Long Phouc to Thon 5 81 km
Thon 5 to Gia Nghia 45km
If I'm to learn anything from the nativity scenes we see everywhere, and some of them are huge, Jesus was born in a cave, in the mountains, surrounded by snow, and watched by lots of animals, including giraffes and zebra.
Breakfast and coffee with Phoung again, and he had to explain to all the locals why we were still in town. A good laugh had by all. I'm pleased we are providing so much merriment. Then it was off, back tracking, downhill, (no wonder I was feeling so knackered) for a few km, before we took a left, a short cut to Highway 14.
The short cut was a bit like some of the Indonesia roads.....broken asphalt. A new experience for Ju, but the trend was downhill, with even a few reasonable, but hazy views. We stopped for a sugar cane drink at 10km, at a fly blown cafe, which managed to give occasional whiffs of dog droppings. No. It's the rubber production going on next door. Smells like you've stepped in it though. The drinks were delicious, but we didn't sit around to enjoy the ambience once they were gone.
Just before 30km, we hit Highway 14. Lovely, new seal, over rolling terrain, following a ridge, and still high enough above the surrounding countryside to have the occasional view. Oooops. The lovely new seal stops. For the next 50km we are cycling road works. Rollers, graders, dump trucks, wheel barrows, water tankers, piles of sand and rocks. Big buses, mini buses, delivery trucks, the occasional car, and scooters. What an adventure. And did I say it was hot? 50km of Dodgems. Fletch would have loved it, although I hear he's not so good at dodging any more.
We stopped a few more times for drinks and food. Ju is getting into the groove of ordering, although I'm pleased to say the money confuses her as much as me. I'm really pleased to pass on all that responsibility. Finding food for this fussy old man is not easy. Ju is also attracting a lot of attention from the women running the stores. Are we married? Kids? Her age? Why doesn't she dye her hair? You need to put on more sun cream, because white is beautiful. She must be really strong to be doing this cycling. Once again, it's great that I'm not always the focus of interest from locals. Thanks for sharing honeypie.
80km, and we found a Nha Nghi (Motel) for $5, and they do food, and we were really ready for washing off all the dust. It has been a tough but enjoyable day and now we are both weary. Don't know the name of the town, it doesn't feature on any of our maps, but the motel owner is lovely. Cold drinks, coat hangers for our washing, somewhere secure for bikes, she even walked across the road to get Ju a cold beer.
All day we have been greeted and treated like royalty. Scooters slow down so they can chat, say Hello, ogle the bikes and trailer, give us an encouraging thumbs up, or just stare and grin. Young and old yell out "Hellos," and give us the peace sign. When we stop for breaks, they bring their babies and toddler's out to meet us. They drag their teenagers out so as they can practice their English. We are as much of an attraction to them, as their country is to us. Win, win. Lovely people. Amazing country.
We're going to start towards the coast tomorrow. Swims, sand and siestas. After all it is Ju's holiday.
Second day on Highway 14, and Ju is flying. She's really taken a liking to the local coffee, and it gives her wings, and I can't keep up on the uphills, and there are plenty of them. Once again it's hot. I can't believe how much fluid I'm pumping out, especially through the hands. If I stop for a rest, the dripping from my hands forms puddles. Ju thinks it's pretty gross, but that's just how my body is working here. I certainly don't have to worry about finding places to pee too often, which annoys her, because being a woman is not easy when the urge takes you.....there are people and houses everywhere.
Anyway, today I'd had enough by 40km, and we were lucky enough to find a hotel, and crash out. An afternoon watching movies and sleeping. Perhaps we'll get a few kms closer to the coast tomorrow.