I had a rough sleep last night. I had my ear plugs and night mask on but just outside my room there was a cage with 2 dogs in it. They barked at nearly everything they could bark at. Was quite annoying to say the least but I’m always grateful when I have a free place to stay with a shower . One thing that also broke my heart a little is at this restaurant I stayed at, before I retired for bed, the owner had about 15-20 dogs that he let out of their cages. Now being in Vietnam, I know that they do serve dog as a delicacy and I knew that he was either breeding the dogs to be sold or for food at his restaurant. Either way, I knew what their ultimate demise was, a dinner plate.
Since I have been in Vietnam, I have seen A LOT of things that would make animal lovers and vegans cringe. Ducks being held by their feet while still alive driving along on a motorbike, transports full of pigs ready to be slaughtered and numerous animals being caged and chained by their neck. Seeing these types of things makes me realize just how watered down everything in North America is. Everything is done behind closed doors to keep us away from all the dirty work that is being done. It’s this type of stuff that keeps me going, wanting to promote the vegan message.
Without focusing too much on that, I get everything packed up and ready to leave. Throughout the night, the owner would also want to buy things off of my bike since he was a cyclist himself. I kept telling him no and he kept bringing things over that he wanted to buy. He was willing to pay whatever I wanted to. The availability of good bike parts is not so abundant in Vietnam.
After leaving, I am reminded how far I have come so far on this trip. From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh is 1730km or something close to that. When I passed the road marker that said “850km to HCM” I felt relieved as the first half was done and it was all down hill (not literally) to Ho Chi Minh. I have been on the road for about 16 days now from Hanoi and I have learnt so much in that time. It has been a huge growth experience thus far. I have pushed the boundaries of what I thought was possible and continue to strive. The last half to Ho Chi Minh will be much quicker as I have really developed a good system for riding throughout the days. The system allows me to do the most riding while the sun is lowest, rest through the middle of the day while I write and edit videos then ride for another 40km before finding a place to crash for the night. I made many mistakes early on for riding times and I was burnt to a crisp. My skin on my arms (from above my elbow to my glove line), neck and legs have all developed a really good tan and I can now ride throughout the day without any type of substantial burning.
When riding through Quang Ngai, the heat was getting to me and the meal of rice this morning wasn’t very satisfying so I stopped for a quick hit of sugar cane juice. I noticed it was sweeter than normal. Hmmm, I had another one and noticed why, the lady added sugar or something to it that sweetened it even further. It was kind of addicting because it tasted soooo sweet. Something I have to keep an eye out for the future. After refueling, I head out to look for a place to chill for the afternoon.
I come to a small village called Mo Duc, find a place for some rice and veggies and chill. The meal was great and as I was sitting at the table, I rested my head on my arms. As soon as I did, one of the gentlemen there offered his hammock for me to lay in. Sweet! I lay down, recharge my batteries and have a good rest. As I’m laying there, 3 elderly couples just came in from a wedding and invite me over for some tea. The locals love it when we sit down, pass around the phrasebook and have some fun. The fun usually sizzles out kind of quickly since there is only so much we can say to each other before things get a little boring. I thank them for the tea and continue on my way. At this point I’m about 60km in to my ride. I have no set distance that I want to do since I’m camping outside for the night and would rather find a good safe place to camp rather than camp in a more visible spot and push out another 5-10km.
After leaving the village, I’m at about 60km so far for the day and the next 28km are tough. There was a strong headwind coupled with the hot sun, which made for a tougher ride than normal. One thing that is slightly frustrating is that I’m riding by so many banana trees throughout the day but yet when I head in to the towns, no bananas to be found. Most of the fruits are imported from Thailand (can’t WAIT to get in to Thailand) and most of these fruits could grow here in Vietnam with the climate. Most of the land is used for rice.
At around the 87km, I find a good little camping spot for the night. Visibly protected from the road so no one can see and found two trees (one may be too thin) for setting up my hammock. Also just down the road is a great little restaurant where I got a huge meal of rice and veggies for $1. Great to get good cheap food when you’re out on the road! After dinner, I head back to my spot and chill out until it gets dark. When it begins to get dark, a motorbike pulls up just about 15m from where I am, they can’t see me but I can see them. I have to wait about 15 minutes until they leave to set up my tent. When I stealth camp, I like to remain as undetected as possible from anyone so as to not draw any attention to myself. When they leave, it’s already pretty dark out so I have to setup my tent with the headlamp on.
I get everything setup, pack all my things away and lay in my hammock and notice that I sink to the ground….