Paul Jefferyes

The name's Paul. I play guitar, I sing sometimes, I travel. This blog isn't about anything in particular, but it'll probably include adventure stories, bacon, and profanity. Want to zoom in on the map? Double click. Zoom out? Double right click.
  • Day1

    Byron Bay

    December 1, 2015 in Australia

    So after a long stint of not writing anything I check into a hostel down here for a little r&r after working on road trips for the last few months and meet a fellow traveler exploring the east coast on a bike after fucking cycling from Sweden to Istanbul then flying to Brisbane with his bike. I again get inspired to keep writing. He's blogged his trip (it's in Swedish mind you) Google search for Carlmannfors.Blogg.se

    His pro tip was to forget about the last things to write about and start afresh from today. I've let myself down a little and not blogged the entirety of my south East Asia trip be will have to get round to it when I finally get down to Adelaide and meet with Jack again! Miss that big guy!

    So anyways. Today, I decided to take a trio to byron bay to tick off the legendary hotspot in Australia. Turns out it's schoolies, so all the 18 year olds are out In force booking up all the hostel spots so I may not be able to stay in the same room tomorrow. Cest la vie.

    Check in though is at the yha at Cape Byron, easy car parking underground and a typical hostel kitchen, and the vibe is pretty good. There's karaoke I might go and join in on, persuaded Carl to come along, on the condition I sing. I'll get a free drink though so there's a win out of it.

    Back to real life... I'll make a promise to myself to keep doing this, it really only takes me 5 minutes if I put my mind to it!
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  • Day6

    The Thien Mu Temple

    April 24, 2015 in Vietnam

    This was a real treat, and we had no idea about this place before we found it.

    It was an interesting little spot on the map so I thought we should check it out, and the ride there next to the river was beautiful, I kept thinking we were going to miss the temple because I wasn't sure what to expect or if it was behind a few buildings but when we got there it was obvious, you couldn't miss it. Apparently, the pagoda that's built there is seven stories high and is the tallest religious building in Vietnam. And that's according to Wikipedia so there. Fact.

    The vibe within the temple grounds was really something else, I can't quite describe it very well, but something about the place just had a lot of energy. The monks were doing some chanting in the central temple behind the pagoda and were obviously devout and dedicated to their spirituality. I videoed a small clip of their sound and may have added a tiny bit of quiet beatboxing because these guys were tight and I can't help myself when I get in tune with things sometimes..

    The grounds were beautifully maintained and lovingly cared for, with a hundred bonzai style trees kept in the courtyard, I may have had a little hay fever that day because when I sneezed accidentally, Jack said he "saw" it land. I'm not sure if he heard it as well, but in his words "Middle of a temple and you just blow a torrent of snot all over the floor"
    So yeah, that was gross, and hopefully not too disrespectful. Sorry Buddha!

    Anyways, at the back was a prayer pedestal that we all put our incense into for good luck with our bikes and the onward journey.

    Now I know it sounds weird but there definitely was a powerful aura to the place, I couldn't put my finger on it but for some reason, it felt like the place was blessed, and when we walked around and came to the old Austin motor, it clicked.
    The car was beautiful, a classic, sky blue paint, and tucked away to the side of the main temple, it looked kind of out of place for Vietnam, like it should be in a Hollywood museum for Elvis, but it was under a roof parked on display as a relic here,
    There was a photo up on the side which explained why it was here, and then it hit me. This was the car in which Thich Quang Duc was driven to his self-immolation in Saigon in 1963 against the Diem regime. It was the first of a series of self-immolations by members of the Buddhist clergy in the country, which brought the plight of Buddhists to the attention of the international community, which is why I recognised the photo. I'd seen it before but hadn't thought to find it here. It was also the rage against the machine album cover! The devotion of that man had a huge impact on the world. I've been doing a little more research on it and even John F. Kennedy at the time said in reference to that photograph: "No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one."

