VIETNAM VELOCITY – Bike Backpacking
It’s mid-December when my phone rings and EVOC Marketing Manager Jan Sallawitz asks if I would like to travel to Vietnam in January for a photo shoot. I’m speechless. Me, in Vietnam, as a model? But then again, opportunities like this don’t come along often! I agree spontaneously, without knowing what to expect.
On January, 9th we touch down in Hanoi. Holger Feist, product manager at EVOC, picks us up from the airport and immediately starts discussing the first photo locations with photographer Baschi Bender. I’m still stoked from all the new impressions, so I just let them talk while I watch in astonishment the daredevil manoeuvres of the scooter drivers in the city traffic. A few hours later I find myself amidst this chaotic throng of scooters and cars – with my bike. Next to the Bến Thành market, one of the largest squares in Hanoi, is a huge roundabout – the major traffic junction in this part the city. And here I am, in the middle of the street, surrounded by honking horns and exhaust fumes, trying to move as little as possible. Meanwhile Baschi – looking fairly relaxed on the traffic island in the middle of the roundabout – is taking photo after photo.
I’m glad when we leave the madness behind and enter the comparatively quiet market. Foreign smells crawl up my nose in the narrow streets, and I will always remember the crazy market stalls and colourful clothes.
Then Holger grabs my arm and says conspiratorially: “And now we’re going to have some Pho.” “Pho? What on earth is Pho?” I think to myself, but Holger is already ordering. Nodding and smiling kindly, the small Vietnamese woman behind the counter hands over a bowl of soup and noodles to me. Hm, I usually follow a simple dietary rule that says “Don’t eat what you don’t know”, but Holger manages to convince me that in Vietnam “no Pho” means the same as “no breakfast”, and I start tucking in.
Thoroughly invigorated, we set off to the countryside where we will spend the next couple of days. Trails, vast nature and secluded beaches – that is so much more my taste! I look forward to exploring the area on the jungle trails with my bike and cycling through small villages. With that in mind, I leave behind Hanoi and fall asleep while Baschi and Holger are still discussing camera angles and light conditions.
Sascha Kleeberger – EVOC Ambassador
Camera: Baschi Bender www.baschibender.de
Director and Editing: Juni Thalmann www.junithalmann.com