We hopped on the motos and started to make our way out of town. I was riding on the back of guido’s since he had more space. I had my back pack on and foolishly had my phone in the open side pocket. We were in thick traffic at a light when I felt my pack move and I knew instantly someone was getting into it. I turned just in time to see the guy on the bike next to me pull my phone out of the pocket. I yelled and as he accelerated away I punched his arm. I was lucky enough that that caused him to drop the phone into the roadway. Without even thinking I jumped off the bike to retrieve it and jumped back on as the traffic moved around me. It all happened so fast I couldn’t believe it really happened except that my phone was dirty from the roadway. Guido wanted to go after the guy but I didn’t want to instigate anything further. We continued heading out of town as my pulse attempted to calm down and I waited for my hands to stop shaking. The boys were making jokes about me being a secret agent and were blown away at my reaction and the result of it.
We made a stop at a roadside stand for some water. We put on more sunscreen and continued on our way to Ba vi stopping every 45 mins or so to give our asses a break. It was so so hot out and we decided to grab food somewhere before heading to the national park down the road. We drove through the town until we found a place full of locals (always a good sign) and filed in to find a cool spot in the shade. The locals were happy to welcome us and we ordered our pho and some waters. I look over and two the the older men are laughing and trying to slyly snap a photo of us “foreigners” and we laugh and make peace signs/wave at the camera. That was the only encouragement they needed and next thing I know one has his arm around me and we are taking a selfie. I was laughing and played along until two minutes later we’ve taken 40 different poses and space between us is non existent. The boys think it’s funny and I’m over it at this point. They bring out the rice wine and we’re now doing shots with them and finally our food arrives. Guido speaks Vietnamese and the old guys are insisting we come back tonight and party all night with them. No chance I say and the boys agree, but they still think it’s hilarious. I wave apologetically at their (I think) wives and we pay our bill and move on.
Ba vi national park is LOVELY and we’ve come during the off season. We practically have the place to ourselves. We’re unsure of what exactly there is to see so just drive around stopping here and their to snap a few photos. One more side road before turning back and we take a side road that led further up mountain. We come into a clearing and we all audibly gasped at the sight of this old abandoned limestone church completely overgrown just tucked into the trees. Haha.. Such a chance finding as the park is huge and we’re all stoked at the discovery. We are glad to head back now as the sun is setting and we still have a 2 hour drive ahead of us.
Halfway back we Stopped off for a quick coffee at this families roadside shop. They were just sitting down for dinner and welcomed us in regardless. I managed to order through some charades I requested three coffees as they spoke no english. We drank our coffees slowly and chatted and then I remembered I had all those candies in my bag. I pulled them out and gave them around. Their baby had woken up and was so cute I grabbed the Polaroid. One with dad and baby. Another one with grandma and baby, then I motioned for everyone to jump in for a family/group shot. They were all so excited, dad even put a shirt on for the photo and smoothed down his hair in the mirror. Everyone was laughing. They were so grateful they refused to let us pay for our coffees and asked for us to visit again soon. All ten of them were at the door waving good bye as we drove away. I as best as possible tried to keep the massive grin off my face for sake of keeping the bugs out of my teeth as we drove away but I couldn’t help but laugh at this day and all the little things that had happened. Deep satisfaction hugged me and a small voice roaring in my ear saying ” you’re doing it right!!” as we made it back to Hanoi.