The Children and the Ancestors

Distance today: 87km
Total distance to date: 607km
Temperature (max): 29°C
View the stats on Strava

We procrastinated. The forecast was Rain. Drizzle. Grey skies. Wind. We rolled out, anticipating a messy ride. They have the same weather man here that they have at home and he got it all wrong! Our sunburned arms are living proof.

Down the road Randy pulls a sudden U-ey, having spotted a cycle tourist sitting roadside. He was a Russian from Germany, vacationing in Vietnam, sitting together with a Chinese fellow. But that’s not the story here….its the children. Word spread like wildfire that we were there and children popped out of the woodwork all around us. It was a child-extravaganza. Curious, playful & shy—they quickly multiplied in number, a lady explaining that it was all the neighbourhood children, and that they were fascinated at the sight of us.

The Vietnamese children are adorable. We can’t help but notice however that it’s not a child-proof world they live in. While we get a little apprehensive about riding on the hectic roads, we notice small children playing just a few feet away from the edge — literally. Sometimes we veer around them. Children as young as 1 and 2. Maybe everyone looks young to us, but we are sure some of the kids riding motorized scooters are less than 10-years old, sometimes transporting two or three others on their scooter, sharing the road with trucks and buses. Our 4th floor hotel room has a window large enough to pass a sofa through—it can be opened to the outside world, no locks or restraints. At night we strolled the little alleyways of Dong Hỏi and kids are out playing in the dark, happily running up & down their neighbourhood turf without a care in the world. Kids here are not bubble-wrapped!

It’s a Moon Day and we noticed many small fires burning in the streets tonight on our walkabout. We believe it might be “Joss paper burning”, an act to honor ancestors—an important cultural activity in Vietnam. Ancestor worship has been fully absorbed into the Vietnamese consciousness—nearly every home or business had a small (sometimes large!) altar which is used to commune with ancestors.

The more we discover the more fascinating Vietnam becomes.

Our rainy drizzly morning.

Some of the village children (the ones who aren’t too shy for a photo)

Randy finally found a hose—the bikes are filthy!

An alter for worshipping ancestors

Joss paper burning.

Posted in Vietnam 2024.


  1. Looks like another amazing day on your adventure! Loving your daily updates. Have a good rest for the next day of travel!

  2. It is great that you are comfortable roaming around in the real Vietnam. Your experience is priceless. Thanks for sharing. have a great day.

  3. Your writing is so impressive and I feel like I am right there in the midst. I hope one day you will write a book with a compilation of all these adventures.

  4. Looking awesome you two…Life is a journey……your making it a great one….stay safe an don’t let your guard down when tired….Stay refreshed……go 🇨🇦

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