Motorbike Diaries Continued:
Remember that time Adam and I were absolutely freezing, sleeping in all of our clothes or a sleeping bag, wanting nothing more than doors on a restaurant so we could feel warm, even if only for a meal before going back to our freezing hotel without heat. Yeah, those were the good old days. We should have been careful what we wished for!
We left Hoi An after two days of tourist heaven; a swanky boutique hotel with a pool, a free buffet breakfast, clean white sheets and beds that didn’t feel like we were sleeping on wooden planks (fancy, right?!), restaurants with lists of different types of food (instead of just Pho), shop after shop after shop with anything and everything we could possibly need… basically the exact opposite of most of the towns we’ve spent nights in during out motorbike journey. I’d usually hate somewhere like this, but I’ve honestly been craving convenience ever since leaving Thailand.
Anyway, in Hoi An we finally hit warm weather. Like, proper hot, sweat-through your-tshirt-walking-down-the-street weather. It was amazing! But then again, we were in shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops.
So this morning, when we put on our biking gear, AKA two pairs of pants, long sleeve shirts, two jackets, thick socks and boots, we were sweating bullets before we’d even got on our bikes.
Sure, we could bike in shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops, but if we got into any sort of accident we wouldn’t have any skin left on our bodies. Better safe than sorry!! So we reluctantly piled on the layers and set off.
Blue skies and bright, warm sun… it was lovely. If only we’d been on a beach rather than zipping in and out of scooters, trying not to get hit by buses overtaking other buses in oncoming traffic, and sweating through our five safety layers.
We’re a tiny bit bitter about today, can you tell? It was a long day, 202 km. We drove the whole way on Highway 1 to try to make up some time, so we weren’t captivated by the scenery but rather rattled by engines and constant (and I mean constant) beeping of horns. This is why we’ve avoided Highway 1. It’s emotionallyand physically draining. You have to be 100% aware of your surroundings 100% of the time.
After a bit more than five hours of driving, the sun was starting to set and neither our asses nor our sanity could take a single kilometer more, so we started looking for hotels or signs that said “Nha Nghi”, which is Vietnamese for a motel or a guesthouse.
After some searching and a bit of off-roading, we found a hotel in the absolute middle of nowhere in a little town along the ocean with half an ocean view for $13 a night! There are some mystery stains on the sheets and the mattress isn’t much softer than a rock, but that’s a given these days. And plus, there’s A/C!!! So, really, we did quite well (especially compared to some of the doozies we’ve stayed in).
We both get hangry (angry when hungry) and therefore started losing our patience while walking through the pitch black town, searching for a restaurant (AKA someone’s house that has red, plastic chairs and tables in front and a large pot of something hot to eat) that serves anything but Pho. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pho. But soup and noodles only does so much to fill you and it’s incredibly inconvenient to feel hungry two hours later when nothing is open.
Contributing to our hangriness and overall irritation for the day, this town for some reason decided to add speakers outside of every other home on the main street and to blast birds chirping. I can’t even begin to explain our confusion as we were walking up this street. First it was “is someone playing a bird chirping soundtrack?” And then, “Why would they do this? What is the point?! It’s not even relaxing or nice in any way. It just wastes energy and contributes to the noisy Ness on the street.” And then it was, “AHHHHHHHHH MY EARS. I’M GOING INSANE!”
After walking for 20 minutes past a dozen places serving Pho (and half a dozen bird music houses), we finally gave in. Pho for dinner. Again. But this time we each had TWO bowls instead of just one. Aren’t we smart?! (Incidentally I’m starting to feel hungry as I write this……..)
Tomorrow is another long drive, probably very similar to today in length, temperature, and lack of scenery, but we’re troopers and we’re pushing through with smiles on our faces (and Pho in our bellies!)