HCMC Dining Guide

Saturday, February 18, 2012

H2H Day 15: Into the Clouds

Here is a map to give you a rough idea of where we started the day:
Since the day's ride from P'Rao to Thanh My was only 54km, we decided to give ourselves 90 extra minutes of sleep to make up for the two brutal days we had just been through. This felt nice, though we didn't end up leaving town until almost 11, thanks to the machinations of the conniving hotel proprietor, a miserable woman who took revenge for us calling her bluff when she tried to overcharge us for food by holding our passports hostage until we paid various arbitrary charges she felt like tacking on. She even called two police officers in, apparently thinking that would intimidate us. It's a real shame when everyone in a town treats you well and then one person ruins it all as you're leaving. P'Rao was pretty though.
We took off into the rolling hills outside of town and soon came upon a dam and an incredibly scenic lake.


Is it just me or do my legs look freakishly muscular?
After climbing for a bit a few of us stopped to get some pictures of the hills, just as a group of 10 overweight Australians on a guided motorcycle tour from Nha Trang to Hanoi pulled up. Can you say lazy?

manpower v. horsepower
I ended up ahead of everyone as we tore down a long descent. On the nearly empty road I took up as much space as I needed to take corners at speed, and after catapulting downhill I rode onto a bridge that gave an up-close view of a sizeable dam under construction. Like the tunnels of the previous day, I was surprised to see such a large-scale infrastructure project just down the road from hamlets made of packed dirt and wooden shacks.

After the dam it was time for the day's last climb, which the warm, humid air made harder than it should have been. At the top it was satisfying to look down at the bridge I had crossed earlier and see how far I had climbed.

Passing to the other side of the hill for the descent into Thanh My brought about a dramatic change in weather:  the temperature dropped, the clouds were essentially at eye level, and we all got wet on the downhill, not from rain but simply from the water vapor in the air around us.
looking down on the last stretch of road for the day
Going down the steep hill in the wet was a bit hairy, but it meant that we had exhilarating blasts into town two days in a row. I met our lead support van at the bottom, where we were soon joined by Dana and Corey. We decided to eat before heading to the hotel, and as we sat down two 10-year old boys came up, introduced themselves, and began pointing to objects and asking how to say them in English. This was harmless enough until one walked up with a rusty meat cleaver and asked "What's this?"

Over the next 30 minutes almost everyone else joined us for some awesome food, and after a while we retired to our hotel. Next up: a very eventful 57km cycle from Thanh My to Kham Duc.

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