    A beautiful and historic place that I definitely recommend you go to if you ever get the chance to head to this great city.
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  • Day6

    The Forbidden Citadel

    April 24, 2015 in Vietnam

    This Royal Palace, was central in the capital of Vietnam over 100 years ago, and still holds the majesty of it's original occupiers at the halfway point down our trip through this beautiful country. The historic site was beautiful to walk through, a lot of it was left authentically ancient for us to explore with a lot of information scattered through the various buildings that were maintained and modernised.

    It looked like our entrance fees were going towards restoration of the older sections.

    This was an impressive first stop on our packed day in Hue.
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  • Day6

    Hue City

    April 24, 2015 in Vietnam

    We started our day early with omelettes and bacon in a cafe near our hotel. For some reason in Vietnam they like to play old episodes of English TV series. This one happened to have Mr Bean playing, I think it was the explosive paint episode, but I can't quite remember. Anyways, we had a lot of planning to do so we used the wifi to research the local area, using a combination of google maps and trip advisor we planned to hit 3 main places during our day here: The Ancient Cidadel, a world heritage site, The Thien Mu Temple, and The Tomb of Tu Duc. We ended up finding another war museum as well which we took a quick detour to.Read more

  • Day5

    Hue, a shade of damp.

    April 23, 2015 in Vietnam

    That night we got to Hue in the dark. Rocked up near some hostels to be appropriated instantly by drug dealers. Safe to say they tried to scam us pretty hard, you don't want anything to do with this type of people in Vietnam. And this is all my stuff that was drenched from the ride. So yeah, it was a great day (y).Read more

  • Day5

    Vin Moc Tunnels

    April 23, 2015 in Vietnam

    So we got to the tunnels half soaked but the weather was fitting for us to more appreciate what it would have been like to live here. Damp, dark, cramped. Trench foot would have been terrible. They were deep down though so hidden from the horrors of American bombing. Very defensible. Being just on the north side of the Dmz this area would have been a crucial position for the viet cong. We ended up going off the standard tour guide path into the darkness, like we did in paradise cave in Phòng na, to get a better feel for the age and the reality of the place. A power cut would have meant total darkness. We turned our phone torches off for a few meters and our pace slowed and our arms came up in front of our faces. Could not see one thing. We came out of one of the sea facing entrances to more rain, and took a stroll to the shoreline to take a piss. Ended up noticing the largest washed up jellyfish I've ever seen in my life, even in all of Australia. It looked like it had been hit by a boat prop. We went to leave and trudged back through to the main museum area taking guidance from some local children, then stopped to watch a few documentary clips of the history of the tunnels. Apparently about 35 kids were born and a hundred more were schooled here. I forgot to mention the 55,000 dong instant noodles and the fuss we kicked up after having had enough people rip us off. Usually a decent noodle / rice dish was 30,000, with real shit, not plastic no nutrient instant string. Blah. It was raining and we were mardy. After regrouping we made our way onwards to Hue, still in the rain.Read more

  • Day5

    Rain.

    April 23, 2015 in Vietnam

    Đây 13 in Việt Nam. Rain. All morning. Ironic that today is the 13th day here. So we slept in a brothel last night and they only have squid and fish for breakfast. I'd murder a hooker for some cereal right now. God damn I miss cocopops. And decent milk. It's 11:30am with no signs of the rain dissipating. We have to listen to karaoke of cat strangling Asian music. We were going to head to the vin mốc tunnels this morning then head towards Khe San back in the mountains and hope the rain stops further inland. Time to man up and brave the elements. The thunder is close. We have limited ponchos. Not enough to cover ourselves and the bags. My guitar is my priority. Better take my jean shorts off, my waterproof shorts would be better.Read more

  • Day4

    The mysterious guide.

