Drinking beer with ice right now, its actually not bad after today. Covered over 500k today trying to get closer to Hanoi and the Mai Chau Valley. I think im close to benh vien right now. It got dark and too many things were jumping into the road so had to stop. Tried a couple of towns until I found this place. Not bad actually could be worse.
So I left Phong Nha this morning a little later than anticipated which is a bad idea because it gets crazy hot here. I see why most locals are sleeping from noon to 3 or 4 o’clock, I was tempted to do the same. Leaving Phong Nha was great with all the mountain ranges shooting up and the road was more like an abandoned highway then the day before. Was mostly straight but on one pass I hit some nice curves and came across a truck loaded with bricks that had taken a corner too fast. His little dump truck was on its side and I stopped to see they were ok. Driver seemed to have a concussion so I told them to keep a hat over his head to keep it dark. I cant remember if that’s proper concussion protocol actually but its better than sitting in the sun I guess. All three people were lucky because the cab smashed into the railing and was pretty mangled. Hoped them the best then rolled on since there was nothing I could do. Soon after I passed a cat that had been hit, wasn’t sure if I should finish the job so again rolled on.
As I rode on it was more agricultural then mountains and the thick jungles were well behind me. I did notice a lot more churches on todays stretch, someone much have done some serious missionary work in the past. Stopped to get a coconut with some locals which ended up being interesting. One local guy either has a mental issue or hit the opium pipe a little hard that morning. Guy started taking everything off my bike running around with my helmet and phone trying to trade me. What part of him thought I wanted a 1995 nokia and a foam helmet is beside me. Managed to get the coconut while running around chasing him like a 5 yr old getting all my things back. Was offered to hold a child again and I’m not sure why that keeps happening. This time I politely declined.
My next stop was much nicer. Found a family with cold water and within 10min 15 people showed up to hop on the bike and laugh at the foreigner. Think one girl asked if I was the village idiot and if they could keep me, ok maybe not but it felt like it haha. The fish lady came by soon after though on a scooter and started selling tiny fish she had caught. Was actually cool to see her whip out a tiny hand scale and start weighing fish.
You really need to pay attention while driving here. Not just the usual dogs, cats, kids, and cows, but one part of the road was almost covered with people drying corn, peanuts, and other stuff I couldn’t put my finger on. Had quite a few close calls today with trucks and a few dogs. All is well though. Like I mentioned before riding at night is a no go, got caught in no mans land for a while trying to find a hotel and rode maybe 45k in the dark, not fun. I missed on dinner tonight as well. Without Trà my street food skills are a 4. Ordered up some chicken and im not sure how but they managed to serve a plate with all the interesting parts. Ate most of it and I think the gooch was the best part.
Tomorrow is the Mai Chau Valley, should be cooler and gorgeous. Lets hope so. Out of beer with ice so might as well crash.