I couldn’t wait to get of Vinh, the hotel was awful, the room had that mouldy smell about it that makes me feel like I am breathing in spores. It goes with out saying that the bed was hard, I am kind of used to it now. Now the restaurant that was another story, this is how it went down.
I signal for a menu, kind of opening my hands out as if I was opening a book, and was presented with four sheets of paper, it was the menu, in English and Vietnamese. All going well so far. The thing is, in Vietnam, and not just this restaurant but all that I have been in, there is no time to peruse the menu, the waitresses all stand immediately next to you, as if they are to whip the menu off you at any second and your chance to order is gone, probably a little finger tapping on the table would hurry the process along a little and wouldn’t be completely out of place. There were no exceptions here.
I go through the menu, very aware of the waitresses presence as she was looking over my shoulder, maybe to assist with my choice? So I pointed to Pho Bo, beef noodle soup, a staple in Vietnam, I am met with a glare that I and a shake of the head, okay, so they don’t have that. So I move down the menu, grilled chicken with garlic? Sounds good, same response and a shake of the head. This went on for at least ten different menu items, which caused me to respond with “tell me what you have then?” while gesturing with my hands and shrugging my shoulders, the universal symbol for “I don’t know what to do!” She points at the fried rice, I can have fried rice, 4 pages of menu and I can have fried rice! Well that was lunch, dinner time came and it was bucketing down with rain so I thought rather than venture out I would just choose, or not choose as the case may be. Same thing, now they don’t even have fried rice. They had bread and butter though, it was good bread and butter and I devoured it, could I perhaps get some vegetable soup with the bread, apparently not.
The next morning after I tossed and turned all night because I was worried about contracting some lung disease I got up early, I have got to get out of this room! I thought I would chance a breakfast since it came with the room, bread and butter it was, but you can sprinkle some sugar on it if you like!
So I set off on my bread and butter breakfast and headed out into the drizzly morning. Much to the horror of the locals, endless people on scooters slowing down and pointing at their poncho’s like I am some kind of crazy lady riding in the rain. Well I can’t even begin to imagine how I would go about asking where to buy one. Besides the rain was cool, it was going to be a good day to ride! 110km later I arrived at a lovely roadside hotel in Ky Anh, $18 a night and no mouldy smell! A short 75km ride tomorrow to Phong Nha Farmstay, planning to explore some caves and looking forward to meeting the Australian owners! They have cold beer and Shepperds Pie on the menu. Might just stay a few days.
I am calling this the “Cross the Road with purpose” sign! It was on all the crosswalks in one area I rode through.