Rod McLaughlin


From Quang Ngai to Binh Dinh (20 mar 18)

I decided to ride inland from Quảng Ngãi. I got to a place called Di Lăng. The good news - a man on a motorbike who spoke English directed me to a hotel. The bad news - it was in the process of being rebuilt, the room didn't have a Western toilet, there were two persistent prostitutes, one of which appeared to be the landlady's daughter, and they weren't even good-looking. I had better luck when I went out to find food, and found a place where they put meat and veg. on a barbecue in the middle of your table.  

The next day I did my first 100 Km day. I was planning to go further inland, but didn't fancy any more climbing in the heat. I decided to go inland further south, on highway QL19, which will take me over the Mang Yang pass. Hopefully, it won't be as hard as it was for the French army in 1954!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mang_Yang_Pass

I also wanted to find a half-decent hotel so I could stay two days, and learn some Vietnamese. So I turned back toward the coast.

https://www.loecsen.com/en/learn-vietnamese

http://morevietnamese.com/tag/tones/

I got to a hotel called The Ky on highway QL1A. Next day, Tam Quan, which Google marks as having a Backpacker Cafe with lots of good reviews, but it's not where it says on the map, and no-one had heard of it. I stayed in a wierd hotel run by two teenagers. Opposite was the Sky Beer Bar, which did OK barfood and beer. The next day, I did a hard ride along the coast against a strong southerly, with a couple of climbs - there are ranges of hills which extend right to the sea in South-Central Vietnam. There were houses but no restaurants, but someone gave me some bananas, rice and horrible fish, and I bought sugar cane juice. Eventually, I gave up trying to persist on the coast road, and turned back inland on highway DT632. I stayed in an OK hotel in Phù Mỹ and had what I thought was cháo vịt, but that's soup - this was gỏi vịt. I'd once sampled duck confit in a posh restaurant in San Francisco, but this was much meatier and had tons of fresh green vegetables. I ordered second helpings, much to the amazement of these simple peasant folk. 

Then, Tuesday 20 March, I did the 30 Km to Binh Dinh. I found a cafe with real coffee and next door a takeaway doing, not just French rolls, but paninni. 

In Binh Dinh I experienced the first tropical storm of the season. Luckily, I was not out on the open road, but in a hotel called Nhà Nghỉ Tân Hoàn Nhi.

So far, bicycling in the south hasn't been as much fun as the north was two years ago. 

I've had difficulty finding a phone app which works when you're not on the internet, and which tells you how to pronounce Vietnamese words. They all tell you how to pronounce the English words, even if you type in English, and click on the Vietnamese word. I've installed and uninstalled at least ten of them. I even paid for the Collins dictionary, but it was useless. 

I'll stay here for two whole days and hopefully learn the tone system (a lot simpler than Thai), the numbers, and how to say "my hovercraft is full of eels".



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