Fortuitious meeting with the French Fry King

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

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Flag of Vietnam  , Bình Ðịnh,
Friday, February 25, 2011

Waking up in our little room bathed in sunshine and opening the doors to the balcony made a great start to the day. Although Mikey woke at 7 and spent a productive hour and a half catching up on the blog, I was very sleepy from yesterday's 74 miles, so we didn’t leave until 9.30. After half a mile we found an excellent breakfast of scrambled egg baguette. It was cooked on a roadside trolley by a happy old lady and her friend even had a cooler of drinks to accompany it. We refused all of the mad extras she wanted to put in the sandwich (pork shavings, fish sticks, bok choi and chilli), but were not quite quick enough to stop the big squirt of fish sauce she felt was essential – actually tasted ok with eggs. Lots of people gathered round to have a look at us eating, and were very funny and friendly. One guy inspected my bike for a long time and after playing around with it pointed out that the front wheel is slightly buckled - I know, we just keep having more fun things to do on days off than go to bike shops and sort stuff out. He was only satisfied when I explained I was getting it fixed soon. Everyone looking on liked listening to the bike’s stereo and waved us off with big smiles.

The highway was hot and hectic for the rest of the day. Loads of blaring horns and buses making us irritable and hoards of school children who slowed us down because of the sheer numbers of them who have to be overtaken and avoided. The hard shoulder of the highway is actually really crowded, not only with school kids, but food drying out – grass seed, squid and lots of stinky fish on the tarmac. (We assume it’s not ok to ride over these things. It seems very strange to put food in the road but it was also common practise in India.) We are still getting a mixed reception in places and although at one point today we had stones thrown at us again, we also met some amazingly friendly and welcoming people.

We stopped at 30 miles in Duc Pho for a second round of cold drinks and the lovely old lady not only brought chairs out for us next to our bikes and charged us half what the last drinks stop had cost, she brought out her little grandchild to meet us. By this time (12.30) it was really hot, and we decided to get to Sa Huynh, where there was a beach, and spend the afternoon there before doing the last 10 miles to Tam Quan. Although it Sa Huynh was further than expected, and there were some hills on route, we were not disappointed by the beach – it was gorgeous! There was even a resort with a restaurant overlooking the sea. The smells were heavenly as we were starving, and knew that an afternoon spent here in the shade was exactly what we needed.  Unfortunately at this point we realised we only had 70,000 dong left. That sounds like a lot but is in fact about 2.30.  After a fruitless attempt to find an ATM, we had no option but to carry on without our food, swim or rest. We had enough money for a packet of Oreos each and a bottle of water, which we grumpily ate then trudged on.

The scenery was spectacular as we continued, blazing green paddy fields with mountains in the background and occasional glimpses of sea to the left. Luckily it was only 8 miles to Tam Quan and when we got there, we did find an ATM. There was an ok looking hotel in town, but seeing a poster with a big building and some sea we decided to take a risk and follow the signs for a couple of kilometres. A VERY good decision. Not only did we completely chill out as soon as we left the horrendous highway, but after seeing lots of weird and wonderful things being sold in the markets along the street, we came to a river full of pretty looking fishing boats and after that, the sea!

It turned out that the building sign posted was indeed a lovely hotel, but unfortunately it wasn’t completed yet. They had a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the sea which was though, so we had a drink and made friends with the owner’s nephew 'Buu’. He made our day, guiding us to his uncles other hotel, which is finished and is really nice. We’ve got an enormous, sparkling clean room overlooking the river for our usual 8. As he left, he explained that he was the chef at the restaurant and asked us to come back later so that he could cook us calamari and fries! An hour later we ate the most delicious calamari we’ve ever had overlooking the ocean. Buu also told us we’ve got to go back in the morning to have fried eggs and bread before our cycle – amazing. What a day.
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Jojo on

Three cheeers for Buu - what a star - shame about running out of spondoolicks for your lunch break!

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