Fellow Missourian, Mark Twain: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness... Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"
  • Day262

    Hue, Vietnam

    February 23, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Hue is the former imperial capital of Vietnam and is thus very centered on the culture and lives of the Nguyen dynastic rulers. The "Imperial City" and "Forbidden City", sprawling albeit poorly preserved complexes, had several special exhibits in English about all aspects of life during the Nguyen's rule in the 19th-20th centuries.Read more

  • Day261

    Hai Van Pass, Vietnam

    February 22, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    This motorable oceanside mountain pass was featured by the TV series Top Gear for its allegedly challenging layout. After my day in the jungle two weeks ago, it was a breeze. There were very few places safe to stop and take pictures, unfortunately, so these will have to do! Included: what would have been an awesome picture, covered up by the elusive photographer's finger.Read more

  • Day260

    The Marble Mountains, Vietnam

    February 21, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    The Marble Mountains, made of limestone and, you guessed it, marble, are just a few minutes outside of downtown Danang. Home to Vietnam's largest pagoda, riddled with caves, and dotted with spectacular mountainside gompas, it was easy to spend a day exploring largest of the formations. As one ascends the seemingly endless chain of carved steps, chanted mantras echo through the mountain's corridors and swallows rush past your head. From the top, the city of Danang, the sea, and the neighboring peaks are easily visible.

    It is said by several former U.S. soldiers that the Vietcong optimistically established a military hospital in the caves of the Marble Mountains, which was purportedly within earshot of an American airfield, out of faith in the American's ignorance of the local terrain.
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  • Day259

    Hoi An, Vietnam

    February 20, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    The former port city of Hoi An was the center of the region's trade through the 16th century, with traders and captains frequenting the area from as distant as Portgual. As such, the physical and cultural influences that developed the its identity were numerous. A heavy Chinese influence with Japanese accents and a myriad of European and Indochine architecture made obvious why Hoi An was named a UNESCO Heritage Site.

    The city and its many ancestral roots are also a sort of focal point for food enthusiasts, with enough local "Hoi Anese" dishes, such as Cau Lau, to keep anyone stuffed.
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  • Day258

    My Son, Vietnam

    February 19, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    An hour west of Hoi An, the Cham ruins of My Son [pronounced: me son] sit tucked away in the foothills on the Annamite mountains. Between the third and thirteenth centuries, My Son served as the intellectual and spiritual center of the Cham era. They are not characteristic of other southeast Asian religious sites given the unique artistic inclinations and Hindu leanings of the Cham. Following French colonization, the ruins were restored. Their grandeur was short-lived, to the chagrin of archaeologists everywhere, for the Vietcong used My Son as a clandestine meeting point, which precipitated bombings from US forces. Bomb holes sporadically situated amongst ancient temples give the whole area a peculiar feel.Read more

  • Day256

    Kham Duc to Hoi An, Vietnam

    February 17, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Today was one of the more beautiful of the days on the road, with panoramic vistas, water buffalo, and glassy mountain lakes surprising me throughout the afternoon. It began as an upward climb, back and forth, through the eastern portion of the Annamite mountains. The overcast weather lingered, but I was fortunate that visibility wasn't much affected. Through the damp mountain air, I coupled the sights of the Ho Chi Minh trail with the sounds of 1960s classics and let my imagination wander. In doing so, I didn't stop to take as many pictures as I should have. Only after descending the innumerable hairpin turns did I stop to take pictures; which, of course, brought me the attention of local children looking to practice English, take selfies, and relentlessly ask if I had any sweets. Apparently the "don't take candy from strangers" concept is lost to the far east.

    When I arrived in Hoi An I came across a hostel with a $5 dorm, pretty standard for me this year. Yet, when I was shown my room, it was this private little cupboard. Feeling a bit like Harry Potter but my room is the attic above the stairs, not the closet below them.
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  • Day255

    Kham Duc, Vietnam

    February 16, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    From Pleiku I decided to double up on distance because of the Ho Chi Minh Trail's top class scenery. Riding all afternoon, I started on arid highland hills and ended after finishing a mountain pass. Cloud cover rode in, or, more accurately, I rode into fog, over the first half of the day. On the northern side of the pass the terrain became a dark green, wet mountainside. Despite the tropical appearance, it was freezing, which made check-in to my dive hotel a huge relief.Read more

  • Day253

    Chu Se, Vietnam

    February 14, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Where the bike broke down for two days in the middle of nowhere. Basically, the Vietnamese equivalent of Versailles, Missouri. No English was spoken for 50 hours. Shout out to Google Translate. A $50 setback on a new carburetor got me happily, albeit skeptically, back on the road and I made it to Pleiku within two hours.Read more

  • Day251

    Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam

    February 12, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    A busy hamlet turned city on the back of coffee revenue, Buon Ma Thuot is in no way a destination for the regular tourist. For the inexperienced photographer using a cheap Chinese cell phone camera, the city is not necessarily photogenic. Furthermore, there is little to no english infrastructure nor even a trace of nightlife... Yet it was a perfect place to incorporate oneself into the lifestyle of the local. A morning of chatting with a Vietnamese woman over coffee resulted in an afternoon of exploring with her two kids, sister, and nephew in the village of Ban Don. We later had dinner and drinks at their house after some solid neighborhood street soccer.

    Anyway, Buon Ma Thuot can be described as a series of cheap coffee breaks serviced by robusta beans from nearby farms, steet-side beers, waterfalls, and ethnic minority villages that give the city a highland identity much different from those of central Vietnam's coastal towns.
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  • Day251

    Thac Dray Sap, Vietnam

    February 12, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Now that I'm sufficiently off the tourist trail it's time to do as the locals do; namely, a day at the waterfalls theatrically gossiping about neighbors and roasting chickens and fish over open flames.Read more




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