Author: steeuwsen
hi all,

I’m writing from Kon Tum. Besides a visa run to Hoi Anh, I’ve been up here most of the month: teaching a bit and hanging around some villages in the area. One of my students, Pllii, is from a village called Kon Kotu, and my friend Hyme lives in Kon Krum. It’s great being in the villages: people are very friendly (a little too friendly offering out the rice wine sometimes 😉 and the pace of everything is quite slowed down. I’m lucky to have someone making introductions, showing me arouns and translating – I owe a lot to Bllii and Hyme.

The bridge over to Kon Joyu village. Hanging out by the river swiming with Bllii and her friends in the river near her village (photos thanks to Jonny)
A rong house. it’s a meeting place for the village. Pllii’s siter and niece Manyak wineVillage church

Jonny is here as well. He arrived on a bus a few days after me. He sits in on my classes and corrects me when I spell things wrong. He’s also great if I’m stuck and the class can’t answer. I call on him and it gets things moving again. He’s breaking hearts and distracting eyes though. By the end of the first class, he’d already been silently given a pink bracelet from the quitest girl in the room. It’s fun being in front of a class again and since I usually only teach at night and touter a bit during the day, it doesn’t seem at all like work. Of course give it another month and I’ll probably be itching to move.

We’re working on making a web page for the orphanage. Well, Jonny is doing all the real work and I’m supplying him with pictures and a few ideas. He’s making it with frontpage so it might not look quite as nice as we’d like, but we’re keeping it simple so it should look alright. With the page up, all you good people can check out the work the sisters and kids do, and how you can help ’em out. No preasure of course =)

Circling back, the last time I posted I was just making my way from Nha Trang. The day I headed out was gorgeous: just a little wind, lots of sun, and bright colors from the rice patties on the left and the ocean on the right. I didn’t stop for pictures, made good time and found a great place to spend the night. The next day wasn’t so nice. There was a really heavy wind in my face and it was clouded over. So, I stopped a lot for pictures and when I saw an empty streatch of beach decided I need a long break. It wasn’t any nicer when I got back on my bike so, not long after that I stopped a bus and took it to QuiNohn.
Camp on the first night. The fire is just for fun. It’s always so hot you deffinatly don’t need it. Along the road the next day
beach where i took an extended break and swim

My ride my back up ride and driver
I stayed in Qui Nohn for a day. The dorms at the hotel were empty and they opened onto the roof, so I had the cheapest penthouse suite with the largest balcony of the place. I hung out reading for a day before getting back on the bike.
Leaving Qui Nohn I stopped along the way to take photos of people working at different things. It made me think I should be getting the camera out more and not worry about making it anywhere.

I’m a terrible bike tourer. I just love the bus when the going gets rough. I came most of the way up into the mountains on my own, but on the second day I was coming up the second big rise in elevation and was passed by a slow going mini bus. They waved at me to hang on and as they towed me up the bus manager offered me a ride for way to much money. I was going to stick to my principles and ride it out but, as the price got haved and haved again and I noticed the sun going down and I caved. I sat the last 50 km to town.
When I arrived it felt like coming home. I went to the orphanage was greeted by kids and in the garden I found my friend Noung, who showed me around the first time. He reintrodused me to the head sister and I worked out a class for the next day. Then i headed over to Kon Krum and found Hyme. She laughed saying that she thought I had forgotten her and wasn’t coming back. (I had deffinatly taken my time getting down to Saigon and back) She showed me around the village a bit. The place has such a great community atmosphere. Beside her house is her sister’s house and as we walked she pointed out her nephew and nieces playing. We stopped in at her brother inlaw’s house for a drink and she showed me her little rice pattie that was cut down to size by the widening of a road, which she’s none to impressed with.

The next day I met Pllii and she showed me to Kon Kotu. It was more of the same great community feeling, with her pointing out her relatives houses and their kids playing, and a few invites for Manyak wine. Some house’s jars are deffinatly tastier than others. Her mother cooked for me before I left and I promissed to come back in the evening, because they were going to be dancing and playing gongs in front of the rong house. Unfortuanatly it was pouring rain by as the sun went down, so I took the proverbaible raincheck.

I know it’d be hypocritical to say that people in the minority villages lead a perfect life. If I lived here I’d be leaving to make good money as soon as I got bored or broke and it’s really difficult for the locals to get out. The villages deffinatly have their problems, but for an outsider everything here has been very welcoming and it’s nice to experince a different lifestyle for a while.

So everything’s going well and I’ll be here for a little while more. I can’t extend my visa anymore so, when it run gets close to running out again I’ll be taking my bike down the Ho Chi Minh trail (now a nicely paved road through the mountians) and heading into Laos.



3 Responses to “”

  1. Keith Says:

    Just saying hi,


  2. Jeremy Says:

    I love the “rong house”.

  3. Mom Says:

    As usual it is good to see some of the people and country side. Nice to see a familiar face in the pictures.

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