HCMC Dining Guide

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

H2H: On the Twelfth Day We Rested

Today was a much-needed day of R&R in Hue (pronounced 'Hway') before we head into the hills and mountains of the Central Highlands south of here. We've cycled nearly 1,000km since leaving Hanoi on the 3rd, so we are very nearly at the halfway point of H2H.

Hue from my hotel room's balcony
the weather was beautiful
We also got our H2H cycling shirts in today. They are awesome:

Unfortunately, I didn't actually get all that much rest. Last night we took advantage of having a day off of riding by partying in Hue's backpacker area. This included a cyclo race (which I won handily, partially because one of my competitors fell over), streetside drinking, and dancing at a late-night bar called Brown Eyes. (These photos are courtesy of Tin Mai.)
This went on until about 2:30am, and our bodies have gotten so used to waking up at 6:45 every day that I was up by 8:30 this morning. Tin, Phong and I shared a room, and we decided to greet the morning together.
Since we were still pretty tired, but couldn't get back to sleep, we decided to declare today "Pamper Yourself Like a Bitch Day". We'll be abusing our bodies on the road over the next two weeks, so it was time to get treated well. The first stage of this was a trip to the spa of a 4-star hotel, where for $15 we were able to use a sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi; and get an hour-long massage. I've never gotten a massage in Vietnam, largely because it is so difficult to find parlors that don't offer 'happy endings', which I find rather sleazy. I thought a fancy hotel would be a safe bet, but before my masseuse started working on my stomach she tapped my penis and asked "Massage there?" She was apologetic when I said no, and I was disappointed that I couldn't escape this stereotype even in a high-class place. Still, the massage felt damn good, though I had to struggle at one point to hold in a fart.

Later that evening we went to a random salon to get a facial, manicure, and pedicure. We had a feeling the place isn't frequented by men, but the young women working there were accommodating. We even ordered beer and food at one point. I also got my hair washed, and Phong and I got H2H painted onto our three middle fingernails.

Properly exfoliated and relaxed, we declared the day a success. I had also planned on eating a huge amount of food while in Hue, to build up for the coming hills, and I think I succeeded. Between Monday afternoon and Tuesday night I ate a big Indian meal; a cheese platter with a baguette; a plate of grilled duck with rice; a KFC combo meal; a bowl of pho; a mushroom cheeseburger; two banh bao; one and a half pizzas; and bun thit nuong. Satisfaction.
the fruit of the Colonel's labors
In the morning we return to our normal routine, and this will probably be our most difficult leg yet: a 72km ride from Hue to A Luoi that includes an altitude gain of just over 1,000 meters (3,000+ feet), so we will be doing a lot of climbing. Bring it on!

IF you still haven't donated to H2H (and seriously, what are you waiting for?) visit: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/michaeltatarski/bikeride to do so. I painted my freakin' nails for this!

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