Friday, 30 September 2011

Julie & Mike - Day ? + 1

Another day in Ha Noi.

Mike: "Still in Hanoi What a town still can't get over how
they drive and the traffic in general." "Traffic"to check it out yourself.....

Hotel where Team Tiger is staying.

"Pouring rain again. another storm passing north of us but whadya expect in monsoon season.

Great planning. Oh well, it's off season.

nyhow having a blast. Folks we're with are lot's of fun."

Okay - standing by for more tales of "daring do".

Although tomorrow might be come home day....?

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Julie & Mike - Day ?

Well, looks like the gang made it to Ha Noi.

Mike: "Arrived in Hanoi after a 14 hour train trip.

First 5 or 6 were fun drinking beer and telling stories about the trip. Great bar car at the back. Had a bit of a birth shared with 3 other small people.

Just checking in to the Flower Hotel."

However, before they left, they had some sightseeing in Hue. And according to Mike:

"Moped tour 3 or 4 hours around Hue. Went to ancient kings tomb. The only king/emperor buried in Vietnam.

Then we went to a "Nunnery" or convent which also served as an orphanage for 200 kids.

Got to play with them for a while which actually was fffffffffun and good to see their happy faces. Also great lunch there."

"We get get to visit "Uncle Ho" who still lives on in the hearts of the people here. Or so they say.

It's almost 5 am here now. We can't check in for a few hours so it's off to tie chi...."

Tai chi?! Mike?

I hope he sends a picture of him doing that. It'll be sure to be hung prominently in Mainstreet.

Okay - so they made it to their destination. Let's see what shenanigans they can get up to over the next couple of days.......

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Julie & Mike - Day 5...Or So....

Make it to Hue City, north of Da Nang today.

And just barely made it, due to monsoons, typhoons and lagoons.

Because according to first hand reports.....

"....Wow last night we had this wild storm go through. Never seen the beat!


Anyway all is well now except we had to bike thru the aftermath. Roads flooded all over the place. Biked thru 2 to 3 ft of water several times, like for 1/4 mile and more."

This looks to be a shot of the previous evening when the waters were rising and flooding their restaurant.

Mike again: "I mean it's low to begin with but all the rivers have blown their banks and most houses near them are half under water.

Seems routine though.

Everyone is laughing, and the kids are all happy and saying hello to us all over."

Hey, quit hogging, Dad....Julie here:

"Yesterday was the big 10k pass - uphill the whole time! huge mega challenge but we did it! It has also been rainning for 4 days, apparently there's a typhoon in the Phillipines.

I have never seen so much rain! The streets are flooded, houses are underwater and were biking through lakes! its crazy.

Today was our last biking day - it was finally sunny!

Biked through the most beautiful mountains today, amazingly gorgeous country!"

A shot of Team Tiger, nicely inside and dried out.

Now although this trip looks to have been a blast (mainly of torrential rain) all these folks are Pedalling With A Purpose.

So it's great to know that all money raised on each of their Care Vietnam websites and through fundraisers and donations, etc. goes directly to Care Canada to support Vietnamese women and girls.

If anyone would like to help out, please remember you can still go to "Cycle for Care Vietnam 2011" to contribute.

That being said.....

Two More Tigers, Please!So to wrap up Day 5...or so.....

Mike here: "Ended up at the Asia Hotel in Hue City.

Nice place. Not like the resort we were in last night though.

Off we go now to a big wind up party. Biking is over.

Tomorrow we go mopeding up into the mountains then catch a train to somewhere. More on that later."

Okay guys, well done.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Julie & Mike - Day 4

The gang made it to Lang Co, in Hue Province.

But not before an interesting last evening in Hoi An; "just leaving Hoi An, visited cultural sights.

Cooking classs last night; fish, wonton soup. etc. as we watched the river Hoai rise past the bank, flood the street we were on then start entering the restaurant. At which point we left for higher ground and back to the hotel Van Loi.

River starting to receed a bit again. Gotta bike thru 2-3 ft of water to get out soon...." looks like they made it out and.....

...they are staying at the Lang Co Beach Resort.

Evidently a "soft landing".

According to Mike: "Apparently big storm going thru near here. Maybe even a typhoon, which apparently is the reason we have no wifi.

Lots and lots of rain but spirits are high and we are all diggin it."

Looks like (another!) beautiful place to have to bivouac for a day.

They biked through East Beach, or China Beach, where "where we saw the remains of the American base there where they had the bunkers to house the helicopters and F4 Phantom jets.

Rained hard all day."

Mike here: "Stopped on the beach where 15 or 20 fishermen were pulling in this huge net.

