Kon Tum - An Khe (110km, 66mi)
Points of interest: Bahnar minority area, pepper, coffee, cassava, cashew and rubber plantations, Bien Lake, and pine forests.
|These are the elements of pepper growing. From around Pleiku to Buon Ma Thot is the pepper capital of Vietnam.|
|Sandalwood bark is drying on the
roadside (right). It will be used to make incense.
|Cassava is also dried along the road, but in these photo is it drying in a front yard (left) and being sorted and cleaned by a family (right)|
|This is a fairly typical house (left) along the road, but there were also a fair number of modern mansions -- eight to ten times as big. Enormous hay stacks (right) in the side yard are also very common.|
|For this stretch of the trip the surrounding countryside was still pretty rugged, but the road followed a route that rolled much more gently. You could make a photo essay just on the interesting loads being carried by bicycles, motorcycles and tractors. This motorize tricycle is carrying a couple of large cabinets (right).|
|Bien Lake, near Pleiku, has a garden and pavilion for relax -- if the crowds are not too big..|
|Selling corn: fresh (left) and roasted (right).|
|Fish ponds (left) and brick factory (right).|
|High school students arriving at school for the afternoon session.|
|Mr. Hung (right) pitches-in in the kitchen at a lunch stop. Hung did everything; drive the van, handle logistics, take people shopping, and generally made sure everything worked -- what ever it took.|
|The map shows a numbered road that bypasses Pleiku and cuts off dozens of miles off the trip to An Khe. Except for being dirt, a lot of scenery along the road was similar to the day before, include ethnic minority communities and rong houses. As are the rules we never left the road and went into the communities. But for reasons that aren't clear, and apparently not having anything to do with the ethnic communities, the local authorities (we aren't sure what 'authority' they were) didn't want us (foreigners) to take this road and escorted us back to Pleiku (arrgh), but not before treating us to an superb lunch and countless shots of rice wine. We are still trying to figure it out.|
|The Buddhist temple in central An Khe is said to be a memorial to King Quang Trung. He is a local 18th C hero. From a peasant upbringing around An Khe, he rose to be a great general who unified the north and south of Vietnam and became emperor of a unified Vietnam. As Emperor he used the family name: Nguyen Hue.|
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