|The local Amazon Delivery Man. |
Look at the bottom; this is a delivery motorbike, not a truck.
It was a short drive of 60 km from our hotel to the Cambodian/Vietnam Border. Finally, we had a relatively quick transit out of Cambodia and into Vietnam. And what a change it was. From the dry, poor and dirty of Cambodia to the lush green, industrious Vietnam. Within 20 km of crossing the border you could tell the difference in the economics of the two countries. In Vietnam, the homes are largely well-maintained, the roads better and clear of debris and the median on divided roads (dual carriageways, in UK-English speak) were planted with blooming flowers. The Vietnamese are very industrious with each home having a garden spot where the family can grow some type of fruit or vegetable to produce extra income for the family....lots of pepper plants, coffee plants, pineapples and cabbage. By the way, Vietnamese tea and coffee are very tasty.
The Car and the Rally:
There was one Regularity Stage of about 8 km in Vietnam today; a very narrow road in the mountains with a time change in the middle of the Stage. We were 3 seconds off perfect, but it was good enough to maintain our 7th place in the standings.
Lots of cars are limping, but everyone pushes on as Saigon is only three days' drive from here. The 1907 Italia broke one of its wooden wheels and had to retire (very sad) and the '73 Range Rover blew up its engine so it is out, as well.
You cannot come to Vietnam and not see the economic progress that has been made here. It was less than 40 years that this country was war-torn, from top to bottom. Today it is truly an Asian Economic Tiger......feeding its people, exporting products and engaging in joint ventures worldwide. While it does not have the population base of China, its people are every bit as determined to make a meaningful difference.
While a couple of day's observations is an unscientific sample, I must say there appears to be no animosity toward Americans. Every stop at a coffee shop or gas station brings out people very interested in America and Americans. "California" and "Hollywood" are still magical names for the Vietnamese.
Today is our last day before we push on to Saigon. We are spending it at the Avani Quy Nhon Resort and Spa on the outskirts of Quy Nhon City. The resort is on the beach and features fresh fish on its menus.
After re-fueling the car, checking air pressure and generally cleaning up the car, we will spend the day on the beach or around the pool......saving energy for the three days of competition before arriving at the Saigon finish line.