Icons of Vietnam, the flag the bike and a bag of noodles.
True to good communist ideals, in Vietnam trains pull carriages owned by a variety of private companies. If you know which one to take the travelling experience really is first class. If you take the state run carriage you’re in for a bumpy ride.
Phong begins another of north east vietnam's many long descents.
Typical and always beautiful scenery, rice terraces at different stages of growth. with a change of government policy some years ago Vietnam went from being unable to provide enough rice for itself to having the second highest rice export on earth. Thailand is number one.
Typical rural sight, smiles and waves from those at the heart of the rice trade.
It was fascinating watching the proprietor of this restaurant expertly dissect a suckling pig in just a few minutes. Phong watch intently, "now I know how to prepare a pig" he said with an air of satisfaction as we wandered off.
A typical rural Vietnamese kitchen. simple and effective.
The stove top in poorer regions of South East Asia kitchen stoves are often made from clay.
Standard sustenance, noodle soup with meat and vegetable.
A thirsty man tucks into a Ha Noi beer, perfect mineral replacement at the end of another day of climbing big hills with temperatures at the warm end of the thirties.
Juice made from squeezing fresh sugar cane is readily and widely available throughout the land.
Instant natural energy in a glass.
A typical old style shop display.
This chap is a frog hunter. In the blue bag lies the proof of his trade. when I suggested that catching frogs must be challenging labour he explained that they head out to work at dusk when they catch the amphibians if their torch beam. Stunned, the frogs become easy picking. Phong assured me they were fine frogs and had we been closer to Hanoi my panniers would have been full of frogs. Interestingly the contents of the bag were rather subdued, hence the expresion, 'as subdued as a bag of frogs' I dare say.
My trusty old steed. Well over 80,000KMS and still going strong.
Fading colonial grandeur.
The remnants of incense sticks burnt at a taoist temple. It strikes me through observation that the Vietnamese people treat buddhism and taoism as interchangeable faiths.
The work-horse of rural vietnam, the water buffalo.
Street hawkers are ever present in Hanoi. Vendors such as this lady wander through the busy bars selling snacks.
Typical beer snacks, fried fish and hard boiled eggs.
Street stalls sell a huge variety of food, here we find roast duck.
When one orders a chicken, one gets a chicken, all of it.
Should you be interested in joining Phong and I to see Vietnam from the saddle of a bicycle we still have a few places left on the Redspokes two week Vietnam tour beginning on 29 October .