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The Mystical Adventures of Tess and Jack

Central Highlands Part II: Kon Tum, much fun!

VIETNAM | Sunday, 13 December 2009 | Views [762] | Comments [3]

The bus ride from Buon Ma Thuot to Kon Tum can only be described as heart-stoppingly frightening! We were on a small bus (really a mini-van) run by a local company, and were of course the only English speakers on board. The driver was an absolute nut case and refused to drive on his side of the road, whilst insisting on speeding, honking incessantly and trying to overtake any and every vehicle in our path. My heart was in my throat the entire time! To add to this experience I was crammed in the back seat next to a crazy old man in army fatigues who chattered to us in Vietnamese the entire time despite our confused looks and shaking heads, smoked cigarettes all over us and put his hand on my thigh! To his credit, he was generous enough to share his sugar cane with us, of which he had a huge bag full. However this required peeling using a huge knife which hovered dangerously close to my leg on every bump in the road. To top off the joyful experience a little boy spewed three times. Yessssss…

We arrived in Kon Tum in one piece (and an hour early, thanks to our driver’s insanity) and checked into our blissfully rat-free hotel. The next morning, it was time for a trip to the local supermarket, Vinatex, which wasn’t quite Co-op Mart but was a lot of fun nonetheless. Along with chocolate milk pouches, cheap whisky and instant noodles we were lucky (or unfortunate) enough to discover toilet paper named after yours truly, which of course sparked much hilarity and golden photo opportunities. The afternoon was spent wandering the dusty streets outside of town and observing the rural Vietnamese at their everyday activities. We were in search of a park in the guidebook, but found it had been completely obliterated by a massive flood last month. For dinner, we aimed to eat at an exotic-sounding goat restaurant and stopped in for an evening beer at the nearby Eva Café, a cool place set up to look like a hill tribe village, with comfy seats and mood lighting. Just as we were preparing to leave we were approached by the owner, An, who very good English and was keen for a chat. Once he learnt Jack was an engineer this got a little out of hand – he began pulling out drawings of his plans for the Café’s revamp and asking questions about the structure! While this long chat cost us our goat, we really liked An and found his passion and imagination very inspiring. The town was shutting down by the time we returned to the centre, so we returned to our room and feasted on 2 minute noodles (being extremely resourceful and using toothbrushes as cutlery).

On our final day in Kon Tum we set out into the sticks again to visit Vinh Son 2 orphanage. We had a little trouble locating it but were pointed in the right direction by some of the local kids on their way to school. There are several orphanages in the town, but Vinh Son 2 is the largest and least visited. There are 200 children - 126 nu (girls) and only 74 nam (boys)! They were just beautiful and extremely happy and friendly. They were fascinated by our cameras and insisted on taking/posing for way more photos than we could ever possibly keep! We did get a cute rendition of 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' in Vietnamese on video which we are looking forward to sharing on our return! They also loved looking at the photos we had taken earlier in the trip - they were especially impressed with the pictures of Jack on the plane!

This has been a particularly painful entry to write as the keyboard is terrible and the crappy computer is pumped with viruses and keeps closing my windows. Patience is running thin! So I will leave it at that. Thanks heaps for all your comments and love - we take great joy in reading them! More soon.

Lots of love,

T&J xoxox




Wow..thanks for hooking me up with your travel blog!! I love it.. I feel like I'm actually travelling along as a fly on the wall. Love your resourcefullness re toothbrushes!!haha Keep up the great journalling..for all your fans!!

  Leslie Dec 14, 2009 11:14 AM


Enjoying the ride...I think!! Glad you are making the most of the journey despite the odd adversity. Very entertaining and enlightening read and we look forward to more updates as you find your way across the countryside and find the odd computer!! Loved the kids - bet they were hard to leave. Keep safe!

  Kath Dec 14, 2009 4:26 PM


Thanks for the love guys! We are in Hoi An now and just love it...went to see the beautiful ruins of My Son (Cham temple) this morning - great pics to share in the next entry! Hoi An is the tailoring capital of Vietnam so we have had cashmere wool silk lined suits made for a steal..just picked them up today...very fun!

Leslie - glad you're enjoying the blog! I am taking great pleasure in writing it (when I have time/a working computer). Make sure you stay tuned!

Kath - the kids were sooo hard to leave! Made me want a little Vietnamese family! Wonderful experience but very sad at the same time. Certain computers in Vietnam seem to ban us from Facebook, including the one I'm on now, so I will reply to your message next time. Thank you!! Expect something from your darling son in your inbox!

Love lots xoxo

  tessa86 Dec 14, 2009 10:07 PM

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