Rod McLaughlin


Ho Chi Minh City (15 apr 18)

Yesterday, it took me longer to get into Saigon than it did the NLA in 1975. I attached my phone to my handlebars using a "selfie stick", but it kept losing the directions on the Google map. I had to keep going into cafes and asking for wifi. There's so much traffic it's quite slow, so it's not as dangerous as it appears. Eventually, I got to the Saigon Bike Shop to find it was closed, but it had a number on it, which I called. A bloke answered it, and I'm meeting him later to get my bike fixed. I think I might fly to Thailand instead of bicycling in the increasingly sticky weather. 

From Đà Lạt to Bảo Lộc was 110 Km downhill. The next day I did 85 Km to the "Goody Hotel" in Bình Hòa, which is a dump. Then Friday 13th I took a side road through the countryside, which consisted of giant animal-feed plants, but not much traffic, on DT25, along the side of road CT01, to Long Thành, which is divided from Saigon by the Soài Rạp River. Unfortunately, the bridge is part of road CT01 too, which is a freeway managed by the Vietnam Expressway Corporation, and even motorbikes aren't allowed on it. So much for socialism. So I had to turn north on a busy road in the stifling heat and dust til I got to Long Bình Tân, which has an OK hotel.

The next day I used the QL1A bridge to get into the city, and though I only had 30 Km to cover, it took from 6 til 11 am, due to getting lost and diverted from freeways. After finding the bike shop and making a phone call to Mr. Van, I found a really decent hotel in the backpacker ghetto, which is not as bad as it sounds. At the end of the street is a Greek restaurant, Zeus, which is really good. I exchanged banter with the owner. He's probably called Aristotle, and he is actually quite clever. I also checked out drinking real ale, eating everything except Vietnamese food, and watching football in a bar called "Crazy Girls". I fancied a bit of decadence after three hard days of riding downhill. I also joined a gym, and am doing my Vietnamese homework.



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