30th April – Tien Yen to Lang Son – 97km (3320km total)

The photo:

The usual “where are we” discussion in a cafe – noone seems to know.

The route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/173860020

The chat: 5: 15am alarm  (ugh), 50cents bowl of Banh Cuon from the market (mmm), and a super strong Cafe Viet and we were raring to go. 20km later we came upon an impromptu show and tell pet session in a tiny village – several children were playing with a large flying beetle that they had managed to attach to a string. A bit like a mini kite for those with limited resources, although not incredibly eco/kind it was rather impressive. Several demos/photos later, the children realised our appetite for non domestic animals on leads was clearly not satiated and dashed home to return with a monkey on a string. Slightly more bizarre, and considerably more difficult to justify to the RSPCA; we bid a hasty retreat before a polar bear on a lead was brought out for a photo op.

The rest of the ride was luckily uneventful as Andy was trying his best to weave around the pools of liquid tarmac generated as the road melted around us in the heat – it reached 45C on the road today which was pretty uncomfortable and pretty disappointing as we had hoped that North Vietnam would be misty and cool -instead it was 10 degrees hotter than in Saigon, 2000km further south! Luckily, today’s route promised an air conditioned hotel at the end, and iced coffees en route. Even more excitingly, when we crawled in to Lang Son in the afternoon heat we discovered that the town was much bigger than we expected, and had an amazing restaurant (called Van Thanh Lan Com Binh Dan and well worth seeking out if you happen to be near the Chinese border). Despite ordering more food than tables twice our size the bill for cold beer and 6 plates of spring rolls, sardines, spare ribs and Vietnamese curries was still less than a couple of sandwiches in the UK.

“Pet” flying beetle on a string (middle of photo). Note the kid on the right in blue looking distracted, perhaps ruminating on how he can produce something more impressive than a beetle on a string for the strange white people…

Seconds later he ducked into his house and returned with a disgruntled monkey on a lead.

A very good way of shading from the 45 degree heat


This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Vietnam. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 30th April – Tien Yen to Lang Son – 97km (3320km total)

  1. The Crew says:

    We found the first paragraph so amusing with the description of the children’s entrepreneurial attempts to entertain themselves. Such a refreshing change from X boxes ! I am sure the RSPCA
    and Health and Safety regulations do not exist in SE Asia.
    The Crew x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s