I was reluctant to leave Hoi An, I liked it there, the homestay was a gem of a place and the food in Hoi An was excellent. I probably needed to leave or I would be be rolling out of there based on the amount of food I have consumed. It seemed that Hoi An was equally reluctant to let me go, having taken several wrong turns I eventually made it out to the main road. Hoi An is surrounded by a river system, bridges are few and far between, so a wrong turn usually resulted in back tracking. It wasn’t all a disaster, the day was nice, the sun was shining and it was a lovely ride through the fringes of Hoi An, thank you Google Maps.
As I rode along I noticed some ruins on the side of the road, not really anything too much happening with them, just sitting there. I rode in to take a closer look. More Cham ruins, dating back to the 11th century, nothing too interesting, just sitting on the side of the road next to the duck farm and the cemetery! It was really impressive, and I had the whole place to myself. I kept waiting for some one to come running out of the jungle and kick me off their land, but it never happened. What a tragedy really that something so culturally significant would just be left to the weeds, but I guess they added to the charm really.
I arrived in Tam Ky, a large provincial town. I thought i would grab a bite to eat, back to Vietnamese menu’s,so it was always interesting what I may end up eating because I do not have a clue what I am ordering. I couldn’t see anything familiar, words that I had learn’t. Turns out I ordered cheese sticks with some coconut stuff on the outside and a bubble tea with lots of jelly things in it. Oh well it tasted fine.
I left Tam Ky early today, stopping at one of the street vendors for a delicious “Banh Mi” for breakfast, it’s a crusty baguette with a fried egg, chilli, greens and other stuff which I don’t know what it is, but it sure tastes good.
I stopped after about 30km for a coffee, most of the places to get coffee are frequented by a lot of men and for what reason I don’t know, there are never any women at these places, other than the ones working. I try and choose a place that is nearly empty or has a few women. At that time of day it is generally busy with lots of men. Not that i have had any issues, the women have just generally been a lot nicer and helpful.
Eventually a found a place with a group of women seated at the front. It appeared they were the owners family. I sat down, they insisted I sit with them, Vietnamese don’t seem to have personal space boundaries, one of the women who was about my age sat right next to me and just slightly behind me so that she could watch everything I was doing on my phone. Which was not particularly interesting, I was just checking Google Maps to see how far off a turn off was.
She kept asking me questions, I have no idea what, so i fired up Google translator, which is really bad, but works sometimes. We had a brief conversation, it wasn’t working out too well so I decided to show her some photo’s of my girls. Well we went through every photo on my phone after that, the phone was then handed around the entire group of women, lots of laughs followed, possibly at my expense. After a very excellent $1 coffee I decided it was time to leave.
At that point the personal space was violated even further as one of the women started to pull at my clothing, it would appear she was demonstrating to the rest of the group the difference between my tanned skin and not tanned skin. I decided then to put on sunscreen, everybody had to have some! It proceeded to touching me around my middle in what appeared to be a discussion about my weight, which the only word I understood was Hanoi and they pointed at the bike, nodding in agreement! It was a little strange, entertaining to say the least, certainly more for them than for me, I was happy to have kept them completely amused for an hour or so.
I headed off, I wanted to turn off the main highway and head towards Tinh Ke village, it is the site of the My Lai Massacre where 500 civilians were killed during the Vietnam/American War. The Son My memorial and a museum have been built at the sight of the massacre. It was very graphic with a lot of photo’s of the victims, it was a sad reminder of the craziness of war.