skateboarder magazine’s vietnam skate trip

i found this video while researching my next journey, it’s kinda cool, a skate trip in a very different sense, and in it is some valuable information for this long distance skater, some slick skating as well.

of course, i would do it very differently, and in fact, i fly into saigon jan 6. i’ll be with my girl, and we’ll be tote’n two longboards. we’ve got a month to check out vietnam, and to make it across the border in the north back to china. we’re gonna do some power relaxing.

one main piece of information this video offers is that at least one of these guys on a bike was struck by the danger of it all. he was on a creaky two-stroke, which is a different kind of danger, but it seemed he was contrasting vietnam with his own, perhaps safer world. perception of danger is, of course, relative. i often say, when people ask me that my skating or romping around in developing countries is perhaps dangerous, that living a life without adventure is dangerous. all of us who skate fast or long accept a certain element of calculated risk to life and limb in order to navigate that particular space, and travelling rough to remote places is no different, managing risks and returns. on this journey, however, i dont want to drag my girl into some difficult situation when she is hoping for a more leisurely jaunt about vietnam. so the plan is, to take it easy.

since i have been skate trekking in china and tibet, it’s difficult to imagine going somewhere and not taking the longboard. for me riding the skateboard is simply the most awesome way to visit a place…

as long as the road surface is ok,
the traffic’s not too crazy,
the sun isn’t too blazing hot,
nor the wind blowing up a gale,
and the dogs aren’t snarling from all directions,
and the police not making hassles…

to be honest, none of these things make skating a place less awesome, but they are things to think about if one is looking for leisure and not a slalom through the seven hells. i watched some of the longtreks morocco videos and now i think skating is not the most awesome way to visit morocco. my girl likes to skate, but she shakes her head, and worries a bit, while i do my hundreds of km. plus, it’s gonna be hot, really hot, 35 degrees hot. i dont even know if i am going to want to skate…haha…not want to skate…ha…

we definately wouldn’t want to do the motorbike thing. in the video i saw them on their bikes in the mountains, and imagined how way much more awesome it would be to skate through there, up and down through there. they remarked that they went barrelling from place to place, not connecting and missing a lot, and they found [not many places to skate]. i saw some nice roads in the video, hey! they spoke several times of mountain passes. not mountain passes like my beloved himalayas, but the terrain goes up to 2000m, i’ll bet there’s some nicenice slow uphills, meandering jungle mountain roads, and crazy water-buffalo strewn downhill runs along the way. in places the road surface looks broken, in other places, not bad at all – but just because it’s black on video (or in a satellite image) doesn’t mean it’s smooth blacktop, i know that. i also know that with 85mm speedvents, if the road is even halfway decent we can make some grand skating days.

it looks like from this video, the a1 coastal highway might have heavy traffic, in the north at least, and around the end of our stay in vietnam is the tet festival, when there might be more drunken drivers on the road. yes, i saw the weather they were biking through, it didn’t look so great untill they hit the south. i did watch another video of some kids scootering about on the coast road in the south, and that actually looked like super skating: flat, direct by the sea, not much traffic, beaches, palm trees.

so, we decide to stick to the south, and have come up with a plan of action: after we spend most of our limited funds on diving and tequila sunrises, lounging on a tropical island for a week or so, we will head back to the mainland and slowly skate north, in no haste, from beach to beach. if we are enjoying the skating, and can camp and save some of the money we would spend in hotels and on busses or trains, then we can maybe afford some more diving and tropical island time as we travel north along the coast. just before our visas run out, we’ll pop back into china, into yunnan, where we are home free with sweet roads, easy camping, and good friends to go and visit. once back in china, i expect we’ll need to relax and recuperate for a couple of weeks

right now it’s -12 C in beijing. i haven’t skated for a number of days. i am stoked, nonetheless, dreaming about the beach, about long distance skating, imagining the best way to make a hybrid push-push-adventure x relax-n-chill vacation. In doing my research, i learn something from watching online videos.

now skate video is a lot to do with narcissism, so is blogging and posting reams of text to a forum. at least, in this video, the cool skaters aren’t me, they are not riding longboards, and the text is about something i haven’t even done yet. i just think it’s cool to share how a video of some skaters on an adventure can inspire, educate, entertain, even an old rat in another world, like me.