So we helped out and they were very happy for our efforts. Took us 45 mins to drag that huge net full of fish up onto the beach.

Very cool."

"Climbed big mountain and went thru a tropical mountain pass with rivers crashing down and incredible vistas.

We are very close to Da Nang. Tomorrow we do 80 or 90 kms. Today 80."

Mike again: "Drinking lots of Tiger beer so we can call ourselves Team Tiger."

Hmmmm....I wonder whose idea that was....?

According to my reports, they have also been nicknamed The Rum Riders, The Canadian Clubs, The Beer Bongers, The.... well, you get the idea......

So here is a map for ...."The rest of the story".

To be told over the next week.....

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Julie & Mike - Day 3

Progress is being made, as they creep up the coast of Vietnam.

Let's see what Mike has to say.....

"Made it to Hoi An after a gruelling 62 kms! Famous UNESCO sight.

Actually seeing quite a few western faces, Famous for tailors, Just got fitted for a suit."

Day off from the biking schedual to rest up. Gotta get more dongs to spend, Couple of mill otta do it.

Looks like he found some more of those dongs.

Good thing, with the amount of time they are forced to spend downing those refreshments.

Boy, they look exhausted.....

"Beach party last night. [Ed. note: We're shocked.] Shakey this am. Apparently I was swept out to sea without knowing. Julie and fellow travellers were instrumental in my rescue. Too old to try the swim home. Maybe later this aft."

Not sure if this was a private note to the author or meant for public consumption.

But following the tradition of Wiki-leaks - and to maintain the incredibly high levels of integrity for which this blog is admired - we will report all correspondence.

Looks like the local fishermen caught another one of them coconuts.

Apparently, the insides are a key ingredient in many of our travellers refreshments.

A local temple?

Not sure - but caption on this pic was "How 'bout that for a hotel?"

I hope it's not their hotel or Terri will have to arrange another fund raiser.

So apparently, this was a day off from their gruelling schedule.

Let's hope they can get back on their bikes soon to rest up...

Friday, 23 September 2011

Julie & Mike - Day 2

Okay - now we're getting somewhere.

Mike reporting: "Okay here we are at Tam Ky after an exhausting 50 km day yesterday. Rained all day but very warm so no complaints."

"Came across a wedding along the route and Hai asked if we wanted to drop in to visit which we đid.

Immediately they got us all [Ed. note: all....?] hammered which slowed us dơwn a bit and accounts for our only 50 km ride and we had to cut the day a bit short and jump on the bus to continue pounding back the refreshments.

Then supper and off to the karaoke bar. Sound like a rough trip so far? Well I tell you..."

Here is a group shot.

Not their group, because "Julie tells me we still can't send pics, but what ís that? I'll figure it out somehow soon.

Anyway it's 5:30 am again and off we go adventuring one mỏre time only everyone [Ed. note: everyone...?] ís a little under the weather.

Countryside very low and flat. Mostly rice patties and shrimp farms but incredibly beautiful. Raining again but warm already.

Later dude. Sorry about the pics. We got some awesome ones in the camera but I know thát's not much good."

You are correct sir.

More time on technology, less time on refreshments.

Julie & Mike - Day 1 (Finally!)

So after a flight to Quy Nhom, on the eastern coast, our gang of intrepid travellers finally got on their bikes and are underway!

Mike here: "Great news. We biked today all day thru thick and thin, about 70 kms!! So happy!!

Even went thru several monsoon rainstorms that we could complain about! After the last monsoon we ended up in Quang Ngai City after a 5 beer bus ride.


This really is a trip like no other I've been on."

Here is a pic of Quang Ngai City where they started out.

Mike again: "We are here to support Care Canada and doing some great work in the awareness field.

We got a bus in front and a truck in back just in case all hell breaks loose, which it does regularly and then somebody jumps on the bus and chills.

Cool. You'd love it I'm telling you.

We feel like celebrities here saying chin chow (hello) and high 5'ing all the kids we see which is all the time.

Seems like they love us here. Hard to believe."

This is Quang Ngai City, where they ended up after the first day.

"Tomorrow we bike another 70 to 90 klicks depending on how things go.

We stop in Mi Lie - the scene of the big war crime.

They have a different view of that war than we lived thru and it is hard not tell it like it was for me being in RMC for the last bit of it then working with the yanks after.

Hindsight is 20 20 and the Americans sure take a beating over here.

People forget that they were instrumental in saving the free world only 20 years before and that war is hell and $hit happens.

Anyhow this is a wonderful country now and I wish I could speak the language.

