I pedalled out of Quang Ngai this morning, I have come to enjoy the early morning hustle and bustle. Generally I am not a morning person, but I have needed to be on this trip, especially now as I head south, the days are hotter and the midday sun is intense. I have usually reached my planned destination by early afternoon to get out of the heat. I don’t want to be getting caught short at the end of the day either, there is no real extended twilight, it gets dark very quickly around 6:00pm and I don’t want to be out on the road in the dark.
I have arrived at a beach side town of Sa Huyhn, I had researched and found there to be a beachside resort and as I sit and write this I can hear the surf pounding away in the back ground and there is a beautiful sea breeze keeping me cool. This is a lovely place, but like a lot of the places I have stayed, it is deserted, the beach is deserted and the hotel is deserted. I would suggest that I am the only guest. Most Vietnamese I would guess can’t afford to stay here and it’s too far from any airports for foreigners.
Today I took one of the AH1 bypasses, going around a town, it was great. The buses and trucks still seem to go through the towns to drop off/pick up passengers and goods, so the road is quiet, very well maintained, plus it passes through the rural area’s. It was very pleasant riding along, watching the farmers out in the fields with their buffalo. It was a slightly overcast, cool morning, a great day for cycling.
The traffic lights are an interesting place to strike up a conversation. Some one will almost always come up beside me and ask me questions. Usually we have 30 seconds, the traffic lights have a timer and it counts down. No need to watch the timer, you can hear when the lights are about 4 seconds from changing, the sudden increased hum of the motorcycles revving, getting ready to take off, take off usually occurs at the 2 seconds left mark. I have to be ready and head off with the swarm of motorbikes, I am not sure if “swarm” is the right word, maybe its “herd” or possibly even “throng” , but I think “swarm” is right since it’s sounds like thousands of flies. They are my safety net, there are safety in numbers when entering an intersection over here. Traffic comes from every which way.
Well the questions I have been asked are usually always the same, where are you from? What is your name? Where are you going? Where have you come from? Are you married? Where are your friends? How old are you? They get to practice their English and I get to ponder questions that I have been asking myself for many years and still haven’t come up with an answer to some of them.
But today I had a funny old man on a bicycle that came up next to me, he seemed as old as the hills, but who really knows here. He was missing most of his teeth, I could see that because he had an enormous smile and I clearly amused him no end, he was wirey and weather beaten. He didn’t ask me anything at all, he just smile at me and when the humming of the swarm of motorbikes started he took off on his single speed, typical Vietnamese bicycle that looked as old as him, as he got in front of me he yells out “number 1” in perfect English and puts his finger up in the air in victory pose. Well okay, I didn’t know we were racing old man! So I peddled harder and overtook him easily, I rode along for a little while and forgot about him, then he comes peddling furiously past me, again yelling “number 1!” This continued for a few kilometres, it was hilarious, and yet again I was someones source of entertainment for the day, you are welcome!
I have decided that the things you can carry on a motorcycle are only limited by ones imagination. I have seen gas bottles, pigs, mattresses, potted plants, ducks and many, many other things, but today I saw a fridge! Yes, a full sized fridge, standing upright, I have no idea how he possibly could expect it to stay on, but off he went, down the street, no one except me seemed remotely interested so I guess this is normal.
Anyway, I am off to enjoy my resort and my beach!