Beautiful scenery, no, not really. Highway 1 is however the pulse of the country, everything happens on the highway, you want to go to Vietnam and see the culture, it’s all there on Highway 1. No, it’s not the rich, traditional culture, but it’s the everyday people going about their business. I am glad I rode down Highway 1.
Weddings happen on the highway, there are ornate, colourful marquees, decorated with flowers and draping fabric, with music blasting from within. The bride to be can often be seen preparing for the big day down the road in one of the many hair salons along the way. Hair salons are everywhere, they are often very fancy compared to the surrounding shops.
You can tell what is grown in the region by what is on the side of the road, I went through Pineapple Village, with stalls selling thousands of pineapples, I didn’t see them again. The Coconut Village, Peanut Village, Limestone Village, Wood Village and Sugar Cane Village were all the same.
Then I saw things which I didn’t want to see, I heard it before I saw it, the high pitched wail of a dog in distress. Not just one dog, hundreds of dogs, all packed into a stock truck going off to goodness knows where. The fate was obvious, I tried not to think about it or really look at it, I didn’t really want to see it.
The smells along the highway are everywhere, some good, some bad, but I smelt something that was completely familiar to me, it stuck out amongst all other smells, the smell of gum trees, the smell that is so Australian. I stopped and sure enough there was kilometres of gumtree’s. They looked different to home, they still looked like gumtrees, just longer and skinnier because they grow so much quicker here. I am not sure how or why they are here but i broke off a leaf and scrunched it up to smell that beautiful eucalyptus smell. The Gumtree Village.
Arriving in Vinh, it is an unremarkable major town, although it was obliterated during the American/Vietnam War and was allegedly rebuilt with German aid, the buildings erected supposedly were more German looking than Vietnamese. I did see buildings that were very block like and how I would think mass produced housing would look, it’s hard to tell because of all of the signs, one thing about the Vietnamese is they do like a few signs.