It was Day 6 and we were off to a slow start; brave members of the team had sampled some local rice wine the previous evening. Luckily the ride was only a “modest” 57km - riding from Phố Châu to Hưởng Khê. After our ritualistic banh mi breakfast we were back on the road, with both heads and bums sore.
At our first Nước mía stop (sugarcane juice) we were treated to a spontaneous dance party; who was the DJ? An elderly Vietnamese husband and wife, obviously. The mobile party motorbike was also a laminating machine, obviously. Presumably, this was the sweet couple’s business. #relationshipgoals. We shook around and everybody was in good spirits. After consuming three times our daily recommended sugar quota we pushed on.
Next we found ourselves posing for photos at the bottom of an anonymous monument. Nobody was feeling up for the walk to the top to be cultured so we lay on the wall and took pictures. Unfortunately the wall had some sort of anti-sit paint and now my slightly grubby kit is even grubbier. It was pretty cool nonetheless.
The scenery for the rest of the cycle wasn’t all that exciting, so we powered through and arrived into Hưởng Khê around midday, plenty of time to “wash” our kits and refuel. The hotel we were staying in had a mysterious vibe about it, empty, untouched since the 90s and full of family portraits. Did someone hear, “Here’s Johnny!”?
Hưởng Khê seemed to have humidity levels of 110% and later we sweated through our clothes as Keith taught us how to play Ninja, a game that involves hand slapping and strategic dodging. After all that fun and perspiring it was time to retire to bed.
Day 6 over, 22 more to go!
-- Harriet Pearse