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Just like in Quy Nhon, we found ourselves with very little intention of doing much on our only night in Kontum. Safe to say these were hardly the wild Friday and Saturday nights you’d expect from two mid-20s lads in South East Asia.
Our Saturday night consisted of wandering through the market, buying a phone charger and grabbing some food. Rock and roll.
Kontum will, however, always have a special place in my heart for one reason. Upon checking into a random hotel we happened to stumble upon, I almost fainted with excitement.
The room had a bath.
Yes, a bathtub. I hadn’t seen one of these for eight and a half months, nevermind actually had one at my disposal. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say this was the most excited I’d been since James arrived six weeks earlier.
The drive to Kham Duc looked, on paper, incredibly straightforward. It was just a case of getting on AH17 (the Ho Chi Minh trail) and heading straight for 120 kilometres. What could possibly go wrong?
The journey was ever so slightly more eventful than the previous day and actually took a little longer than expected for a few reasons. Within minutes of getting on the highway, a local told us that the road was rammed with police and that we should watch our speed. A welcome piece of advice, but one that was bound to slow us down. Still; better safe than sorry.
Along the way, we decided to stop off at a small war memorial by the side of the road. The fact it was Remembrance Sunday back home was completely coincidental, but it seemed rather fitting. That was until a couple of local salesmen showed up and completely ruined the stop – I’ll let the video do the talking.
Once we’d managed to shift Del Boy and Rodney it seemed like it was going to be pretty much plain sailing from then on. Apart from a few irritating teenagers on bikes who kept slowing down so we would overtake them, only for them to overtake us again, wave and say hello, the journey seemed a smooth one.
Just like the previous day, as I was starting to think the journey was a little too uneventful, the proverbial shit hit the fan.
James and I were around 20 kilometres from our destination, riding side by side in mid-conversation when James’ bike just completely cut out. Now, we are both competent drivers when it comes to it, but can we diagnose a problem with our scooters? Can we balls. After a few minutes of umm-ing and ahh-ing, attempting to rev the engine and breaking the record for the most expletives uttered in a five minute period, we came up with the best plan possible: free-wheel it down the hill and hope we reach a garage.
It wasn’t foolproof by any means, but it got us on the way. We made up a few kilometres before we hit flat land and the bike stopped again. Looking back it at; James’ Flintstone-esque attempt at moving the bike with his feet were pretty funny, although at the time neither of us were seeing the funny side.
Thankfully, the scooter gods were shining on us and out of nowhere James managed to get it going again. Don’t ask why or how, but we made it to Kham Duc in one piece. We took it to a garage, got our oil changed and decided that’d do for the day. Next stop (with a bit of luck): Hoi An!