The Trip: The Nuts and Bolts|
The journey was long and at times rather confusing. It began in Saigon, where I met Tam and asked the Communist Youth Group to take me through the Mekong for fifteen days by bicycle. When I returned to Saigon I joined Jay, an Alaskan, on his motorbike heading north. We took Highway 14 to Buon Ma Thout, turned east to the coast and continued up Highway 1 to Hanoi. Once there I hitchhiked to Sapa and trekked among the nearby Zao and Hmong villages. I returned to Hanoi by train and continued to Nha Trang. There I hitched a ride with Jochen to Saigon on his Minsk. Together we rescued a number of endangered animals from the marketplace. Upon being denied a visa extension, we were both forced to go to Cambodia. A week later we re-entered Vietnam by taxi and took the train to Cuc Phuong National Park with our animals. From the Park it was only a short hop to Hanoi, where I once again teamed up with Jay on the refurbished motorbike and journeyed high into the Tonkinese Alps to live among the tribespeople. Hiking outside of Phuong Tho we stumbled upon a cave that had never before been explored. On the way back down the mountain Jay was seriously injured, forcing us to return to Hanoi. A friend came to visit me from America and we went on a ruby-buying expedition. Finally I took my pack and hitch-hiked alone on a great loop across northwestern Vietnam through Sapa, Son La, Moc Chau, Lai Chau, Lao Cai and Mai Chau, to return two months later to Hanoi.
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