Going to... Tam Dao, Tam Dao!

Hanoi, September 24  2009

We landed on Noi Bai Airport at 9:40 AM and were fetched by our rented car from Sunshine Travel. Our first destination was Honda Vietnam and next would be Tam Dao National Park on the consideration that we would pass by Honda Vietnam on the way from Noi Bai Airport to Tam Dao National Park

I had confirmed this itinerary with my travel agent in Sunshine Travel beforehand. Therefore, I assumed that the driver must know where to go. The deal was 80 USD for a pick up at Noi Bai Airport at 10:00 AM and finish at our hotel in Hanoi the latest by 10:00 PM
I was quite impressed by the broadways and people cycling alongside. I have always loved cycling. I have a tendency to fall in love with a country of bicyclers. Bicycles reminds me of peace, of adventure, and of my childhood.

Suddenly my eyes jumped into a huge red "HONDA" sign on the left side of the street. 

"Hey! That's Honda Vietnam, isn't it?"

The driver, young, slim, and handsome, said not a word.

"That's Honda Vietnam Factory, isn't it?" I repeated.

Mr. Handsome kept on concentrating on his steering wheel.

"Hey! Isn't that Honda Vietnam Factory? I want to go there."

Mr. Handsome turned his head to me. "Tam Dao," he said.

"But I want to go to Honda Vietnam first. And then, to Tam Dao."

Mr. Handsome picked up his letter of assignment and pointed to it. "Tam Dao, Tam Dao."

I started to get furious. I stretched my left hand and said, "Honda Vietnam." then stretched my right hand and said again, "Tam Dao."

"Tam Dao, Tam Dao!"

By then the big red "Honda" began to get smaller and smaller. "Before going to Tam Dao, I want to go to Honda Vietnam first. Just turn around, please."

"Tam Dao, Tam Dao!" He raised his voice a little.

I panicked. "Stoooppp!!!"

Mr. Handsome stopped the car, at last. Instead of turning by the U Turn, he opened his window and shouted a view words to some men sitting by the side of the street. They pointed to the direction where we had come from. Mr. Handsome rolled up his window and turned around. Didn't he believe me that that was Honda Vietnam Factory?? I should have given him my name card so that he'd see that I'm a Honda emlpoyee. Or he just can't get it that a tourist would visit a motorcycle factory for sightseeing.

Hirose-san was already waiting for me in the lobby. He looked very much the same as the last time we met in Indonesia 4-5 years ago. He's now a Senior Manager. Wow! Congrats!!

Kindly he took me around for a plant tour. First I was impressed by the plastic painting area. Everything was painted red. Unlike our painting line in AHM which looks colorful just like a rainbow. Hirose-san said that red is the Vietnamese favorite color. May be it has something to do with as being a socialist country.

The second thing that impressed me was the very spacious and cozy cafeteria. It's obviously a place to lay down all stress and tiredness. Hirose-san treated us with milk lemon juice. Very chiling!

Silly me, I forgot to take pictures in Honda Vietnam :(  All I had been thinking was: Tam Dao, Tam Dao!

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