contact with some past friends and then onto a very long and boring church service in another dialect.
Called in at a local noodle street place on the walk home , to have a simple but health meal.
Home to bed for early start tomorrow.
Local minorities church

Local minorities church

Simple but healthy and cheap

Simple but healthy and cheap

Posted by loup54 05:22 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Christmas Day 2015

sunny 25 °C

Most of the day spent at a village enjoying food, dancing and conversation. Was a motorfright ride of about an hour to get there. Only downside of the day was the presence of a police taking happy snaps & selfies of us visitors. All smiles and deceit - and for what? Just so they can say I am the boss. Usual power games. No uniforms, id etc. Thankfully the interactions with the village were so uplifting they countered the police presence. the dancers

the dancers

Friends enjoying the dancing

Friends enjoying the dancing

The youngest dancers - fantastic

The youngest dancers - fantastic

Preparing food for lepers too sick to move

Preparing food for lepers too sick to move

No matter the culture, the men gather for a d&m up the back

No matter the culture, the men gather for a d&m up the back

the cook

the cook

the community

the community

the village

the village

enjoyment of food and drink

enjoyment of food and drink

enjoying the local brew

enjoying the local brew

Our evening gathering was the usual 'poor' !!!! standard. Yum yum.
'another' feast

'another' feast

Posted by loup54 01:23 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Pleiku Dec 24

sunny 25 °C

Spent the morning with minority lepers who live close to the town. Much sharing of gifts, conversation, renewing past friendships. A very pleasant morning. Nurse & leper

Nurse & leper

Usual 'horrible' meal one submits to

Usual 'horrible' meal one submits to

Minority lepers

Minority lepers


Then had a delicious lunch with old friends.Delicious again

Delicious again


Attempted to visit a minority village in the afternoon but blocked by the local political police. This has happened to me in previous years. They play real power games, just for the heck of it. Seems to be more common the further one is from Saigon or Hanoi. Some of these political police treat minority villages like personal fiefdoms, doing little or nothing for the lepers, their education or living conditions.
Went to another village later in the afternoon with no problems. All very pleasant.
Headed 30km south for the evening to a minority Christmas church service. The concert was 2 hours and Church for 1 hour, all of which started 1 hour late. Not home till midnight. A great evening though of culture. The Catholics certainly encourage the minority culture of dancing and singing, including the sharing of a community meal at the end. All in the local dialect, so even my local Viet' friends could not follow. A wonderful evening.
Before the celebration

Before the celebration

Christmas celebration

Christmas celebration

Sharing a meal after Church

Sharing a meal after Church

Nurse friend enjoying brew

Nurse friend enjoying brew

Doctor friend enjoying brew

Doctor friend enjoying brew

Friend of a friend

Friend of a friend

Posted by loup54 00:15 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Oh the love of bus travel

Boarded the 5am, we will pick-u-up at 4.30am, bus at 5.50 am. Not bad for Vietnam. Waiting for the driver & assistant to finish their first packet of smokes for the day does drag on at times.
Luckily booked a seat. Middle on the bottom & 2 back from the smoking and spitting driver. The only moveable window is thankfully next to him.
The usual 'can supposedly lie down / sit-up' seat configuration. Works well I believe unless your 185cm like me. Seemed to be a lot of sleeping happy locals in their cubicle world.
Dozed on & off waking to some body part in agony from cramping
Stopped for fuel, relief and lunch. All the same spots I've been to over the last 10 years on the same journey
At the start of the journey the driver had no idea where I wanted to get off. By the end of the ride the whole bus was able to give me assistance. Compulsory friendship can be such a help at times.
First driver was a take no prisoners sort of guy. Anything moving in front was a challenge to be left behind. The usual playing chicken most Viet drivers indulge in, but he was bit excessive. He knew his way around the gear box though. A nice change. Unlike the second driver who was more respectful of other drivers but rather abusive of the gear box.
Is all good entertainment
Arrived on the edge of Plekiu to be greeted by my fellow traveller and local friend
Then searched bus storage for box of medicines sent yesterday. Local friend, after 10 mins searching, pipes up that she has already collected.
Bus driver not happy
Anyway off to feed the face etc etc
Usual 'horrible' meal one submits to

Usual 'horrible' meal one submits to

Posted by loup54 23:01 Comments (0)

pre departure

unclear travel detail

rain 18 °C

usual Viet' organisation. Details revealed at last moment. I think the bus for Plekiu leaves early sometime !!!

Posted by loup54 02:39 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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