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Vietnam Motorcycle Diaries

By Eman Baha

Feb. 22, 2013 11:54 p.m.

Vietnamese ex-gangster, friend and escort, Toi (left), helps UCLA fourth-year student Vincent Ho start up his newly bought Honda motorcycle.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

At a rest stop on our way from Hanoi, a little girl plays with a sugar cane machine, which her family uses to produce sugar cane juice, a popular drink in Vietnam.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Early on in our journey, one of our motorcycles broke down and our crew was forced to stop at a gas station in the outskirts of Hanoi. Pictured here (from left) are fourth-year students Michelle Koepp (a Daily Bruin video staffer) and Vincent Vinho, Toi's friend Thai, his girlfriend Lily, a British national who was teaching English in Hanoi, and Toi.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Fourth-year student Michelle Koepp shows her damaged arm to the camera after having her first frightening crash on rough terrain. The majority of the riders, including myself, experienced some sort of fall or crash during the journey. (Michelle and I both crashed our bikes twice.)

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

While traveling south toward Saigon, the former capital of South Vietnam, we arrived at the watery town of Ninh Binh, where residents use their feet instead of their hands to row.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A Vietnamese local rows himself and another along a lake in a watery town.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Hundreds of rafts lie next to each other in the calm waters of the lake in Ninh Binh.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A large chunk of our motorcycle journey consisted of biking through muddy and wet terrain. Pictured here is one of the crew's motorcycles, covered by bags and water protection.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A Vietnamese woman smiles while riding her water buffalo carriage along the muddy streets. She was very delighted to see a foreigner with a camera.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A woman whisks by on her motorcycle while we take a break to enjoy the scenery.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Unsurprisingly, another one of our motorcycles broke down, this time, at night and in the middle of nowhere. We were very lucky that this caring Vietnamese man stopped to help us repair it.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

An older sister and her two younger brothers pose for the camera at a beachside village area where we stopped to eat along the way. My foreign appearance and particularly my camera fascinated these youngsters.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A young Vietnamese man walks along the shore near the ocean.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

I ran into these three children in a village where we were eating. The young villagers were kind enough to let me into their backyard, which led to a large body of water.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

The entire motorcycle gang is pictured here, having dinner prepared by a Vietnamese couple that was kind enough to take us on their boat. (From left to right: Toi, Michelle Koepp, the Vietnamese couple, Amanda Deering, Vincent Ho, Tara Rangchi and myself)

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

An imperial palace in the historical and ancient city of Hue.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

In the historical city of Hoi An, a vendor sells boxed candles to tourists. The candles are meant to be blown out after making a wish and then placed into the water.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A woman lights a candle on the side of the street as she prepares to make a wish.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A water buffalo looks up at my camera, taking a break from its daily activities in the field.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A farmer watches as her water buffalo come out of the water after a swim.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Translated, the sign reads, "The party along with the people will make a beautiful, prosperous, and distinguished city."

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Shooting a puzzled glance, a man looks toward the camera as he passes by in the middle of a small town.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Our group routinely stopped at villages and various small towns eat meals with families. We stopped here to have some Vietnamese cuisine.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Pho is a popular and traditional dish in Vietnam. It is served with rice noodle soup, beef and fresh herbs.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

Two female workers take a break from their routine of harvesting wet rice and then drying it on the side of the road.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

As the sun approaches the horizon, Michelle waves at the camera as Vincent and Toi finish gathering their things in order to hit the road.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A cardboard depiction of a Vietnamese vendor in a shop in Saigon. Female vendors who walk around carrying produce are common throughout Vietnam.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

A vendor walks along the street, looking for potential customers for her fruits.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

More than a 1,000 miles and three weeks later, our journey finally reached an end in the bustling and crowded city of Saigon.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

This is a picture of myself on an old Honda motorcycle I bought for $200 in Hanoi. I bought the motorcycle with the assistance of an ex-mafia member, Toi, who my group and I met outside of a hostel.

(Eman Baha/Daily Bruin)

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