Rolling through the Rice Paddies

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hanh Hoa Vien Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  , Yên Bái,
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I have never stayed above a mattress shop before. You would think that with all of those lovely soft bases below, one would sleep very well.  We did not, suffering the most with a ridiculous amount of noise from the hotel.  It seems that Tet, the Vietnamese New Year is being milked. 

Having just left town we met another tourer.  This guy was French and was cycling up to where we had come.  We had the "Where have you come from?  Where are you going?" chat and left him wishing him well on his journey.

We stopped just out of town to have breakfast, apple and coconut bread which we had brought from Sapa.  So far, Vietnam in like India in many ways.  It was very hard to find anywhere to stop and sit because the roadsides are so populated.  When we did sit we were immediately joined by some locals who photographed us on their mobiles and then used their full armoury of English.  They were sweet enough and confirmed that the guy in the tourist office had been full of absolute rubbish. They told us that the road onwards was in fact very up and down and difficult for bicycles, totally contradicting the claim that the way to Hanoi was flat if not downhill.

The day continued in a relaxed way.  It was relatively easy cycling.  When we did go up, we immediately got the pay off, rolling down the other side of the hill.  There was very little flat, it was either up or down but nothing to annoy.  Talking of being annoyed, I am going to take this opportunity to send out a request.  If you know a bus driver, or if you happen to find one in the next few days, please can you go up and give them a kick in the *$@~#.  I hate to generalise, but we have had enough.  In every country we have been to, bus drivers have posed the biggest danger and show the least regard for anyone else on the road.  Several times today we were wobbled off by buses and even more annoyingly had to deal with their almighty beeps as they passed. When did they think that letting off a foghorn just as you passed somebody would make the road a safer place?  So please, go and have a go at a bus driver, they are all the same!

The scenery was great, dominated by close ups of rice paddies.  They have looked spectacular from up high with the sun lighting them up and it is really interesting to actually see them up close.  The farmers waded through the knee high mud, urging on their buffallo to drag the heavy plough through the thick gooey sludge.

Everybody shouted 'hello' as we passed. The little kids were really excited but even the older folk gave us a shout and a wave.  There were lots of puppies to look at along the way and the tweeting of caged canaries provided the backing track.  Another nomination for funny things carried on the back of a moped, today a whole pig was seen strapped across the back in a special 'moped pig carrier cage'.

Lunch was a repeat of the pork and rice we had yesterday, this time flavoured with fresh ginger.  The afternoon that followed was very straightforward if not dragging on for an unexpected 6 miles. We only had one other stop for drinks where we shared some chocolate coins with the shop lady.   We then took the first hotel we saw.  The little chap (as he pushed Pollys bike all of his friends laughed as he reached up to the handlebars) was very keen for us to stay and we were just pleased to be finishing cycling before 4pm.  The karaoke downstairs is absolutely hideous, it surely cannot go on all night?

Answer - no, phew Karaoke finished. When we went down it was just one girl warbling away making a terrible racket. We went next door for a beer and met lots more drunk holiday makers. I'm really looking forward to Tet being over and people going back to work and not spending all their time drinking homebrews. Our friend at the hotel had more beers on the table for us when we came back, and brought us out another delicious meal of pork, rice and veg. Think we'll have to brave the chicken or fish tommorrow. Having said that we still ate every mouthful despite having had the same meal three times in a row! Mikey's had a rant about bus drivers above, and I would like to add that women should not be allowed on mopeds. I was very nearly wiped out by one today for the third time and its not funny. Despite me screaming and shouting from where I been pushed off the road, she carried on completely oblivious. Just snuggling up to watch a film now. Night Night xx

Miles cycled – 57 rolling rice field filled miles
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Elizabeth on

