HCMC Dining Guide

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

T-minus 3 Days

In three days I will be saddling up with 17 other expats in central Hanoi for our 2,000km (alright, 1,938km, or 1,204 mile, to be exact) bicycle ride from Vietnam's capital to Saigon for charity. H2H 2012 is almost a go, and we've raised over $25,000 in the past three months, well on our way to our goal of $30,000. (By the way, don't forget to donate here:  http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/michaeltatarski/bikeride ) I fly up to Hanoi tomorrow morning, so all other subjects on this blog will take a back seat to the ride until after we finish on February 29. I've spent the last two days hemorrhaging money as I've frantically gotten all of the last pieces of cycling equipment and other necessities together. As of right now, I'm staring at my bags, wondering how the hell everything I'm bringing is going to fit in them.
The red backpack is pretty much full already
There are two helmets because I'm a gentleman and agreed to bring up the gear (including the bike) of one of my female friends who is doing the ride but has been traveling for the last two months and is flying into Hanoi from Bangkok.

Most importantly, here is my bike now that it has been boxed. I have to stuff two of these in a taxi and get them into the airport in the morning. Thanks a lot, Rhona.
The predominant emotion I'm feeling right now though is excitement. I'm excited to have over a month off from teaching; a month on a mode of transportation I love but have barely used in the last 15 months; excited to visit Hoa Binh, Vi Ban, Quan Lao, Tinh Gia, Do Luong, Pho Chau, Hoang Khe, Dong Le, Dong Hoi, Cam Lo, Hue, A Luoi, P'Rao, Thanh My, Kham Duc, Plei Can, Kon Tum, Pleiku, Ea Drang, Buon Ma Thuot, Lien Son, Lam Ha, Bao Loc, and Dinh Quan - the 24 towns and cities (most of which I've never heard of) we will be stopping in between Hanoi and here. All but a handful of these are way off the usual beaten path, and I'm sure the locals will be just as fascinated by 18 cyclists in spandex as we will be by them.

This will be far and away the most physically challenging endeavor of my life - 26 days on the road, some including over 100km of riding. However, I'm willing to bet this will also be one of the top experiences of my life. Only a handful of other expats can say they've done anything like this, and we'll be able to see everything this amazing country has to offer - jagged mountains, rolling hills, verdant rice paddies, dense forests, glistening beaches, ramshackle towns and heaving cities.

My goal is to write a post on here every day, but I'm not entirely sure how possible that will be. Many of our stops will likely have little to no WiFi connectivity, so I'll have to search out internet cafes at some point. That being said, PLEASE don't forgot to bookmark our team blog: http://h2hrfvc.blogspot.com/. We will definitely be updating that on a daily basis, so make sure you check it out to get views other than mine. There are already a few posts on our preparation thus far, as well some more specific details on the ride itself.

This will likely be my last post until the first one on the actual ride. Our time in Hanoi is going to be tightly scheduled: when we get in tomorrow we have to assemble our bikes, and Thursday we are visiting the Cat Dang community two hours outside of town. This is one of the projects your donations are going towards, and we will tour the kindergarten that H2H funds have built, and also have lunch with the community leaders. Then it's back to Hanoi for a group dinner, and then an early morning departure on Friday. I could not be more pumped to start this adventure, and I hope you follow us as we work our way down the country! See you in a month, Saigon.


  1. Good luck in your endeavors and enjoy the country!

  2. Good luck and have a safe trip, Mike!

  3. Thank you, anonymous people! I plan to enjoy every moment. Except for the hills.

  4. Good luck and stay safe. I look forward to find out how it all goes!