Do You Know the Way to Nhin Hoa? (or know how to pronounce it)

The Road Monkey cyclists/playground builders having lunch somewhere btw Nha Trang and Nhin Hoa

Today’s route was between Nha Trang to Nhin Hoa.  I’m sure you all know exactly where that is.  It was 31K (I’m not going to convert it to miles because it’s high time we all learned the metric system!)  Tonight’s accommodations and the rest going forward are described as “unglamorous and utterly simple.”   I guess that means no watching Glee or 30Rock.  Which is fine with Marty because he says everyone in the group is incredibly nice.  Paul (the organizer) said while the people attracted to a do-good adventure like this are always nice, this is a particularly good bunch.    That’s good news because Marty was a bit under the weather– and someone needs to take of my honey!  He’s not sure if it’s something he ate plus the jetlag and lack of sleep.  I think another part could be because he misses me and Memphis.

Susan and Memphis missing Marty

He said he’ll probably be off the internet grid for several days so I’m not sure the next time I’ll hear from him.  They are off to M’Drak (?) tomorrow in the Central Highland where they will ” ride past ponds filled with lotus flowers” according to his itinerary.  Lotus flowers?  Those really exist beyond my Chinese delivery menus?

Will keep you posted when I hear anything.


Facebook banned in Vietnam

Did the Vietnamese hate the movie, "The Social Network" that much?

Is Vietnam still ticked off about the war?  I guess that’s why they decided to ban Facebook. As the kids would say, WTF?  Anyway, for all of you leaving witty and inspiring comments on Marty’s Facebook page, understand that the reason he is not responding to them is not just that he may have no internet access, it’s because those damn commies have banned facebook.  They are probably trying to block this post.  I thought they had embraced consumerism and we were all Kumbaya now.  Apparently not.

Speaking of consumerism,  Marty bought a watch in Saigon because he needed one that was waterproof.  It clearly said waterproof and he said he bought this in a real store not a stand on the street and the clerk kept talking about the warranty it came with.  Anyway, when he went into the ocean (roughing it, right?) he said the face of the watch filled up with water within a minute.   I guess this means it wasn’t a Rolex either! (kidding).


From the coast of the South China Sea

I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (hcmc) from New York last night at around 10:30 local time after one 16 hour flight and one 3 hour flight. I met up with my friend John Richert flying in from Chicago and we met up with a representative from Catalyst, the local nonprofit we are working with. We handed off our tools to her until we start our project next week. Today we walked around hcmc dodging motorbikes. This afternoon we flew to Nha Trang where, tomorrow, our bike trip will begin. We swam in the South China Sea. I have to go meet the group for dinner at 6:30. That’s also 6:30 in Chicago, only it’s 6:30 am! More later.

You Say Ho Chi Minh, I Say Saigon– Marty Got There

Marty going native with a dim sum breakfast

Despite typhoon Megi (note– typhoons are in the pacific, hurricanes in the atlantic) threatening to arrive in Vietnam at the same time as Marty’s flight, he arrived safely and the weather is great.  According to him (and the roadmonkey intinerary) he had a “soft landing” and got to spend the night in a nice hotel.  While a western breakfast was an option, Marty had Dim Sum and green tea.  His friend John, (from Chicago and the other architect helping with the project) marveled that Marty was going “native” already.  Right now Marty is going even more native by walking around Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) before getting ready to board for Nha Trang this afternoon (well, afternoon in Vietnam– 12 hours ahead of ET).  He called me on Skype (since normal phone calls are $5/min ). I can’t believe how great the voice quality is on that.  It’s the first time I’ve used it on my cell phone.  I’ll be updating this blog (and with better pictures when they arrive) for him.  When he can log on he’ll try to update it himself.  For the rest of the trip, though, his access to the rest of world will be very limited. Good thing he’s going native.  I’m sure he’ll blend right in.