Night night guys! Lets hope you have nice empty roads from now on! xx

triciagick on

Sleep well you two. Note taken about bus drivers - Polly says the Havant one is a nightmare, but we can't be rude to him because he is the father of one of her ex pupils! Will watch out for laddettes on scooters!! Had a nice morning's bridge here - wonderful sunny day and it's only just getting dark her at 5.45pm - Spring is coming and I have daffodils in a vase on the table - lovely. Just had a hair cut and relived the happy India days as Lee (Philip's hair washer) has done the triangle and simply adores India - she was adament she wanted to see some of my photos - someone to bore with my 1000 plus masterpieces! Tons of love xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
PS think I may change my photo profile soon

Jojo on

Christopher is your man to give grief to bus driver Mikie he threatened to pull the Bosham guys ears off if he didn't improve his act! I am sure all those lay-abouts will get back to work tomorrow and all resturants and road side cafes etc will be up and running again with sustinance for the wear traveller. I have got an oxtail stew in the oven but CJB confessed he wasn't too partial to it - heigh ho yoou can't win them all.

Lots of love fromus both xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Spigaroo on

Hello lads, exciting that you'll be in Hanoi soon. Just a note to say go and see the water puppets in Hanoi - I thought they were brilliant, totally unlike anything I'd seen before. Also pay a trip to 'Fanny's' Ice cream! Properly good ice cream. And if you've got time go to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum - bizarre but an amazing experience. Hope you're both well and happy Xxx

triciagick on

You will see that Olaf wanted to show you his new slippers bought by Dan the man in Nepal! Spotted Yeb Bai on my map and am wondering if ;you are now on your way to Phu Tho or even

triciagick on

Viet Tri (sorry computer had a wobbly moment). My map runs out shortly after Hanoi, so I hope Amazon gets my next one to me soon. 5.15 pm your time so I hope you've reached a nice berthing place.
All love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Elizabeth&Olaf on

Lovely photo of olaf tricia! And he does love his stripy shoes! The poor mite had a temperature yesterday and then decided he was fine, just very awake ALL NIGHT! Was up at midnight and then pretty much on the hour! AND he still hasn't napped since being up at 7 - is now midday and he has swimming! best go but all our love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Mum Neville on

Talking off bus drivers! Yesterday I took my driving test for the bus at work.As we started of I was driving along a road with parked cars on my side and a succession of roadworks on other side .A 700 bus coming towards me was waiting for me and a whole line of traffic behind me to pass him.However I was unable to proceed pass him as a white van had parked on double yellows opp where he was waiting.I asked if he could poss move back a little-a negative nod of the head .He just sat there!! I tried again .This time he wasn't even looking!After a few mins and traffic mounting up someone persuaded him to reverse so we could all proceed! A very obstinate bus driver and great that I should meet him on my test.Alls well though and I passed ok.Speak soon xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Mum

Amanda on

I am with daddy on the oxtail thing, doesn't tickle my fancy at all! Bus drivers are definitely maniacs, I would never ride a moped - I remember trying something Dannol had once and me and the bike wound up in a hedge... Love Olafs boots he is so spoilt - pressies from all over the world! I had a flat tyre today and a lovely policeman had to help me change the tyre (perk of having NIck Clegg living down the road - there is always a friendly policeman at hand). Obviously daniel has to sort me out with a new tyre and I it was probably his fault that there was a nail in the road so I assume he will give me rates akin to those he gives his sister! Miss you both lots - 2nd placement starts on Monday vvvv nervous! Really nice school and really nice children so think Ill be alright xxxx
Assignments are a different matter - seem to be getting thicker by the minute - yikes! xx

Alan - Dad on

No comments to date but wht a fantasitic commmentry it has been so far , Have told a few to read as an intro to modern youth activities 146 Lost on a mountain 147 Walking in a winter wonderland, and the most amazing birthday 159 Broken birthdays and bridges. It is quite fantastic to read and really look forward to more..
On a more mundane topic Alice now has a "chipped down where needed" and styrene painted deck. We have the first charter on Sat 12 th March - really cold - the weather is cold till May. Missing Newton - so dull walking without him - probably vist Lowestaft this month and will report back directly. Vietnam sounds good - still can't get my mind off Pokhara.
Looking foreward to more blog of Vietnam. Best love Dad

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