Friday, 14 April 2017

Day 3: Parades and Sore Muscles

Day 3

Our third day found us waking up in Cam Thuy. The weather was perfect with a touch of chill inspiring us to get moving quickly. Luckily Cam Thuy is a fair sized town and breakfast nooks abounded. After a touch of meditation I hopped on my bike to go find a banh mi stand. A minute later and the eggs were sizzling. As my sandwich was prepared a group of people marched past waving banners from their bikes blaring some kind of announcement. Another fellow in line who I’d been chatting with about English teaching informed me they were organizing some kind of governmental meeting. There was certainly an officious flair to it with the red flags waving in the morning sunlight.

After scarfing down my sandwich Rhiannon and Travis led our group stretches. Two days finished and I surprisingly still didn’t have any soreness to speak of. This would soon change. After a quick rundown of the day’s route we embarked.

We got off to our earliest start yet, leaving around 8:30. My buddy and I quickly fell to the back of the group where we maintained a comfortable pace for around 20km. In fact, I was chomping at the bit and raced ahead for a while. I was feeling antsy, and everyone else seemed slow. Another 30km, several more hills, and I was humbled and sore!

It seems today was the first day with physical distress appearing in the group, and the sore bums, knees, backs, and other made themselves known. Every single person pushed through it though, and we pounded through our biggest collection of inclines yet. I’ve been informed that we’ve far tougher days ahead, but I tried not to think about it as my back and bum complained. 

Don’t get me wrong though. The day was glorious. The views continued to be breathtaking as we passed through verdant farmland, wild forests, and quiet hilltop towns. I lost track of how many shouted ‘hello’s I heard, and how many kids waved their arms off at us. At one point a group of children chased us down, and we exchanged a few words, and then exchanged bikes. And then there’s no dismissing the best part of hills: going downhill.

Tonight we had a big family dinner, and afterwards Deema taught us all the game Contact. Some new ideas were shared, some vocabularies expanded.

Bedtime now, tomorrow should prove to be as challenging as today, if not even more. Undoubtedly, the rewards will also grow. Until then,

-- Eli Gaultney

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