::: Around Vietnam during Tet holiday 2013

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Road Trip Reports' started by VietHorse, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    As promissed with Rod Page and others, there are some pix from my Tet trip this year.
    First, to be noted that it is not a "Ride" report - but I think it good for someone who have plan to ride here, who like to see how's Tet holiday in Vietnam...

    Yeah, it's long way round for me :) :

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  3. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    There a lot of things related to Tet holiday. You can find it here: LINK
    For me now, Tet holiday is mainly the time to visit my Parents, relatives, friends, getting my child to understand more about family and culture, and of course seeing things around.

    First day of the trip, I departed from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) around noon time, after my Son has done his Tet celebration party at school.
    Having not much time left for the driving day, so I took first night in Nha Trang, approx 400km away from HCMC.
    Tracklog for the first day:
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    Link: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1152779#

    Stickers on my car was ready since the night before:
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    There was not much things from HCMC to Nha Trang rather than busy traffic due to Tet was coming very near.
    A nice rice field on the way:
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    Because I was only driver, so I gotta rest after every 2hours or 200km driving.
    It 's good that there were lot of small rest places, where they have several hammocks for a quick nap.
    You can easily find it on the road side. Good to have a short brake, with some coconut drinks...

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  4. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Day 2, Nha Trang to Quang Ngai:

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    Link: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1152916

    We spent the first night at a Guest house beside Nha Trang beach. Not a good one but acceptable. Drove around Nha Trang at night and visited a friend there.
    Morning departure from Nha Trang:
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    We went to a famous fish sauce shop to buy some bottles bringing with as gifts to relatives fot Tet (It's 584 Le Hong Phong Str - Nha Trang, if you may need ;) ).
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    Leaving Nha Trang:
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    Some nice pass roads beside the sea, before getting out of Nha Trang:
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    After passing Cổ Mã pass, we took another stop for stretching and breathing fresh air from sea. It's called Đại Lãnh.

    Cổ Mã (horse's neck) pass is at the background of the photo:
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    You may like to see it's coord: 12°49'41"N 109°21'50"E.

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    Beach view from the stop:
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    You can find food and drinks here:
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    Noon time, we reached Tuy Hòa Province and finding the place for lunch:
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    Here's a good one ( 13° 5'26.16"N 109°18'55.97"E):
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    Don't supprise with such giant food menu:
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    and the amazing construction:
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    here's main things - fish stomaches:
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    jellyfish:
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    and squid:
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    Stayed at the place for a while after lunch, then we kept continue for the North.
    My Son before his nap after lunch:
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    Reached Quang Ngai almost dinner time. We stayed in a guest house nearby my wife's home.
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    Three beds, air-con, hot water, free carpark, for 150,000VND ~ 7.5USD. What else do you need???
    Sorry for having no photo outside of this Guest house. However, it's "520 Guest house", nearby the Central Post Office. Reached to the Post office, you can ask people there, they will show you.
    (Guesthouse 520 @: 15° 7'19.78"N 108°48'11.64"E)
     
  5. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Day 3: Quang Ngai to Ha Tinh:

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    Link: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1152925

    Start the day with beef noodle:
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    We went up to Hai Van Pass (Hai Van Pass is the old road connecting Da Nang and Hue - Now the Hai Van tunnel has been built for all cars and truck, so the Hai Van Pass now mostly is for motorcycles and tourist buses).

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    Top of Hai Van Pass:
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    This was very important security gate of the area since 13rd-14th centuries, as well as during recent wars against French and the US.

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    The bunker behind was built since French war.

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    Off the Hai Van pass around noon time, we had lunch at Lang Co beach.
    One of the tip for the crossing Vietnam adventurers is that - you should get in the places of the truck drivers for meals.
    You can notice my car was the only SUV among big trucks:

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    You may ask me why!? The reason is quite interesting. The lunch/dinner places which dedicated for big buses or cars normally nice, clean, many other additional services... The food quality there are average, food quantity is limited in comparison with the amount of money you pay, and further more, the drivers who bring you to that place is normally getting free meals and some more tips from the restaurant owners.
    Opposition with that, the place for truck/lorry drives are different. It may not so nice, smaller, less services, fewer waitress... but the food quality is great, all original. Food quantity is a big plus - as the truck/lorry drivers they eat so much. They cross the place very frequently, they have to pay themselves so they will chose the best place for their feeling and wallet. Well, you may come and try to see the differences.

    Our lunch that day:
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    All fresh:
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    We were happy with the lunch:
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  6. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    I left the Hwy-1 and join the (East) Ho Chi Minh Trail on Hwy-9 at Quang Tri.

    There are two Hochiminh Trails which have been created to support Vietnam military during wars.
    Originally they are called Truong Son Trails. Truong Son mountain is combinations of several mounts, they are combined together along Vietnam's length, around more than 1000km from Nghe An toward Khanh Hoa.
    Two Hochiminh trails are two trails at two side of the Truong Son Mountain. One is East, and the other is West.
    West HCM trail is almost concrete paved. Along with Vietnam-Laos border. Not so wide. Empty traffic. Very few citizen around. A lot of pass, twisty, winding all day long... It's very challenging road for any kind of motorcycle.
    East HCM trail is very well constructed/paved. More traffic, more people living around, not so much twisty...

