„Tea?"- I asked pointing to the covered pot in roadside eatery somewhere on the road through the mountainous area of Vietnam for Lao expats. It was my second day in this country and how it happens in such cases I have studied local customs. It looks like, I will not die of hunger here., and additional bonuses include a pot of tea, that is the mandatory equipment of each eatery.
"Da, zielionyj "replied the woman
We looked at each other realizing, that conversation unexpectedly began to be carried out in Russian. Breathing a sigh of relief – drawing from the recesses of memory of foreign words learned still in high school, however, the language was easier than showing everything on migi. I didn't realize, the Russian language can come in handy in this corner of the Earth.
And this was not the first meeting with this language. Already in Laos traveling with Chirag after catching a flat tyre we asked the man that lived by for help. When he realized, that I'm Polish he asked "Gawarisz pa ruski?"and thanks to this we have the thread of the agreement, that ended with long conversation, dinner and overnight stay in his house.
Still, on several occasions, I had the opportunity to communicate in the language of our big brother from the East with a completely unexpected situations. Yep, I knew, both Laos and Viet Nam are Communist countries, but somehow I do not expect to see the landscape from old Polish films. Flapping in the breeze red flags with a star and the hammer and sickle, roadside posters from the cycle "we are building a new home", “Women on tractors” and so on. At 5 AM the loud music wakes me up “with the meaning of getting the people ready to another day of work, with the meaning of getting the people ready to another day of work!” and about 6 AM morning exercises start. It turns out as well, many Vietnamese and Laotians lived and worked in Russia.
“Why are you travelling alone?” a police officer posted me this qustion while completing writing something in the densely covered with notes notebook, when I stopped to spend the night in roadside home church pastor. He let me stay there, but on several occasions in a similar situations, in private homes or at the Church I was not allowed to stay and had to go.
In the Laotian capital Vientiane, I wanted to spend the night in the local church. The only Catholic Church in the area, one of the perhaps three in the country. Parish priest at my request just frowned, scratched his head and said "it's not that easy. Every evening comes the police inspect the site of the Church. No one stranger may not stay here, If this happens we will have to pay a penalty. I can not travel to the North of the country myslef. You are from Poland, it was just the same there – I look forward to it, that you'll understand. The Church is the enemy of the system, out hands are tied ".
Of course, understand, though it is a shock for me. No doubt the journey still teaches me something.
In Vientiane we split with Andrew, and I still have two days more I continued the way North Laos with Chirag, echoing only once during this journey the same stretch of road in Laos, during the last year at the same time. Again pushed my bike uphill, but there was no choice-I wanted to reach out to the famous Plains of Jars (Plain of Jars). It is a plateau in the north-eastern part of Laos, covered grouped in several places-stone urns, the origin of which is still not confirmed. It's one of the places, that was on the list of my dreams, ever since I read the book of Polish traveller Kinga Choszcz “titled "We were guided by destiny"”. A walk at sunset between dozens of stone urn will be one of the best memories of Laos.
With Chirag we will meet again in Vietnam. He is extremely positively freaky boy and a great traveling companion. I think, that knows me better (i vice versa) than many friends of mine.
Viet Nam greeted me rain and long downhill. He attacked with green, where so much is missing on the other side of the mountain range. This is a natural phenomenon, from this part of indochina peninsula attracts rainy clouds and is probably also the case a different work organisation, that in Vietnam rice paddies lokks so green while only 100-200 km further in Laos instead of rice paddies see the dry stubble.
Viet Nam is green. I guess nothing is able to compete with neon in the eyes of vivid green rice fields. They are beautiful.
Nothing too, I think even China is not able to compete with the numbing blowing my head roaring horns, that caught me in the Vietnamese road. Crossing the border with Laos takes me to another world. In Vietnam live about 70 million people, Laos is only 6 million. In Laos no hurry, Vietnam everybody works Swiatek Friday and runs somewhere the roar of rending the air thousandth skuteru and trumpeting hundredth of trucks, that or thought pass bike.
Selling oranges along the woman calls me with a gesture and a broad smile. Good oranges, try! I am trying to-good, It could buy two maybe, I do not have a lot of space to carry more. Price? A woman with a smile gives the price 50 000 dong, What is the equivalent 2,5 dollars. More than one dollar for an orange! There is no way, It's a joke. Eh, odjeżdżam with disgust. My white face pushing up prices several times.
Despite dozens of roadside greetings it is hard for me to have an idea of, which smile is sincere.. People call me, catch hands and persuade, to buy something from them. In the event of refusal mamroczą something under his breath of disappointment. You don't want to buy anything - go, do not cover the store, someone else can drive up! Haggling is not my good side, and prices are often ridiculously high. I want somewhere to get away from these people, but not much is where.
"You can spend the night, I do not want money, I'll help you, "said a young man with a child on his hand somewhere in the roadside village of making microscopic room with huge bed. Another invited over for dinner. I was allowed to arrange for free tent at school, in the National Park, in front of a guesthouse. They met on the street the girl took out an English lesson and I still write to me by fejsbuka. Nocuję several times within the parish-in Vietnam is a lot of Catholics and the situation with the Church looks much better than in Laos (While at dinner, I hear from the priest "police in Vietnam.. very, very bad "). Every day he meets me plenty of charming, friendly gestures, that mingling with those less positive make chaos in my head.
Like China, Viet Nam is a country, that will not leave anyone indifferent. After two weeks I know, It's not my place on Earth. That was not the plan, but three-month visa but will not useful. The plans are, to change them. Recently, unfortunately it takes me a lot of time and consumes a lot of energy.
Good morning i.... good bye Vietnam. Soon.