Low Points on Highway Number One
Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
360Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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Things went downhill after that, starting with a trip to two bakeries which didn't sell bread – outrageous. We gave them a lecture about false advertising and eventually found some rubbish stuff in a shop and set off to find a relaxing place to eat it. This part of Vietnam is as bad as India for littering and the scenery has been devastated by piles of rubbish everywhere. We eventually perched on a railing by a river and ate some horrible bread whilst watching some fishermen. (Should have been quite nice, but with the grey sky, honking horns and general filth, it really wasn’t!) We then did 30 miles to Ha Tien, where it started to drizzle as we sat down for lunch in a street stall
We were the only people there, but I think this was due to timing rather than anything else, as the ladies served an amazing meal, including some lumps of crispy roast pork to die for. We left completely stuffed having yet again not been ripped off – brilliant.
Highway 1 has been much quieter today and the roadside much less populated – not really sure why, but we like it. We pushed on for another 15 miles before stopping for a drink in a shop where we were served by 3 gorgeous smiling children who were very helpful and keen to find something we would like. They tried out all of their English on us asking us our names as well as where we are from. It’s very hard to work out what goes on about school here, the hours seen extremely odd and the children seem to spend most of their time cycling around. They wear tracksuits instead of a uniform and so far have had the same one across the country.
After leaving the children’s shop we actually saw a primary school , where all of the children were outside practising some kind of cheerleading thing. There was one teacher to 400 children, most of whom seemed to be doing as they were told apart from a naughty boy in the middle who was karate chopping everyone around him
For the last 15 miles before our destination of Ky Anh we noticed another very disturbing thing; Outside every house/shop along the road we saw one or two teenage girls standing looking out. It took a while for it to register, but it became clear that they although they had tracksuits tops on, they were all wearing high heels as well and occasionally men were stopping. We only really noticed, because they were standing out in the rain not doing anything. Their very young age was horribly sad, as was the fact that small kids were playing outside as well. We’ve since read online that this area is notorious for this and that many families rent rooms to these working girls, who ply their trade whilst the children of the family are doing their homework in the next room. Again, we knew this is another problem here (and have been avoiding the many hotels offering massage and special saunas as well as those with 'bang’ in the title!) but cycling past being greeted and waved at by these girls makes it so shocking.
Arriving in town, there was only one hotel, which looked like exactly the kind of place we want to avoid, but we’ve managed to find a guesthouse, which is not too bad. We’re not venturing into the horrible town tonight, luckily lunch filled us up anyway, and are online planning our way out of here!
NOTE: Anyone thinking of visiting Vietnam, need not be put off our experiences. There is no reason to visit any of the places we are, unless you are on a bike! The rest of the country looks beautiful, Hanoi and Sapa certainly were.