    Hangouts too much so I had to drive night time to reach Huong Khe (Ha Tinh). This was Da Deo pass (on East HCM Trail), where I passed at night time:

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    Huong Khe is a nice little town in Ha Tinh province. It's good place to have a night for rest after a long day along HCM Trails.
    You can easily find a good hotel around the central lake ( 18°10'34.14"N 105°42'6.94"E). Good hotel here normally prices at $10+. Food is also easy to find, just ask around.
    I have been overnight there twice and I happy with it.
     
  7. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Day 4: Ha Tinh -Thai Binh:

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    Link: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1152924

    Got up quite early for the day 4, the day to arrive home sweet home...

    Continued with East HCM Trail - this is typical look of the road:

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    And those road warriors also common:

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    All the good food along the road:
    "Gà đồi" - "hill chicken" - well, in short, they sell chicken which are raised almost wildly.

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    "Dê núi" - "mountain goats" - also, the goat are almost grow-up themselves on the mountains. Their meat is number 1!!

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    Rest time for me but not for my little son:

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    It was raining on the way back. There were more and more traffic coming up.
    You can easily see the black CRV, with a branch of cherry flower on its roof - Cherry flower is kind of icon for Tet at northern of Vietnam.

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    Also this one:
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    We safely reached home by dinner time. Our parents and us were very happy:

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  8. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Great stuff Viethorse..

    What are the chances of hiring bikes and going for a ride with you?

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  9. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Thanks Brian.
    It seems none in Vietnam for rent big bikes (175cc and above). There may be some dirt bikes (2xx cc - but they use the under 175cc registrations) for rent by the Tourist agents, which you may not so comfortable with.
    Anyway, just come over, we can work it out.
     
  10. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    The next day morning, tt's time for a bath:

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    Looks better?
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    My Mom and my Son taking some vegetable for lunch:
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    My Dad with his small boat and fishing net was on water:
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    I got the fish from him:
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    Wifey prepare for cooking...
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    Tet seems to be the time for reunion, meeting, enjoying food, and of course NO working... LOL...
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    A wild grill was made:
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    Those are some "finished products" from those fishes:
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    Yammy..............................
     
  11. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    As usual, we made Vietnam traditional cakes for the new year occasion:
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    That's one of the finished cakes (made from sticky rice, green bean, pork, onion, and some special stuff):
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    Those cakes need to be boiled for at least 10hours before you can enjoy.
    My son took this pix while we setting up the kitchen for the cake boiling:

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    Here's how the cakes look like in the next day morning:
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    Dry them for a while, then we enjoy the first cake of the holiday:
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    As a tradition, we made this altar for ancestor worship for the last night of the year:
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    Greeting to the new year with a colorful morning:
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    Wishing good things to each other for the new year, then we took some family photos:
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    Then we went to visit our relatives:
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  12. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Nice report Viethorse.

    Great photos, and plenty of helpful information for car and motorcyclist planning to do a trip in Vietnam.

    Enjoying your reports mate.

    Thanks. Moto-Rex
     
  13. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Happy to hear so Moto-Rex.
    I will try to post as much infor which related to route, hotel, food... as possible so you guys can refer when needed.
     
  14. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Normally, we spend almost the first week of new year at hometown, visiting relatives and having parties.
    This year, my family made a litle change, we condensed those into one day, first day of the new year only.
    The Seconday, from early morning, we were all ready for a long trip to North-Western of Vietnam. Lots of nice stuff is waiting...
    Our trip would be a bit more than 1,000km round trip, three days.

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    Detail tracklog in here: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1177190

    In the morning, we stopped by the Bai Dinh Pagoda. It's now so called the biggest temple within ASEAN countries.
    I don't know much about it. You can read more details here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bái_Đính_Temple
    http://www.vietnam-beauty.com/top-destinations/destination-in-the-north/196-bai-dinh-the-biggest-pagoda-in-asean.html

    And an interesting blog with photos the pagoda 's construction here: http://babyhaysutton.blogspot.com/2009/12/our-trip-to-ninh-binh.html

    That's quite large area, so we have to use this for traveling around.
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    At one of the entrance:
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    A common long corridor:
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    Next level gate:
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    There are 500 stone statues have been well arranged. The other side of the pagoda, they have lots more... What a huge stone work!
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    First time we saw so many statues like that:
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    It's a big steeple:
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    See how big the bell:
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    There are a lot more interesting things inside, but we had no plan to spend the whole day here:
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    Then we went out. Continue our trip.
     
  15. jimbobs

    jimbobs Ol'Timer

    great thread thank you for sharing
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks Viet Horse. Nice pics & breezy report. I can feel Vietnam beckoning yet again..
     
