Friday, 12 April 2013

Day 10: Every cloud has a silver lining

Today was a day of superlatives: the longest (so far), the coldest, the wettest and perhaps the weirdest.
As we set off from Dong Hoi on a cold rainy morning knowing we had 99km to cover, it was clear that spirits were not at their highest. But after a hot breakfast of pho, we returned to our much-loved Ho Chi Minh Highway in the hope that we would be inspired by the stunning scenery. Alas, compared to what we've seen so far, the landscape was pretty mediocre.

So, no great scenery and the rain persisted, and after a dead Ipod only 20km in, it was clear this wasn't going to be an enjoyable ride. Later, after stopping for a snack break, my fellow riders recounted some rather horrific encounters with the locals: a male flasher, a man with a shotgun, an intimidating policeman, some idiots on motorbikes playing chicken, and apparently a forest troll.
 Despite the miserable weather, the aching legs, the stiff muscles and the lack of motivational music, there were some positive things. Such as these two boys who rode beside me to practise their English which in turn ended up with me practising my Vietnamese (or lack thereof). They were nice enough to offer me some food when I told them I was hungry. I kindly declined, knowing it would add more time to the ride. And it needed to end quickly.
 After a hot meal of rice, beef and egg, we powered through the last 30km to get to the most non-descript town of Cam Lo (basically an intersection). But just 2km before reaching it, the smell of steaming corn filled my nostrils and quickly got my attention. The kind lady beckoned me and this time I couldn't refuse the food.

Today was certainly hard and miserable, but on the bright side we covered nearly 800km and we are all looking forward to cycling to Hue tomorrow, come rain or shine.

Words: Farah

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