73-year-old couple ‘addicted to vi vu’

An GiangOver the past ten years, on a 30-year-old motorcycle, the couple of Mr. Mong Phuoc Minh have carried each other all over the country, to Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar …

At noon on the first day of the year, in the yard of his home on Tran Hung Dao Street, Long Xuyen City, a 73-year-old man mounted a homemade iron bed placed in the back seat of a 7-seater car just bought.

“This year, my wife and I plan to travel the 4,000 km road from Long Xuyen to Saigon, Da Lat, Kon Tum, to Laos, Cambodia and then back to An Giang – the first trip by motorbike here. more than 9 years, “said the man who used to be a lecturer at Can Tho University.

Mr. Minh and his wife in the yard of their house in Long Xuyen city, An Giang in the early afternoon of 2021. Photo: Diep Phan.

Although they have “blood in the vi vu” since their youth, it was not until 2011 that the couple started to “take each other away” with a journey of memories. That year, Mr. Minh recalled, he and a group of photography friends discussed a trip to Laos and Cambodia by motorbike. However, at the last minute everyone gave up. Seeing that, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Cuc, 69 years old, his wife said: “If no one is there, we both go by ourselves”.

To boot for first “overseas” trip by motorbikeGrandparents have tried a few short trips. At the end of March 2012, Mr. Minh and Mrs. Cuc officially departed by Deahan motorbikes purchased in 1990, clothes, medicine and car repair tools. “My wife is also careful to bring a glass of water, a super speed kettle, yeast and a mini rice cooker”, Mr. Minh said.

Traveling by motorbike is hard, but the “reward” given to them also makes many others jealous. When crossing the border gate of Bo Y and Kon Tum to go to Laos, the couple enjoyed a distance of more than 120 km from the border to the center of Attapeu province through an old forest, the two sides of the road had no houses, only majestic mountain forest scene. “There were times when the beautiful scenery was seen, the two of them said ‘it was too’, but not knowing the distance was very far,” Mr. Minh recalled.

The old couple's luggage on each trip.  Photo: Character provided.

The old couple’s luggage on each trip. Image: Characters provided.

After the success of this opening trip, the following year, Mr. Minh invited his wife again ride motorbikes to Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar But Mrs. Cuc said: “Is there a new way to go?” So he bought two folding bicycles to bring, moving to capitals of other countries, using a bicycle to “go around” to visit.

At that time, if we wanted to go from Thailand to Myanmar, we had to go by plane, but our grandparents thought of a way to “cross the border” by passenger car like the local people. When they reached the border bridge of the two countries, they hired someone to carry luggage to walk across the bridge. “Seeing my wife walking in front of her, looking at her things, suddenly I feel really bad for her”, Mr. Minh laughed.

“Blood trek” was absorbed, but it was not until 2015 that Minh and his wife had their first trip through Vietnam by motorbike. This trip is less difficult in scheduling and traveling because they already know how to use Google Map. The husband drives the car, the wife looks behind the map and gives directions. “Sometimes the map just makes the two people take time to ask people to come back. Sometimes he wants to turn, but because the map is only going straight, two people argue,” Mrs. Cuc said.

In September 2015, the An Giang couple for the first time arrived at the north pole of the country. Mr. Nguyen Hieu, from Binh Thuan, who happened to meet Mr. Minh and his wife at the Ha Giang landmark that year said: “That day, I and many people took pictures together at the landmark, very surprised to know that your husband and wife were gone. more than 20 days from Long Xuyen to here on a very old motorcycle “.

Often together “per kilometer”, but the thing Mr. Minh and his wife feel most fortunate is that there has never been any serious incident except for a few times the car broke wheels.

There is an interesting memory, the year they traveled across Vietnam, to the territory of Bac Ninh province, it was dark with heavy rain, so he and his wife did not have much choice, so they had to rest at a small motel along the way.

Upon entering the check-in, the two of them saw that there were many young people with “very unusual” expressions, so they felt worried. As soon as they got into the room, they were preparing their furniture and clothes, they suddenly heard screams and ran from outside. “We think we must have hit the meeting place of the ‘stubborn’ people. Imagine being robbed in the middle of the night, so I’m worried. Husband and wife go all the way down to check out to find another place to rest.” Mr. Minh said.

However, while driving the car, glancing inside, seeing some young people watching football, the Vietnamese team won and screamed. On the street, the grandparents also saw a crowd of people, holding flags, clapping their hands to celebrate. “Come to think of it, these two old people are so suspicious”, Mrs. Cuc said.

Grandparents moved from Vietnam to Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar by bus and then used a folding bike to explore famous places, in 2013. Photo: Character provided.

In 2013, grandparents moved from Vietnam to Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar by bus and then used folding bikes to explore famous places. Image: Characters provided.

Confident after the successful trips across Vietnam and Southeast Asia, in 2017, the couple decided to “play big” with trip by train and bus across America, from Georgia to California. “There are times where we have to stop at two or three stations to change cars, change drivers, we have to stick with our companions to follow for fear of the wrong trip. After that trip, I got my wife’s English speaking and listening skills. “, Mr. Minh said.

On the first trips, Mrs. Cuc often brings a lot of beautiful clothes. Even a few pairs of shoes, hats or scarves to take pictures. But later, she brought only the simplest and most essential clothes. With the spirit of cost saving, Mr. Minh and his wife prioritize choosing cheap but clean motels with air conditioning for tomorrow’s rest and health.

Born and attached to the West of the river, even though they travel many places, sometimes when they rest by a river, they feel homesick.

“When I have not used social networks, I often take advantage of writing emails to send to my children every trip abroad. Sometimes I am so busy playing and having fun so much that my children are worried. Reading their emails is looking forward to me. These two old people like to go, but they always consider home and homeland as the place they want to go home most, “said Mr. Minh.

Diep Phan


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