Fortunately Hai our guide and supreme leader puts me in touch with Viet Cong fighters from that era and we can relate a bit but I know I gotta be careful with what I say.

I really love the people and the landscape here and will come back somehow.

We got a ton of pics to show but Julie tells me there is no way to send them now."

What?! So off to bed you guys and figure something technical out!! And then get ready for another adventure....

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Julie & Mike - Day 0

"Day 0" must mean the real trip starts tomorrow.....let's find out.

Mike reporting in: "Hey buddy, took a plane to Qui Nhon City thís am. Hung out a bit today on a beautiful beach.

Picking up our bikes finally thís evening and we'll be biking tomarrow they say. Hey what can I say. Hotter than the hubs."

Uhhhhh....I've been to the hubs. And it is hot!

Julie here; "Yesterday was a very important day for this trip. We visited our first CARE projects up in the flooded highlands along the Mekong Delta (it is after all monsoon season), tucked away inside the jungle near the Cambodian border.

After all that fundraising, it was very rewarding to experience first hand the good CARE does for people."

Here Mike is introducing himself and telling the locals he's decided to open a restaurant here.

Okay, okay, according to Julie... "This is a meeting we had at one of CARE's projects in a small community, reaching out to many hamlets.

The goal of this project is to improve the daily lives of the people by distributing small loans and establishing a cooperative economic system within the society.

Each woman in this picture is the leader of two communities. Their duty is to facilitate the project within a specific community and to report back with the main coordinators.

They help, learn and depend on each other. This project looks at diminishing poverty through micro-economic values of helping small scale businesses and families with money distribution systems in order to promote an sustainable economy.

It was very cool to participate in this meeting; it sheds some light on what communities like these really need to escape poverty.

Definitely an eye-opener!"

Ha ha! So maybe opening a Vietnamese Mainstreet is not so crazy.

"This is dad in front of the well Care built in 2009.

Care gave 80% of the funds and the community pulled together the rest.

It is located at a school and serves over 90 hamlets."

From Julie again: "Coconut boats."

I didn't know you fished for coconuts in the ocean.

Man, I should have gone on this trip.

"Took a lovely stroll down the beach - this is Hai and I (tour guide)."

Hey, it can't all be hard work!

So, Julie, is tomorrow the day? Start of the bike trip?

"The day is nearly ending and we have finally received our bikes!!

Took them out for a spin today - wooah what an interesting traffic system they have got.

You feel like a fish in a school."

Okay, go get 'em guys!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Julie & Mike - Day Minus 1 (Cont'd)

Better late than never - some snaps from a couple of days ago came through.

Maybe Mike got stuck in one of those underground caves he was talking about.

Man, that does look like a tight fit. And it looks like Mike is thinking the same thing....

Here Mike is in front of a dang dung sign.

From what I was able to make out, in Vietnam you have to stand in front of this sign whenever you make a mistake.

"Oops, I dang dung it again!" Ba da bing!

Okay, work with me people.

So I Googled it this time. Actually I think this is their hotel.

"The Dang Dung Hotel offers value-for-money accommodation in central Ho Chi Minh City. A convenient stopover point for guests exploring Vietnam."


Recent Cover of "Today's Modern Solider"I'd forgotten that the Green Beret used to wear short-shorts.

"Hmmm, I Wonder What's In There; Let's Go See"From a chapter of "What could possibly go wrong?...."

Julie on a boat in the Mekong Delta.

That name brings back memories. A lot has changed in 40 years......

But now, as Mike relates;

"By bus we crossed the Mekong Delta and on up into the mountains right on the Cambodian border. Tomorrow we hop a plane to somewhere [Ed. note: good attitude] to start the biking part. Can hardly wait.

Just eating, busing and getting fat. Got a great guide keeping us informed. Very interesting. Poor here but clean, happy and proud. Awesome place.

Climbed a mountain where they are just finishing the worlds largest Buddha and from where we could see a big chunk of the Delta where lots of folks live on and around the river."

Okay, guys, good luck tomorrow. Wherever that is.....


Oh oh...

Another example of the relentless drive for "progress".

Some humble turn of the last century buildings on Yonge St. destined to go the way of the Dodo Bird.

On the positive side though, Toronto does need more condos.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Ha ha ha.

But this may not be too bad.

But let's look a little higher.

Cranes peer above the roof tops.

But not a lot of other activity.

Unless we slide a little to the right.


A little farther.

Ohhhhh....that's where you're hiding.

Didn't think I'd notice you back here, huh.

And I'm not holding much hope that they'll even keep the facades, as I was burned before. See "I Lied. They Lied" for details.

Oh well, at least I'll have pictures of these nice old buildings once they're gone.