This sort of blew my mind in Hanoi. Scooters are such an extension of people that they drive them right into the crowded markets and shop while straddling them. Another side effect of evolving into this scooter-human hybrid is that you see people never bothering to take off their helmets. The helmets aren’t very heavy, so I guess it doesn’t hurt your neck to wear them so much…but I even saw people in jewelry stores wearing helmets. Maybe they wanted to see if the necklace matched the helmet.
The overnight train from Nha Trang to Da Nang.
Figuring out train travel wasn’t as easy as I expected. There are several classes of ticket: a hard seat, a soft (with a pillow) seat, a hard sleeper, and a soft sleeper. The hard sleepers are three bunks on each side of the cabin (six per cabin), while the soft sleepers are two per each side. The soft sleepers are also air-conditioned, which makes a tremendous difference. The train was basic but pretty comfortable (way better than the bus, in my opinion). The biggest issue was that we had no place to store our backpacks, so we had to share our bunks with them.
Interested in traveling Vietnam by train? Check out The Man in Seat 61 for more detailed info.
In Nha Trang, the cable car is visible from almost everywhere. And being the transportation geek that I am, I had to ride it, at any cost. It’s not very easy to get to, so Juan rented us a scooter and drove us to the southernmost part of town, where we could see the cable car dipping down to the shore.
That ten-minute ride ended up being one of the most expensive things we did in Vietnam–at about $15 per person. What we didn’t realize ahead of time was that the ticket price includes entry to Vinpearl Land, the theme park on the island that the cable car goes to. It was December, the off-season, so it was pretty deserted, and most of the rides were closed. While we walked the empty food stands and strange strip mall looking for something to do that could possibly justify our admission fees, the wind started to pick up and it looked increasingly like rain, threatening to strand us in the island theme park and turn our little excursion into a terrifying made-for-Vietnamese-TV movie.
Fantastic appropriation of a school bus in El Rosario, Baja. There were even tables inside!
Two years ago, prowling the Freedom Tunnel with two of my favorite exploring buddies.
I miss the feeling that I’m learning a million things just by sitting on the subway with my eyes and ears open.
The California Mille is an annual homage to a 1,000-mile automobile race that was held in Italy from 1927-1957. The 50-odd cars that participate in this exhibition drive are beautifully maintained cars from (roughly) those years, with a heavy bias toward Alfa Romeo Spyders. Here are some of the cars right before they took off on their 4-day trek in the North Bay Monday morning.