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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hoa Binh-Mai Chau

TOtal Distance:74.27km
Total Time:4h26m22s
Average Speed:14.0km/h
Maximum Speed:46.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:6337.25km

I haven't had access to a computer for a few days, so excuse me if I use present tense for things that obviously have happened in the past. I've been keeping entries in my journal so I wouldn't forget anything.
Hills, hills, and...did I mention the hills? I'm back in the mountains now. I'd almost forgotten how gruelling those heavy climbs can be. I guss I had better get used to it, as I suspect I'll be in the mountains for some time to come. Today was particularily hard. The climbs were long, though not nearly as steep as those I encountered on my way to Delat. There were a few downslopes, one great one just before I hit Mai Chau. However the majority of the ride was uphill. I guess the days of 200km rides are done. It was insanely hot. I got a flat tire, which I have become a pro at changing by this point. Around 11:00 I started to get really hungry. Biking in the scortching heat with a rumbling tummy is a recipe for disaster, so I thought it best to stop and fuel up. I attempted to stop at three different roadside restaurants, all of which full on ignored my presents when I walked in. They didn't acknowledge me, wouldn't servre me. It was a complete waist of my time. I would understand if they were busy, but all three of them had nobody in the place except for me. Even when I tried to talk to them, the would just ignore me. Finally I found somewhere willing to serve me. I ordered, not really knowing what I had ordered. As I was sitting there waiting I peered into the kitchen and what sis I see? A dog head with the meat shaved off almost to the bone. Needless to say, I ate the rice and vegtables they brought, but neglected the meat.
I made it to Mai Chau. I would have liked to press on a little further. I've heard good things about Mai Chau though, so I thought it was worth visiting. I'm sure glad I did. What a great place. Nestled in the mountains of Northern Vietnam lays this quiet and serene litle village. The guesthouses come in the form of stilt houses, and run at only about $3 or $4/night. The furnishings include nothing more than a matress and a fan. It's absolutely fantastic. Just what I needed. I'm sitting at a table beneath my stilt house, writting in my journal, with a beer in hand (yes, I am breaking the no beer before biking rule, but I bloody well deserve it so LAY OF!!!), with a stunning view of the mountains before me. It's agreat change from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. Perhaps there is hope for Vietnam after all.

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