    April 22, 2015 in Vietnam

    We made it to where we thought the tunnels were after getting the bike fixed but there was no sign of a hotel anywhere. It was late, it was dark, and everywhere so far we'd managed to find one without pre booking. It had been a lonng day though so we were definitely cranky by this point. We passed a raised up shack at the side of the road, even Jack suggested a night on the beach at one point! We had to keep going down the coast to Vinh quang just inside the old dmz I think before we found anything. It wasn't on the map, this little coast town, we stopped at a nhà nhgi (still to this day I do not know what that translates to) thinking it might have spare rooms. It wasn't a hotel but they called a guy to meet us, we waited a while and played with a puppy (there was always a puppy wherever you went in Vietnam, or anywhere in south east asia really!) and he beckoned us to follow him another few kilometers south. His brown poncho flowing in the darkness, we past 2 or 3 nice looking guest houses with no lights on, up to a sleasy hotel at the end of town. Safe to say I was knackered at this point so I passed out pretty much immediately when I hit the bed I was shown to but on the way in there were several girls flirting super hard with us. To me they looked barely older than 16 / 17. I went to sleep soon as I lay down, but the others stayed up a little later and apparently Jack heard about 4 different guys come in to accompany one of the girls, in the room next door to us, for anywhere between 8 - 15 minutes. So yeah this place was a brothel. I ended up sleeping straight through it all thankfully, I was already frustrated enough having not seen my girlfriend at the time for 7 weeks.Read more

  • Day4

    A screw loose.

    April 22, 2015 in Vietnam

    After the road that wasn't a road we kept on headed toward the vin moc tunnels, but it had take longer than we thought and had gotten dark quickly, with Pims light / horn cable cut, we had to take it steady at night. Me upfront trying to follow my satnav, with Jack following behind Pim keeping his path lit up. Then Jacks bike stalled and he beeped for us to stop. Behind me it turned pitch black, not a good sign. I turned around to stop and help and his bike would not start. almost 11pm, in the middle of fucking nowhere road, thankfully some local kids stopped to help. They guided us to a mech about 2km down the road. I got there first to call the mech and wake him up, it was late and the garage closed. Jack pushed his down with the Pim and the others and made it just before mechanic arrived. The mech stripped the bike in minutes, it turned out a screw came loose in the starter motor and had completely wrecked it! Thankfully he had spares and replaced the parts and started it up no worries. 660 thousand đồng.Read more

  • Day4

    The road that wasn't a road yet.

    April 22, 2015 in Vietnam

    The road looked freshly cut into the mountain and was paved at first. It didn't last long. Mud and rocks and river crossings for about 20 km. My bike slipped once and my bag got muddy but not too bad. I was however followed by a persistent marsh fly for the whole way, determined to take a blood sample.

    Pims bike had been wired up in the morning to fix his light issues, but looking back, the mechanic wasn't all that qualified.

    I think people in Vietnam and south east asia like to help, even when they don't really know what they're doing. If it gets them a few extra bucks from a tourist that's probably half their weeks wage. But anyway, this "mechanic" must have linked his light switch with his horn, because halfway through when Pim decided it was time for some illumination, the horn switched on permanently at full blast and you could damn well hear him coming from the other side of the mountain!

    I wanted to coast with engine off for some of the down hill sections so the bike wouldn't get ahead of itself and too fast to control but when Pim caught up with me I swear I probably lost a few decibels of hearing! The engineer of the group (ahem) told him to cut his horn cable after crossing a bridge that wasn't a bridge yet. The workers were in hysterics!

    They seemed to be burning the bridge cement dry, and were still working on the supports so we had to ride through the river to continue our route.
    The path continued muddy for quite sometime and progressed to just rocks which were tricky at the end but thankfully we had no slips or accidents.

    I must have coasted for the last 2 km downhill until we got back onto tar Mac with no engine. The tarmac was like seeing an oasis in a desert of bad road surfaces. It called for no hands on the handlebars past the other two who were taking an exit photo.

    The ride the rest of the way was smooth in terms of surface. Not necessarily in terms of bike performance...
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