Back to Saigon
It seemed a little ironic, but the cheapest way for me to get from Phnom Penh to the Philippines was back through Saigon. Vietnam would also be the easiest place to sell my beloved Minsk, as the market for a smokey two-stroke is limited in Phnom Penh…I had kind of a fun time cruising around the city, getting some errands done and hanging out on the đường Bùi Viện or Bui Vien street — a backpacker street with lots of hustle and bustle to observe while sipping a cold Tiger beer. Cold was key here because the heat in late February was no joke.
Besides selling the Minsk one of my top priorities was acquiring an authentic car horn for my future car project when back in the US. There is a veritable plethora of horn sounds in Vietnam, but I had a specific one in mind that I particularly enjoy — it goes sort of: Bow-wow-wow-wow-wow-ow (fading in volume). I found the perfect one after going to several stores and audio testing them — unthinkable in the US, but the sales person gladly hooks them up really quickly to blast the neighborhood. I ended up spending a hefty 600,000 VND (negotiated down only 50,000 VND) or ~$30 for my Dasearon Magic Digital Horn, but I had buyer’s satisfaction for sure:
The other purchase I needed to make was a golf bag for all my kite gear. The one I originally bought in the US had given up the ghost somewhere around Mui Ne, so I went on a quest with the Minsk. I located some golf stores on the outskirts of town, but spending $150 on a golfbag in Vietnam (that’s 3 Million Dong!) seemed ludicrous. On my horn hunt I noticed some vinyl awning shops, so with the help of Google Translate, a friendly Vietnamese girl who spoke some English, and my isometric drawing skills, I commissioned a bag to be made. The lady of the house was very friendly, and thought it was cute I was trying to talk her down on the price, and she pinched my cheak and smiled as she agreed to 800,000 VND ($40) to make my bag (one day turn around time). The end result was great, though I had designed the bag too large — it could have fit about three people’s worth of kite gear! Oh well — my flight was leaving that night, and too big is better than too small…
I was able to sell the Minsk handily for $300 — $50 more than I had paid, but I did put new tires and overhauled the wheel bearings on it. Not a bad deal — my little Minsk had served me well for 3000km of riding!
For the rest I got out fine. My cab driver hit a couple on a moped on the way to the airport, and got a flat tire as we pulled up to the terminal, but, hey, that’s just a regular day in Saigon.
So Long Viet Nam — thank you for your unparalleled hospitality!
Here are some photos I took on a full moon night on Bui Vien