Monday morning seemed like every other day.  But for only biking until about 2pm, the team really packed some action into the day.

We had breakfast at the hotel (which was still ornately decorated from a wedding reception the night before in lime green and yellow decorations).  Steve gave us all matching bracelets to wear that he picked up from the local market – Thanks Steve! – and then proceeded to jump on stage for a quick dance.  Sometimes he would just dance…interpretive dancing.  It happened. And it was wonderful every time.

We hopped in the vans for an hour and a half drive out of Nha Trang.  Today was going to have 2 mountain passes!  We did a 20k warm-up that was relatively flat and stopped for a break just before the mountain.  What a beautiful view!  Unfortunately, I decided fall off my bike (at a fairly slow speed) when we were all leaving break.  I managed to scrap up my arm and left knee pretty good.  I guess I just wanted a matching injury to the scar on my right knee from a similar fall in 2007.  Man! 

It didn’t hurt so bad so I continued biking.  I picked up a van ride right before the top of the 2nd pass to get my wounds cleaned up and we immediately found John on the side of the rode with a broken bike chain.  But he was fine – a local Vietnamese man was there helping him fix it.  They are really, really friendly and it was so nice of this guy to stop and lend a hand when John would have otherwise had to wait awhile for the bike truck to catch up.  Our bike mechanics weren’t far behind to finish up the fix and John was on his way.  Another fall was soon to follow for another rider, but the day was almost over – a light at the end of the tunnel.

After the mountain and a break we biked the last 20k into Tuy Hoa along Hwy 1 where there were loads of rice being dried on the sides of the road.  It’s an incredible sight.  Cars, trucks and motorbikes (and bicycles!) are whizzing by and both shoulders of the road are covered in rice that is being sifted, moved, and bagged by the rice paddy workers.  It’s quite the system they’ve got going on. 

I ended up doing most of this 20k by myself just because everyone was going different speeds.  I rode into Tuy Hoa and just kept going straight.  Come to find out – I was supposed to turn.  I got all the way to the end of town and realized I had gone to far.  The other piece of bad news was that storm clouds had rolled in and it was starting to rain.  I quickly turned around and started hauling back the way I had just biked thinking I would run into someone that was behind me.  But it never happened and it started to pour!

I pulled over under a gas station with about 30+ motorbikes.  No one spoke English except for “hello!” so when I asked if they had seen any other Americans on bicycles, there was a lot lost in translation.  I didn’t have a phone or anyone’s phone number to find out where the hotel/team were so I just waiting…and waiting.  The rain was pouring so hard that you could barely see the vehicles on the road.  To my surprise, I saw our bike truck slam on the brakes outside the gas station and Mr. Khai rolled down the window, yelling “We fooooound you!!!”.  It was such a relief to see him!

I hopped in the truck and they took me over to the hotel where most of the girls were there with a dry towel and welcoming me back.   It seemed like it had been a long day, but it was only 3pm.  We all got showers and met Mr. Viet (the director of GVN Vietnam) upstairs for a presentation on GVN Vietnam’s mission, programs, and volunteer opportunties. 

Later we got to hang out with some of the kids we had raised funds for!!  This was definitely the highlight of the day.  We traveled to the Home of Affection in Tuy Hoa where we passed out books and got to see a performance of a few songs by some of the older girls.  We went across the street with the kids and crew for dinner.  This might have been my favorite meal.  It was a make-your-own-spring rolls kind of of place.  The little girls that Andrea and I sat with had a great time making food for us.  Even though we can’t speak their language, we can still play and take silly pictures.  Very silly pictures.  All the kids loved the cameras and loved taking pictures too.  They were the cutest!

I couldn’t wait to meet more of them!

Joy

   

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