As fellow riders have already suggested, these last few days have been punctuated by all sorts of unexpected twists and turns and general randomness. Yesterday's short 50-something km ride placed us by a lake, where we spent a good part of the afternoon relaxing by a statue of Uncle Ho listening to some tunes (Chet brought some mini-speakers) and attempting an ultimately unsuccessful (but amusing nonetheless) seach for a karaoke with English songs/internet cafe.
We settled for ice cream.
Today proved even more bizarre. We did indeed expect a day similar to yesterday, getting us to our destination early. However, due to a scenic/erroneous detour up a mountain along with a road that was impossible to ride in some bits (barely got unclipped before a flat dirt patch suddenly turned into a steep incline of mud), our ride was much longer....and just that much better as well! At one well-timed rest stop, a few of us had just finished our muscle-flex photo op, and were psyching ourselves up with a combo "Peanut Butter Jelly Time"/"Iron Man Dance," when a van of three Vietnamese guys pulled up, blasted the bass, and launched the Katies and me into a full-on dance party frenzy..in the middle of the road. A few kilometres on, we stopped for a minute and were immediately surrounded by first about 5...and then about 30 schoolchildren, complete with red scarves and blue sun umbrellas. After the requisite photo ops, Ruth, Justene, Sam, the Katies, and I broke out the Hokey Pokey (US version, which is apparently inferior to the UK version - the jury's still out on this assertion) and gave those kids something to talk about at school tomorrow!
While I opted out of the swimming option later on in the day, I did try some local Coke (courtesy of Soph and Rob) that tasted like a cross between Dr. Pepper and cough syrup...and after this afternoon's nap, I feel ready to face the throngs of locals this evening. I second Chet's inability to lie on my stomach, as my thighs are really barking (can one's thigh's, in fact, bark?), but my soreness right now feels more like a good burn...so bring on the looooooooooooooooong day tomorrow!
...and finally, I would just like to give a shout out to Elton and all the others at Harris Cyclery in Newton, MA...I am so pleased with all the gear, especially the gloves!