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.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dong Hoi-Vinh

Total Distance:199.88km
Total Time:10h28m28s
Average Speed:19.0km/h
Maximum Speed:49.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:5885.50km

0.22km shy of 200km, and 14.5km shy of breaking 6000km for the whole trip. Dang! If I wasn't so tired when I got to Vinh, I would have just riden around for a while and broken a couple of records. However I was tired. Drop dead tired. It was a long, long day. I didn't sleep well the previous evening. As it turns out, Karaoke is the number one pass time amoung the citizens of Dong Hoi. The streets are lined with Karaoke Bars. Every cafe and hotel, including the one I was staying in, is equiped with it's own machine. Not only is it very loud, coming at you from every direction, and anight long event, but it's also very poorly performed. I know I'm not one to talk. Every time I try my hand at karaoke, I get booed off the stage. At least I can point my finger at the fact that every time I try my hand at karaoke, I'm drunk. These guys just sit around drinking coffee all night. At least they're having fun.
The ride to Vinh was not only long, but very boring. This has got to be the most boring part of Vietnam. Between Saigon and Vinh, traffic wasn't too bad. However it started to pick up just before I got to Vinh and, I imagine, it's destined to continue until I reach Hanoi. Vinh is a strange place. I know I say that a lot, but Vietnam is full of strange places. I taken to singing "People Are Strange" as I ride my bike. The people there really creeped me out. I guess I didn't stay directly in Vinh. I opted for a hotel right on the edge of the city so I would be close tp the highway the next morning. Maybe there was a higher sense of normality in the city center.
I attempted to find something to eat, which was not that easy. First I went to this restaurant and attempted to order some chicken and rice. As I was sitting at my table I was suddenly surrounded by about fifteen people, just standing there gawking at me. This happens quite a bit here, but this time made me feel particularily uncomfortable. In the end I packed it in and split before the food showd up. When I was leaving my hotel earlier I noticed a little place to eat across the street. It looked a little shadey, but I was hungry so I thought what the hell. I went in and attempted to order a Coke. As it turns out, they only had two options in the drink department... Beer or Red Bull. I have a strict "NO BEER BEFORE BIKING" policy, so I opted for the Red Bull. I didn't recognize any of the dishes on the menu, and the people there didn't speak english. I decided to take a chance and point to something with the word "ga" in it, as I know ga means chicken in Vietnamese. Yep, it was chicken feet. Toe nails and all. I found the toe nails a little disturbing. I was really hungry though, plus "when in Rome...", so I ate it. It actually wasn't that bad. They fry them up in this really great sauce, sort of like chicken wings you would get in a local pub. Those chicken feet don't have a lot of meat on them though, and I left still a little hungry.

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