Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
360Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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Where I stayed
Nha Nghi Thanh Lich
Town was pretty hectic and insanely hot at 9.30 and so as soon as we got our hands on 4 tasty muffins we headed for the coast road. 5 minutes later we realised where we should have stayed last night, lots of nice looking hotels overlooking a beach! Ooops – That’s often what happens when you arrive in the dark without a guide book. Anyway, we found some deckchairs on the seafront where a lady made us some delicious drinks made of passionfruit, ice and loads of sugar, which we drank with our freshly baked muffins
It got better when, just as we turned off onto a small track, which we hoped was the coast road, we bumped into two more cyclists. Amazingly, one turned out to be Tim, who we had met in Kunming, a few weeks before. Catching up and finding out what they’d been up to saw us through the first 10 miles of some steep hills, but they seemed to have some kind of super-charged turbo boosters on their bikes and so we agreed that we would meet up later in the day and hopefully watch the Carling Cup final.
Mikey and I carried on a more chilled out pace, and even took time to have a paddle on the beach. It was another great ride, with spectacular views. The people in this area have been lovely and we’ve had some great encounters today, mostly buying mad food. At the top of one very steep hill we managed to buy some cover-up gloves as our hands are so sunburnt and hurt all the time. The gloves are flesh coloured with lace cuffs and I think they make Mikey look like a serial killer, but they really do the job! All of the Vietnamese women wear them as well as facemasks and large hats so that they don’t get brown. It’s hilarious to see them so covered up in the day, and then wearing really short shorts at night
We arrived in Chi Thanh by 3.30. Pete and Tim were already there and had found a very cheap and friendly guest house so we decided to give ourselves a break and have a short day. The guesthouse lady is really funny and talkative, imagining if she keeps speaking Vietnamese to us we will come to understand it – unlikely. However she very is efficient and even managed to arrange for us to borrow her friend’s moped for a couple of hours at the very fair price of £1.50.
We had hoped to find a beach for a quick swim, but instead turned off the highway to find a fascinating fishing village and lots more friendly people wondering what on earth we were doing in their village. We bought some delicious baguettes filled with 8 unidentified ingredients and washed them down with some freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. The scenery was gorgeous and the array of seafood on offer spectacular - all different kinds of shell fish, including masses of oysters, and big buckets of blue jelly fish. We took a bumpy track all the way along the coast, before returning to the highway to see the sunset over the mountains.
Fortunately, despite the baguettes, we were still starving, as we’ve just come back from an evening meal where we were served two entire chickens. 2 sets of boiled thighs, 2 sets of roasted wings and two bowls of noodles and chicken liver, heart and who knows what other bits! Boiled chicken is not nice, and the offal/noodle soups weren’t great either, but the roast was delicious. Really hope we’re feeling ok this time tomorrow, after a day of getting stuck into local food and drink!