05-Oct-2003 -- I saw this project on Google group sci.geo.satellite-nav just a few days ago and decided to make my visit. Initially, I wanted to be the first to visit the N12 E107 but it turns out to be too hard for my first attempts. It’s about 180 km from my home and I have only half a day to go and come by motorbike. The N11 E107 looks like an easier one and I saved it as a waypoint on my Meridian Gold and set a Goto to this confluence.
I didn’t have a map or a compass, but I have only a GPSR, a water bottle, and a camera and off I went. Watching the GPS screen, I made a left turn to my first try. The narrow track ends at the edge of a fishpond. I turned back and made and other unsuccessful second try. Again the track ends at an entrance of a house. The dogs were not very friendly and barking fiercely. They chased the unwelcome guest away. The third try ended without finding a way to get to the confluence. Water ponds every where and I was not ready to swim.
In 1954, when the Geneva agreement signed, there was a flow of Christian Vietnamese from the North to the South of Vietnam. They dominate this area and still speak Vietnamese with strong northern accent. The people here make their living on their paddy fields and fish farms. They are religious and good nature people. They contribute to the parish with their little incomes to built a very basic church and statues.
I was a little disheartened and made my last try. The track led me to its end. This time, I saw paddy farm with tiny edges on which I could walk. I parked my bike; it was 900 meters from the confluence and asked one farmer working nearby to look after my bike. Then I took the camera and went forward. After zigzaging on the tiny slippery edges, I saw the statue of Christ, I knew that I am getting close. Finally, I got close to a fence and my GPS pointing toward the fence. There is just 50m away ! I looked for the landlord but could not get him. One of his neightbour escorted my to cross the fence.
I took pictures of my GPS reading, East, West, South and West but I did not take the 100 meter general area. (what a pity, should I say I shall return ?) Anyway, I found something interesting. The banana farm at the confluence disappeared. It is no more longer a banana farm and there is no more banana trees. The owner cut them down to plant coffee. That’s why he has a good fence around his land. Vietnam is one of the largest coffee exporters in the world. Though our coffee quality is not high and so the price, but more and more farmers getting interested in planting coffee .
Leaving the confluence site, I went back to find my motorbike and my backpack. They were there but not the farmer. He might finish his work and went home but nobody bother my stuff. It’s just 50 km from Hochiminh City, where I can trust a stranger and leave my belonging to him.
The hardest part came last, while turning the bike on the 300mm (1 foot) wide track, my bike fell into a dike that goes along the track. My bike might want to try what the buffaloes do: taking bath in muddy pools.