Friday, 11 April 2014

Day 4 Quan Lao - Tinh Gia 68km

I’m writing this in the hotel in Tinh Gia, this room smells like sausages and my hands are numb from hanging on to my handlebars for dear life after being bombed by trucks and bumps. On the bright side, there are adorable puppies at the hotel, who Gabe and Danny Mc have lovingly de-ticked. There are also rumours of a barbecued fish dinner.

This morning we decided to leave quite early so we could get some good beach time in before we lost sunlight. We set off after our stretches and a strange breakfast of yoghurts and biscuits, there was a lot of traffic and the industrial scenery meant we didn’t see any of the buffalos of yesterday, instead it was reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s vision of the valley of ashes, industry and life combined. I did however see lots of motorbikes carrying interesting things, a cage full of hundreds of chicks, live pigs, a wardrobe, it got me thinking, nothing shocks me anymore. Vietnam does wonders for the shock system.
The traffic added a few bruises to our bruise collection as there were a few falls, but all was well and we kept on going after a healing nuoc mia and lots of tiger balm. The road was good until about 10km before we stopped for lunch, where it turned bumpy! There was one section where the road was deeply cross hatched and every bump was rather punishing to the undercarriage. There were also lots of very big trucks and buses bombing down the road, so we were pushed to the edge, where the bumps and potholes were at their most furious. It made for a bone shaking 30 minutes and certainly got us ready for lunch. We stopped for tofu, fish, pork, vegetables, soup and rice at a place that looked like nothing from outside, the food was good, but what was better were the piglets in the back garden and the toilets that were directly over a lake, weeing into a lake is a lovely feeling after many questionable squats!
After lunch, the bumpy road continued straight to our destination, we only had a measly 27km to go, but it was tough and we were all feeling the pain. On day 1, I had a fall and landed on a previously cracked rib, which has been very painful for the last few days making every bump in the road rattle straight up to my sore spots, and there were some moments that took my breath away with pain. We kept on going, narrowly avoiding death many times by the trucks unwisely overtaking and pushing us right to the side. It was a short ride, not exactly scenic but we made the best of it, Natasha even stopped to have a tour of a man’s bird collection at the side of the road, I wish I’d joined her but I was truly ‘in the zone’ and thought if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to get back on!
A couple of painkillers later we arrived to our infamous hotel, where previous H2Hers have stayed and given glowing reviews of the owner, nicknamed Hef. Unfortunately, it was under construction meaning we couldn’t stay, but he did put on some 80s classics for us to dance to, our wonderful mechanic Chuong shook his tailfeather like there was no tomorrow.
We went searching for another hotel, and raced onto the beach, there was a game of football on the beach and Luke got his back licked by a puppy.
All in all, a great day, we are all a little sore in the nether regions but very happy to be here and be together.
Keep thinking of us and wishing us well!

Words by Kaitlin Davies


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