Post # 44 Ho Chi Minh Saigon

Day 51 1029 days to go Distance: yesterday 135km today 71km total 2660km. Its 7.15pm Friday 20/1/2012 Hoi Chi Min (Saigon). I’ll start with the crap news to get it over and done with. I just tried to upload the photos from the last days and the computer says the memory card has insecure files and won’t let me upload. They’re also appearing as .exe files which I dont understand so if anyone has any ideas let me know ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sorry there were some awesome photos amongst them including tonight walking round Saigon. So what I’ll do is send the spot tracker GPS and you can check out the city for yourself. There were interesting shots of the Mekong Delta river life and people Ive met along the days bugga. Can’t do anything about it for now except change the card which Ive done and get on with tomorrow. That aside back to the last couple of days. The cycle out of Cantho was a bit tricky finding the right road but that meant stopping and asking folk who were really helpful and got me to the arterial road that lead to this huge suspension bridge. It was like a hill climb to get up and over this thing. I had done some maintainance on Rube in Cantho and her gears purred under load which was very reassuring that I’m slowly getting my head around how she ticks yay. The view at the top of the bridge engineering and surrounding area was superb so much so the locals were stopping to have a picnic on the side of the road mind you but hey can’t beat them join them stuff and thought it a great spot to sit alongside and enjoy my breaky coffee, baguette and banana. There was even a guy walking amongst the traffic selling sunglasses!!!! Extreme vendering. It was a bit of a haul for the rest of the day as one town blended into the next meaning heavy traffic and little variation to break up the day. Heavy traffic means allot of noise like ALLOT. Earlier in the day I was ok with this but it sort of accumulated over the hours and kms and I got a bit over it and bottom lipped it by the end of the day. I approached today allot differently so instead of getting cranky and fighting the noise I stayed amongst it. I even had my break sitting at the side of the raod eating a fresh baguette. It worked and made for allot nicer day. Drivers here beep their assorted horns to warn, to move, to say hi, to say hi back, to check their old horn’s working, to show off their new horn, to show off their bigger horn. Or so it seams 🙂 As soon as I get into a mind set that it’s me against the horn brigade its all over – noise wins I loose I snarl. Not pretty. Hence different tactic. And it was needed today. I read that Saigon is more a buzz than an experience to cycle into. Road traffic is consistently intense and spills onto the footpaths. The roads and intersections are countless and crisscross in no order over a huge area. So you never really know what road is actually straight on or veers off. The best part of that was again stopping and asking directions or alternatively stopping and checking the lonely planet map and having people approach me to help. It was great. I was never where I thought and needed the help to be put back on track so it was sooo appreciated. It sort of tuned into this huge challenge that I got into. Not bad for someone who yesterday was going to cycle on through. Just stopping to find a place to do a recky enough off the road was a trick in itself. I stopped at one stage thinking the next hotel was going to be perfect and got given a price per hour. Maybe not!! Onwards into the thick of things. This fellow gave me such good advice at one stage he said to follow the overhead wires and that was really clever and worked for a bit. Otherwise it just took stopping and asking and I managed to get to District 1 about 3 hours later where the cheap accommodation was yay. I was chuffed with myself that I 1. Got here and 2. got here without getting squished by a crazy moped Saigonian yay yay. All good. I was checking the map and street signs yet again when this woman approached me and offered a dorm room for $6 perfect ending and no catch. The accommodation here is western prices so I’m pretty happy paying that. It’s kind of nice sharing space with others for a change. I met this American fella Tim who’s on holidays from teaching English in Saudi Arabia, really interesting and friendly guy and equally interested in my itinerary, planning and kit. Nice to have a decent chat to someone as its been a quite a few days so I pretty much babbled his ears off poor lad. But he invited me out for a bite to eat so I mustn’t have been too scary. After that it was good to clean up and head out to check out the city sights into the early evening. There’s so much going on leading up to New Year. The city is lit up like out Christmas but all over the top stuff super fluro and the theme no surprises, the dragon. Ive been told that everything goes really quiet from the 23rd for about a week as this is mostly family time so we’ll see how accommodation options goes during this and the rest of Chinese New Years. I found a flower market which was beautiful and a nice space to wonder. The plants, flowers and fruit trees are mostly everything orange or yellow so lots of assorted size daisies and sunflowers and fruiting trees that look like kumquats. The local folk are dressing their shop windows, front of restaurants or hotels etc with a yellow flowering tree like a huge bonsai decorated in hanging gold lanterns. Then there’s a food tray laid out with an assortment of meats, vegies, fruits and a tea or drink. The more impressive the meal the more something I’m sure. The place I stayed at in Cantho had a whole dressed pig and accompaniments on a table outside their entrance area. It was BBQ’ed bright red and overly dressed in decorative wrapping paper from ears to tail. It disturbs me but I stop any extended thoughts along those lines along with the live animals being sold for eating mistreatment issues. There’s too much of it in your face on the roads, in the markets, in the streets. I just think about where they are or will be in their next life and hope they have better fortune. I had hoped tonight to upload the photos as the hotel has free internet and wifi bonus but hence the debacle with the SD card grrrrrr. For now it’s off to have some dinner and an early to bed to read up on the National Highway route up the Vietnamese coast into China. Skype chats with my folks this morning and another date with my partner tomorrow. I’m spoilt yay. Talk soon x

 

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About shecyclesolo

If you could dream up the most wildest adventure imaginable what would it be? Between jobs and craving new experience, I decided to indulge the challenge. This is what I conjoured with a promise to come home safe and smiling. I hope you enjoy the 1080 days of stories as much as I will sharing them. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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