Friday 12th February
And also, lots of rubbish, which was a bit of a shame. I don’t think there is great infrastructure for waste disposal in Vietnam, as over the last week we’ve seen people dumping their rubbish by the side of the road and in lakes quite a few times.
After cycling Laos’ main roads (the only option in Laos!) and after a week on highway 1, I had forgotten that this is how cycle touring is meant to be. Small roads, a little window into local life and no thundering juggernauts doing insane things.
Saturday 13th February
Having now had just over a week on highway 1, we are both in agreement that the coach drivers are the worst offenders. More than once today we yelled out with alarm as we watched them only just dodge each other while at high speeds (all seen from a safe distance, tucked away on our hard shoulder).
It was hot, we were bored and had headaches from all the beeps.
When we found a hotel that offered a room for a pricey £18 we decided that today we could treat ourselves a bit.
We vegged out watching Return of the Jedi and eating Choco Pies (they are basically chunky wagon wheels without the jam, and are the most available chocolatey thing in Vietnam).
Sunday 14th February
We had our usual banh mi for breakfast. You buy them from these little street stalls. Behind the counter are bowls full of different ingredients, and the stall owner whips round each bowl with a spoon or a pair of chopsticks, inserting at least eight ingredients into a baguette, including chilli – it always leaves my mouth on fire every morning.
After an hour of busy roads things quietened down.
The best thing that happened today was at lunch time. A couple who were eating at the same restaurant as us asked where we were going. It turned out that they lived in Ho Cho Minh City, and after we’d been talking for a while they offered to meet up with us when we arrived there. They made my day! I look forward to seeing them.
After dinner we explored Bong Son for snacks (the only reason we ever explore on a cycling day), returning to our guesthouse room with rambutan, a mango and two giant steamed buns filled with pork and quails eggs. Delicious! Vietnam, you’ve done it again.
Monday 15th February
The roads grew busier today, but the views were just as good as yesterday.
Eric got stressed, wondering if he had taken the wrong turn. There aren’t many signposts in Vietnam. He was waiting for us to cross a river, and didn’t know why we hadn’t reached it yet.
We crossed the river. We were on the right road.
We arrived at our hotel in Quy Nhon, which isn’t far from the beach. This place is a popular beach destination for the Vietnamese rather than the westerners, so now that the New Year’s holiday is over, it should be nice and quiet.
This evening we were monsters of indulgence. There’s a KFC here, and I felt both excited and guilty to eat there (Eric’s emotions were a bit more one-dimensional). Afterwards we went to a big supermarket and bought ice cream, biscuits and our favourite tropical fruits, which were all eaten in bed while watching American TV. Some people joke that the best part of skiing is the aprés ski. To them I say: try aprés cycle touring – it’s a lot more shameless.