Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Day 3: Vu Ban to Quan Lao

Vietnamese hiding from the rain on their bikes

We left Vu Ban with a feeling of relief coupled with trepidation and remorse.  The road exiting the town was unlikely to win a place in the Highway Quality Awards (these are genuine awards I will hasten to add). Then again the trip out was highly amusing. 

Barely awake we rode our bikes to one of the towns local Banh Mi stalls for breakfast when some members of the group were beckoned into a local café and presented with early morning shots of rice wine. The day that followed was in the same vein as it started. The ride to Quan Lao started as a fairly grueling experience. This was due to the aforementioned standard of roads maintained around Vu Ban. Despite this the team powered through to the Ho Chi Minh Highway and was blown away by the next section of the ride. 

The Highway sweeps through absolutely beautiful, mist shrouded mountain ranges and the undulating terrain made for some fantastic downhill rides at the cost of some tough uphill sections. On the way to lunch, whilst breaking to drink water, we met an interesting character. Said character, after much gesticulation and attempted conversation, presented the team with gifts. The first gift was a pomelo, the second an a4 picture of Ho Chi Minh. The man then went on to tell us how he was the reincarnation of Ho Chi Minh himself; which was unlikely, but he did pose a resemblance. Bemused we headed on our way. 
Caitlin chatting with a working man

Stunning scenery
After lunch Luke Chesters and Andrew  Onishsi, who had stopped to take pictures of the surrounding patchwork of paddy fields, helped a local man to construct a house. Well sort of. They helped some local builders lay a brick, and got their pictures taken. That said, the heroic exploits of these team members will never be forgotten. 

Andrew's happy, Luke maybe not so much

The ride became grueling at points towards the end; causing the team’s soft, amateurish, only Day 3 muscles to ache and groan. Despite this we made it to the hotel in Quan Lao. The day was unlike the previous days as we managed to survive the whole day without the team mechanic Chuong having to fix a single bike. Day 3 was a success. Only 24 more to go.

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