On November 4th Fred the bike is embarking on a six month journey across Southeast Asia. Starting in Singapore, Fred plans to make his way up the west coast of Malaysia, across Thailand, Cambodia, up through Vietnam and into Laos. After that... who knows? Fred invites you to follow him through his adventure. Any advice from fellow travelers is always welcome.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saigon-Gia Ray

Total Distance:114.48km
Total Time:6h07m38s
Average Speed:18.7km/h
Maximum Speed:46.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:4330.76km

Okay, first things first. I didn't exactly stop in Gia Ray. To tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure where I was. However I know it waws a little past Gia Ray, so we;ll stick with that for now. The days ride could have gone better. It started out fine. I left Saigon relatively early, giving myself plenty of time. I had hoped to make it all the way to Mui Nei. However it is over 200km away, so I was more than prepared to stop if need be. I stopped for lunch at a tiny little place on the side of the highway. The woman running it spoke surprisingly good english. We chatted it up a little. She seemed rather disturbed over the fact that I wasn't yet married. She told me she had a forty year old son in Saigon who would marry me if I wanted. At first I though she was joking, buit as the conversation progressed I realized she was dead serious. Needless to say, I felt pretty uncomfortable and was eager to leave. I got back on the road and continued down the path. After about an hour something went terribly wrong with Fred. My gears are not working like they should. I spent a good two hours trying to fix it to the best of my abilities. Hopefully I'll be able to find a decent bike shop in Dalat, otherwise Fred and I may be bus bound untill NaTrang or even Hanoi.
I stopped at a hotel on the side of the road a little past Gia Ray. I asked how much it was, prepared to press on if it was too expensive. The told me 55,000vnd, which works out to a little over $3US. For Vietnam this is a great deal. I settled into my room, took a short nap and set off to find something to eat. Upon walking out the front door, they stopped me to tell me they had made a mistake. The price was 150,000vnd. I was pretty upset. I asked if there was other hotels in the area, and they said there were. It was already startong to get dark, and I'm not crazy about riding around at night. I left in search of another hotel. I looked and looked, but could not find one. Finally I stopped at a gas station and asked. I was told the next hotel was 20km away. I went back to the hotel I initially started at and haggled them down to 100,000vnd. I've been finding the question in Vietnam is not if you're going to get ripped off, but rather how badly you're going to get ripped off. You really have to watch it here. They take full advantage of foreigners.
The experience at the hotel was a bad one, but was counteracted by my dining experience. While I was eating my noodles, three young girls decided to come join me. Slowly more and more people gathered around me, saying whatever phrases and words they knew in english. It was a little overwhelming, but nice.

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