Post # 43 Cantho
Day 49 1031 days to go. Distance: today 65km total 2454 . It’s 11.56am Wednesday 18/1/2012 Cantho. Or at least I will be in about an hour. It’s 6.36pm and now I’m in Cantho. That post entry wasw very short before I was wonderfully interrupted by a local gentleman who served the transport vans in a town I passed through about 20kms short of Cantho. I love stopping in amongst the real folk. You know where there are those working hard just to keep their heads above water if so lucky. I find these folk the most real whatever the country. I find them the most real to interact with and genuinely wanting to know more about me in a way particular to the person that interests them. Todays a good example. In the town I stopped for lunch there’s heaps of cafes but what appeals is the small two chair roadstall cafe opposite the petrol station where the transport vans are pulling in and out. There’s an old lady there watching intently as the vans pull in the draw a customer. I asked her for hot water as I saw she had a flask, paid her 25c (5000 dang) and went to sit on the nearby kerb but she insisted I take one of her seats. She just sat and smiled and watched me eat my banana baguette. When done I started to post and pone of the van people came over to talk where I was from and where he want to travel to using a combination of his minimal English and map drawings scratched on the concrete. It drew a couple more lads. I love it and get so much out of their genuine effort. They don’t want anything just to talk. In Cantho I was in a supermarket (there’s that supermarket fettish again) pricing up honey options and this little girl came up watching me. I said hi and frightened her off. Then her father came up introduced himself and his daughter to me. I went to shake her hand and she took hold of my hand with both hers and squeezed. It was really beautiful sweet little thing. I spoke then with dad his English was ok. He wanted to know where I’m from and heading to and why and what I was wanting in the shop and what I thought if Vietnam etc. Whatever I said he’d repeat and nod then fire the next question at me. 30 minutes later he thanked me for my time and wished me a safe journey, shook my hand and left. Awesome I love this stuff and will never tire of this simple interaction. Today was a hard cycle not long but a strong head wind and Rubes only had 2 gears working without slipping which made it a bit tricky. It was only 65km so it passed soon enough. It was mostly urban sprawl today I passed through with no major highlights as far as scenery but I was happy to potter along and enjoy the ride flashing and/or exchanging smiles with passer bye traffic of all sorts. I have a real soft spot for truck drivers. They mostly travel in twos and its usually for the passenger to hang out the window and give me a big hello and thumbs up. Despite being the most ‘horn crazy’ they are always considerate passing by such a welcomed change to experiences back home whereby truck drivers can be a bit smart arsey. I’m going on a bit about the traffic of things tonight probably because it really interests me and the psyche of the people is very reflective on the roads. There is never a dull moment and Ive quickly learnt how to move through the chaos as best I can. You cant wait for a break in the traffic as there is none it’s about merging, peripheral vision foremost and adjusting your speed as opposed to direction to blend to where you want to head. Its really crazy stuff and I enjoy the skill and thrill of it. I’m very fortunate that the road users in south east asia are very used to dealing with the unexpected and I have not had any close calls as yet and hope it stays that way. One day, one pedal, one post at a time. It’s a true gift what I’m doing and I intend to savor and squeeze what I can out of the simple opportunities as they present. It’s very cool and I hope you’re enjoying the ride with me. Cantho is very busy with local tourists visiting for the Chinese New Year that apparently starts soon. It took me half dozen checks to find a hotel that would take me for one night and/or had vacancy. I ended up finding one for $7.50 bit more than I’m used to paying but it’s got wifi, air con and hot water so I’m spoiling myself and have even shaved the legs (you probably didnt need to know that but hey we’re all friends here). I’ve planned a skype date with my partner in the morning awesome then it’s onto Mytho 105km. I’ve put my nose in the bike manual this afternoon and got Rubes gears working again so that’ll make it a more comfy cycle all going well. My sister’s been doing some looking into the Chinese New Year this year being the year of the dragon. I’m going to share some of the info she’s shared with me interesting stuff. Hope you enjoy. Talk soon. x
In Chinese tradition, each year is dedicated to a specific animal. The
Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Rat, Boar, Rabbit, Dog, Rooster, Ox, Tiger, Snake, and Ram are the twelve animals that are part of this tradition. In 2012, the Dragon is welcomed back after the 2011 year of the Rabbit. Each of these
animals are thought to bestow their characteristics to the people born in
While the Year of the Rabbit was characterized by calm and tranquility, the Year of the Dragon will be marked by excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity. HOW AWESOME BRING ON 2012 I SAY!!!!! This year it starts Jan 23!!!!!!
Vietnam is BIG along with china in celebrating !!!!!!!!!! There’s a great site with all sorts of fun info. here’s a snippet……
By the way I was born the year of the GOAT!!!!! How cool’s that!!!! No wonder I have an affinity with those gorgeous creatures. My sister was born the year of the OX but I’m not going to make any smart arse comments because I love her dearly 😉 More info….
Chinese New Year Celebration: The 15 Days of Chinese New Year. There are many traditions and customs associated with the Chinese New Year, which begins on the first new moon of the lunar New Year and ends two weeks later with the full moon. The first day of the Chinese New Year Celebrations is reserved for family and the last day is marked with the Lantern Festival and an elaborate Dragon Dance, but the days in between are also marked with tradition.
Families gather together to honor ancestors and to welcome the gods of earth and of the heavens. People come from all over the world to reunite with their families, making this important Chinese holiday the cause of the largest annual human migration.
Many Chinese will pray to ancestors and all the gods on this day. And because this day is also recognized as the birthday of all dogs, many will
be especially kind and generous to the canines they encounter.
Day 3 & 4
On these days husbands are to escort their wives to her parent’s home. Once there, the sons-in-law are to show special respect to their in-laws. It was once common for in-laws to present the couple with two lotus lanterns – one white and the other red. After returning home the couple would light and hang the lanterns by their bed. If the candle in the white lantern burned out first the couple would have a baby boy. If the candle in the red lantern burned first the couple would have a baby girl.
Traditionally people stay home on this day, which is known as Po Woo and is set aside as a day to welcome in the God of Wealth. Visiting family and
friends on this day is believed to bring bad luck.
Days 6 to 12
During this part of the two week holiday the Chinese will visit family and friends and many will pray at local temples. Red envelopes called lai see are given out regularly throughout the New Year’s holiday. When arriving as a guest to the home of family or friends, it is common to bring a small gift for the host. This could be candy or even a bag of oranges or tangerines. A lai see filled with a new bill of “lucky money” should be placed inside the bag of citrus.
Due to all the feasting of rich foods, many Chinese will eat a simple meal of rice congee and mustard greens (choi sum) which are known to cleanse the body.
This day is used to prepare for the Lantern Festival which takes place the next evening.
One of the most well-known traditions and customs of the Chinese New Year is the New Year’s Parade which features the Lantern Festival and the much anticipated Dragon Dance.