A town somewhere

That Khe. I can’t remember where the punctuation marks go. But thats where I am. I’m working my way towards the Ban Gioc waterfall. Supposed to be the largest in Vietnam, right in the North East Corner. Might be there tomorrow night, not sure. Tonights overnight is in Dong Khe. I’m not sure but I think its 35km away and at the top of a mountain pass. I’ll check it before I leave, its always good to know how much trouble you’ll be in.

Like breaking a horse, I’m learning language. The first step is to admit defeat and give away all pride and work from the bottom up. Last night I found a friendly hotel with a friendly food place next door where the girl spoke a tiny bit of english. I took my notepad and kindle with google translate and started working out words and bouncing pronouciations off the people around me. They seemed keen enough to help me try so I made the most of it.

I’ve started talking words out loud to myself on the bike. You can’t pronouce stuff in a tonal language by saying it your head or under your breath. So I’m talking to myself as I ride. So far noone has come past me as I’m saying ‘chicken beef pork hello goodbye’.

I pity the next person I have a conversation with in English. If you’re supposed to talk about 6000 words a day, I must be about 2200 words behind. I’m not sure if saying ‘Hello’ to kids really counts though. The next english speaking person is going to have to put up with me for 10 minutes before they get a word in edgeways.

This morning marks a milestone. I took my second malaria tablet, therefore its been one week since I arrived. This time 7 days ago I was getting lost, avoiding cows and learning how not to get run over. It seems like a month ago already.


About shuttrjames

I`m riding a bike through SE Asia. i come from a country where we only speak english, have good maps and no hills. Here. I am in trouble! Follow me to get lost in the back roads of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. james
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3 Responses to A town somewhere

  1. Alice Turnbull says:

    Hey James, thanks for the post! Don’t worry, you will be speaking Vietnamese like a local in no time, I’m sure. Can’t wait to live vicariously through your next update! Cheres, Alice (& Greggles)

  2. Anna says:

    James!! When I was in Canada I used to speak French to myself when I went on hikes. I think it helped scare the bears away too!!
    Will be following your every move… definitely in a creepy way
    Take care!!

  3. Aurian says:

    Have you really been gone a week? Wow.
    Time flies when you’re doing the daily grind. Glad it feels more like a month in the wilderness, because I’m pretty sure it’s only been 2 days!

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