Paul and Ray arriving at Black Sea in 2012

Paul and Ray arriving at Black Sea in 2012
Paul and Ray at end of 1,600km ride from Budapest to Black Sea in 2012

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Moc Chau, Vietnam - rest day

This post is from March 8, 2017. 

Because of 70% chance of rain and temperatures in the 50s today and being fairly high up in the mountains we decided to take a rest day today. We are currently two days ahead of our scheduled arrival in Hanoi so we felt this was wise.

Communications continues to be a challenge but sometimes it has its comical moments. This morning when we were trying to tell a woman at the guesthouse desk that we wanted to stay an additional night she clearly did not understand and we clearly did not understand the sounds coming out of her mouth. I went back to the room to get my phone in order to use Google translate, but by the time I got back Ray was telling me that he had managed to communicate with this woman that we wanted to stay an additional night and that I should pay her. He said it had taken him a couple of minutes to understand that the woman was explaining that she was a deaf-mute and she couldn't understand us. He had succeeded in communicating via sign language the request for the additional night, but it was extraordinary and bizarre that we were in a conversation with a deaf-mute and we could not tell the difference between that and a conversation with a typical Vietnamese these days for nearly 5 minutes. After that the woman asked me with sign language if we were bicycling today and I answered her with gestures that no, we were going to sleep in the room instead which she understood. So it turns out that the efficiency of our communication with a Vietnamese deaf-mute was superior to that of communicating with normal Vietnamese!

So today promised to be a pretty dull day just resting in our rooms out of the rain. Around 6 o'clock at night Ray knocked on my door and we decided to go out and try to get some supper. We went to the same restaurant we ate at last night which had provided good food and we had already figured out the Wi-Fi there and basic communication using Google translate. We ordered the same food we had the night before and it was fine and we had a beer each and then Ray was getting up to look for something and there was another table of Vietnamese that seem to be celebrating at a nearby table. This is a shot of that scene:

When Ray accepted their invitation to sit down to taste some of their food, little did we know that that would result in about two hours of celebrating with them International Women's Day with an infinite  number of shots of some homemade high alcohol moonshine and many different foods, some edible. Here are some shots from those festivities the last photo appears blurred which could be a photographic problem or could be the result of her about 30 shots of that alcohol:

During those two hours of conversation whenever someone needed to make a point that could not be articulated with a nod or with a certain number of fingers we resorted to Google translate which often produced interesting results. At one point one youngest woman responded to Ray:  "Dropping the towel she is not  ". The jury is still out on that.

During the course of the evening there was some singing involved. And twice they had us join in to a chorus of "Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam" which was a catchy tune and very sweet to do with them. But having been an American boy reaching adulthood in the late 1960s in the United States I have to admit that gave me pause. Having said that I was very happy to be there tonight sharing happiness with these sweet people.

Here is a shot of one of the ubiquitous patriotic billboards found in this part of the country:

1 comment:

  1. Communications seemed to have gone better than The White Motel clerc in Mohave, CA (PCT).