The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When Buffalos Collide


The best adventures aren't just the ones that we didn't plan--they are the ones that go all wrong.

Some time ago I drove up into the Central Highlands of Vietnam by motorbike to see a hill tribe festival at the village of Ta In. The village is inhabited by the Chu Ru tribe, who were once part of the ancient Champa Kingdom.  I was driving too quickly down a slope and by misfortune met a herd of water buffalo and cows at a bumpy spot in the road. I took a nasty fall trying to avoid the herd and my friends had to take me to a clinic in the village. It was the first time that I understood what it meant to be too inured and weak to travel. There was no way I could make the long drive back down the mountains to get home. So instead we had to find a hotel in Dalat that would let us stay the night. I hadn't intended to sleep over in the mountains that night so hadn't brought my passport (Vietnam requires that foreigners register with police at hotels). Fortunately we found a hotel that was willing to break the rules. 

On the way back home the next day we stopped at Bao Dai Waterfall (named after Vietnam's last emperor). This isn't the other famous waterfall by that name though--it was one most people don't know about, and if I remember correctly, is located just inside Binh Thuan Province. 

Despite the injury it was a fun and memorable trip. The injury and mishap not only added some color to the outing but helped to burn it into memory all the stronger. Without them it would have been just another outing and a few more photographs.

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