HCMC Dining Guide

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

H2H Day 19: Too Easy

After putting in as much time on a bike as we have since leaving Hanoi on the 3rd, riding 48km is like child's play. Though, to be sure, the bumpy road surface we were on today was frustrating, since it kept us from being able to go as fast as usual. Still, I kept up a pretty quick pace and ended up completely alone out front. I stopped at a nuoc mia (sugar cane juice) stand about 14km from Pleiku to wait for some other riders to catch up, but after sitting there for 30 minutes without anyone showing up I decided to just plow on.

Pleiku is a pretty big place, and we didn't have clear directions to the hotel, so I stopped at another cafe on the main drag, and after a bit Rhona, Dana, Corey, and Hanneke finally showed up. We set off in search of the hotel, and after asking numerous people for directions and going basically in a big circle we found the place. It was just after noon, and I felt as if I had barely ridden. Everyone else gradually arrived, but the mechanical problems that have been plaguing the group the past few days continued. Three people weren't even able to ride today, there were three punctures, and there was one broken chain. Many of the bikes being used on this ride were used last year, and the mileage is definitely taking a toll. Luckily, after some repairs, it looks like everyone will be able to ride tomorrow.

The next ride is a 100km leg from Pleiku to Ea Drang, both of which may ring a bell for those of you with some knowledge of the Vietnam War. Pleiku was a major American base, and the city's airport used to be a U.S. airbase. The area around Ea Drang was the site of the first major battle between U.S. forces and the NVA, not to mention one of the few set battles of the conflict. The book and subsequent movie We Were Soldiers highlights the experience of troops who took part in this deadly encounter.

Tonight several of us went to the restaurant of a 4-star hotel in town that serves Western food, and I blew $15 stuffing myself on a meal that included porcupine hot pot, which was actually pretty delicious. Hopefully this translates into a lot of energy tomorrow, because even though the ride is mostly downhill it is long, and it will probably be quite hot. We're also visiting an orphanage in the morning, and I hope that will be as much fun as the kindergarten visit before the ride was.

Finally, I'd like to once again share the link for our team blog, we've had some good posts recently: http://www.h2hrfvc.blogspot.com/
a common sight in Vietnamese cities: birds for sale on the sidewalk

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