  17. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Thank you. My pleasure to share our beautiful Vietnam and our Tet culture.
     
  18. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Left Bai Dinh Pagoda, we went to Thanh Hoa and had lunch at a relative's house.
    After lunch, we headed Western North, which 's our destination.

    More and more mounts appeared after every mile.
    We stopped by a small and very peaceful valley:
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    As you can see at the back of the photos, there were a lot of white plum tree. And the local's house flickered among the blooming white plum flowers.
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    Look at this curve, so tempting, right?
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    We arrived Moc Chau, a town of Son La Province. It's highland area, really nice weather, not too cold.
    This is Sao Xanh Hotel (Blue Star Hotel) where we spent our night:

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    It's pretty new three star hotel. Large room, free large parking area with running water hoses for bike/car wash.
    I took two twin rooms and they gave me two big large rooms. Two double-bed in each room. Air con, hot water and free buffet breakfast for 350K VND ($16) a night.
    I believe there were many cheaper hotels/motel around the town, but to me, this hotel is truly reasonable one, a recommended one for GT-Riders.

    Some views from Hotel:
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    You can notice there were lots of booming white plum on the hills:
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  19. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Early departure from hotel...

    Welcome to Son La City:
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    All are highland with awesome passes:
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    Fog everywhere slowed us down:
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    Reached Dien Bien City - where is our trip destination:
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    Ta Con Pass, really awesome for motorcycle - I have to try later on!
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  20. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    We reached Dien Bien City around noon time. Had lunch at relative's house. Took a nap. Then my relative guided us around the City.
    Well, Dien Bien, or Dien Bien Phu is very well known place with the name of Dien Bien Phu Battle, where President Ho Chi Minh with his General Vo Nguyen Giap defeated the French in 1954.
    Dien Bien Phu Battle has made Vietnam to be well known by the world then.
    You can do a quick search on internet if wanting to know more about our glorious victory at Dien Bien Phu.

    A brief map about Dien Bien Phu valley:
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    First we visited the De Castries Bunker - It's the heart and so called un-defeatable of French base in Dien Bien Phu that time.
    Here's very historic photo of the victory moment when Vietnam Army won the battle:

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    Let's see how it looks now:
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    Entrance of the bunker:
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    Inside the bunker:
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    Not far from the bunker, there is stationed a remain French tank:
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    It's quite small compares with the modern one, or even with the Russian tanks in the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City.
    See, smaller than my SUV:
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    Then we visited the center Dien Bien Phu Martyr's Cemetery, one of some Cemeteries around the place.
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    There is now a very big bronze statue of Dien Bien Phu soldiers on the hill, nearby A1 hill:
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    Muong Thanh valley (Dien Bien Phu) from the bronze statue station:
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    There were many other historic places (i.e. General Giap's bunker, Muong Thanh airbase, Muong Thanh bridge, A1 hill, etc...) but we had not enough time. Let's reserve to my next trip by motorcycle.
     
  21. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    BRILLIANT (as always) Viethorse - there's something special to read reports seen through local eyes where writing in other than a mother-tongue exposes all the emotions, all the sensibilities.

    What greater compliment to have than those in Thailand looking to experience some of it with you.
     
  22. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Thanks Rod.
    It's my pleasure to share with you guys. At least, I do realize that my Vietnamese English is understandable. LOL....
     
  23. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    This is a terrific report VietHorse, many thanks for posting. Its so much more fascinating to view the tour through the eyes of a local, there is so much more to be gleaned for us mere tourists.
    Its ridiculous that I have spent so much time in Vietnam(on business) and have never seen any of the places that you have illustrated. I think this must be rectified soon. I have many good friends in Vietnam and so its time to visit them and tour.
     
  24. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    I have around more than 1000km to go to the end of this trip, so hopefully I list some of the places where you have visited. :)
    Great to have local friends and they can show you their hospitality and the good things of the place.
     
  25. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    A bit more around the statue:

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    The view from the statue base to the entire of Dien Bien Phu valley:
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    Think back to the time this was a battle field...
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    We left Dien Bien the next day morning, our plan was getting home not later than 20:00hrs in the same day.

    There was an other big statue just outside of the city, built on the hill:
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    That statue tells the story that how our Soldiers has brought canon to the Dien Bien Phu, which is considered impossible that time, and it's the most important key to the victory.

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    Yes, it was really amazing that they can disassemble the canons into parts, then bring all the way from delta to the highland by bicycle, on foot...
    Re-assemble the canons just the other side of the hill, then pull them to the top, fire to the French in the valley.

    And now, just post all the best photos I have to show you how the road to Dien Bien (Hwy-6):
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    ...
     
  26. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Some more road photos:

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    Don't be sleepy at this corner, unless you wanna fly:
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    Very seldom to see a flat valley:
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    Where the mountain kisses the sky:
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    A volleyball court between heaven and earth:
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    Players here familiar with the foggy play ground, as they have to live like this:
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