A tough 4+ hours of hard cycling today… very few breaks, no food stops, only very brief pauses to buy water … other than that … go go go, pedal pedal pedal.
Even the most minute things are huge annoyances when you are trying to achieve “point to point precision cycling”:
— “That strap is not perfectly parallel to the ground and is causing an improper wind flow.”
— “That water bottle keeps nudging me.”
— “The saddle bags are improperly balanced… not 100% even/even.”
… and that is a good thing.
In Vietnam, the scenery changes drastically. No longer are you a sole cyclist wandering against a backdrop of stunningly beautiful mountains, and the flow and hum of the rice villages you are passing, and stopping to make new friends.
NO… now, it is a continuous hum of traffic noises,,, motos, buses, trucks…. It is honking, honking, honking, and more honking. The only “scenery” is an unending row of buildings, river dwellings, stores, factories, barrage river crossings, bicycles, food stands, and much, much … so MUCH more.
You look for a side street to use as the “toilet”, and even a side road is hard to find. An endless stream of buildings, people, vehicles, dirt, and noise.
So… when I arrived at “Long Xuyen”,,, a large city of 400,000+ inhabitants, I told myself, ‘I am only staying one night and getting the hell out of this place.’
It is now several hours later. I have just finished a long dinner with a new Western friend who lives here. He is introducing me to some of the other Western expats who live in this fast expanding Vietnamese city.”
I have just told the hotel desk downstairs that I shall be staying a while.
I have already fallen in love with “Long Xuyen, Vietnam”, and have no immediate desire to leave yet….