Bike Breaking down, Skateboarding, Water Parks and Communism

Patch's skateboard blogger - on vacation in Vietnam - has some interesting adventures exploring that county. He and his friends also meet a local whose, um, wisdom guides their trip.

Driving the bikes through Vietnam is probably one of the most stressful things I've done.

When we stopped for a break from the traffic, Andy's bike started leaking gas out of the carburetor. He fixed it with the shoelace from his vans skate shoes.

Later that day in the middle of the country side, Andy's bike blew out his back tire twice within 2 hours. Luckily some locals came up to him on the side of the freeway and fixed the bike for about 10 bucks US. When we were broken down, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere surrounded by 8 Vietnamese men. We couldn't understand what they were saying, eventually they just began to work on the bike. By the end of the day we were exhausted from riding the bikes for over 10 hrs, with large trucks constantly crossing over into our lane. I'm still working on being able to drive in this country, not sure if I'll get the hang of it but I'm confident.

After riding in the rain forever, we hopped on a train with our motorbikes and went south out of the cold winter weather. We arrived in a city called Nha trang. It's beautiful here. Every time I left my hotel to skate, someone wanted to jump on and try it out. It is so interesting to see so many people excited about skateboarding and the cops seem to encourage me to skate more in the city.

While skating around the city, Andy and I were stopped by a man who insisted we call him " Skinny D". He first noticed our tattoos and wanted to know all about them. Then he showed us all his tattoos. He said that his friend did his chest piece in one, 8-hour session (if you have ever had a tattoo you know that is a bit much)!

Skinny D directed us to the cheapest and cleanest hotel (with only an ocasional cockaroach and lizard on the wall) in this beach town and pointed out all the best places to eat for the best price. Then he put on a leather motorcycle jacket then said to us "don't be lazy, be crazy" and rode off. The people really seem to admire tattoo work around here. So if you plan on traveling to Southeast Asia, stop by Flaming Dragons Tattoo's on Pacific Avenue and ask for John Sabin. Everyone here loves his work and because of our body art. The tattoo culture in vietnam has been very open to us.

After a while, we went out for lunch on the strip for about 1.50 USD. The food taste very similar to the Vien Dong on 38th street in Tacoma. I have a little taste of home when ever I eat. They have western fast food here too. It's no Frugals, but it gets the job done when you need a cheeseburger fix.

Skinny D got us a hotel for 10 bucks a night about 30 feet from the beach. The waves are great for body surfing, but the riptide is very powerful and put me on my head a few times. It's a lot like Westport is but much warmer.

After body surfing with Andy, we just laid on the beach watching coconuts fall out of the trees and fishing boats in the distance. Then we remembered what skinny D told us, " don't be lazy, be crazy" so we went to look for some fun.

Walking down the strip by our hotel, Andy and I ran across what looked like an abandoned water park. When we walked across the front of the park the receptionest said it was 2.50 USD for all day entry. I could'nt turn it down. It was like Wild Waves but no lines, no rules and some of the park was falling apart. We had a great time. At the end of some of the slides you have to watchout for rusty bolts sticking out, other than that you can jump from any platform, run, slide down any slide, anyway that you want. This has been the most fun in a water park I have ever had!

It's interesting to feel so free to do whatever I want when the connotations around a communist country would suggest something diffrent. I'm not sure that this is what Karl Marx had in mind but it seems to work for the people here. Although things seem to be a bit more run down, people are less concerned for having lawsuits put on them and that seems to keep cost down quit a bit. Wheather or not for the good of Vietnamese society in general, it really makes U.S. money go far here. Sense I've been here we have ridden our bikes in several sketchy allyways, through towns in the middle of know where and haven't seen any homeless people yet....... 

we will be riding out to Ho Chi Minh City next.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Venuto January 17, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Ho Chi Minh City...previously called Saigon...has good food and an ease of living as described in the article.


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