Apr 172011

Our first day of biking!!

We met for breakfast at 6am the next morning.  What I forgot to mention before is that they have baby bananas here!  They are so cute…and only about 3 inches long.  Love them.  😛  Also, they play a lot of american music…including the Lion Sleeps Tonight and My Heart Will Go On.  Love that too. 

We drove 2 hours outside of Ho Chi Minh City to get away from traffic and get to a place where we could take smaller roads through the towns.  Big trucks are only allowed on Highway 1 which runs North and South from the capital to Siagon….so we only drive that road when we need to.

We stopped for lunch at a GORGEOUS waterfront restaurant and sat outide along the water under a grass-roofed structure.  The food was delicious as expected and I found out later that I had eaten squid.  I would have never known.  😛 

Our next rest stop was located at a small lean-to on the side of the road with small chairs and hammocks.  Perfect.  Let me take a nap.  The only problem with sitting or laying down is the getting up part again.  That is the worst.  But we did it again and again.  Since we had to drive 2 hours in the morning, we didn’t start until later and so it was the heat of the day.  The heat here is just ridiculous.  I’m not sure the exact temps but it feels like the high 90s with very high humidity.  Everyone is just drenched.  I’m pretty sure it’s really sexy.  Ha.  The biking is fairly easy….mostly flat with some downhills and a few hills.  The scenery is amazing.  Think rice patties on your right and water buffalo hanging out on your left.  And sometimes you’re riding next to some cows that seem to be traveling in the same direction. 

The other thing I love is all the children and really the adults too….yelling “hello! hello! hello!” everytime we pass by.  After awhile you realized you’re starting to pronounc hello the same way they do and it’s humorous.  There was one point where we passed a group of school kids on their bikes going home and there was one boy with 2 other kids on his bike….riding faster than me.  I mean, seriously?  More power to ’em. 

Everyone is on bicycles or motorbikes around here.  And anything you can possibly imagine gets carried on a bike.  A ladder, glass, fish in bags, a whole convenience store worth of snacks, tons of boxes….flowers….entire families.  You name it, they can do it.  Jen, one of the leaders, has seen waterbuffalo on a motorbike before! And pigs!  I don’t even know how that’s possible but it is in Vietnam!

Our mileage for this trip has been a little off.  It seems they have over estimated how long it takes to go a certain distance in Vietnam with the heat and also a hybrid bicycle.  100+ miles on a road bike in the US can easily be done in a day.  It’s not as easy here.  So I think I did about 50km on Saturday.  It started to get dark so we all got picked up to take the van the rest of the way to the resort.  And yes, it was a resort right on the ocean.  I mean, THE SEA!! The South China Sea!!  I put my feet in there!  Even though it was dark when we arrived, there was an almost-full moon and a cloudless sky.  I grabbed a beer from the bar and took a short walk on the beach before dinner.  Ah, the life. 

There was a whole strip of resorts in this area.  But it’s very remote.  I think there is a philosophy of “if you build it, they will come.”  But these are all very new and so there were not many people there besides our group.  It was delighful. 

Well, it’s almost time for dinner here (it’s Sunday night while I write this)…so I will try to write more later tonight.  :)

Hopefully it all makes sense…


p.s. This is a shout out to John who is on the trip and is a rockstar. True story.


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