Ho Chi Minh City to Ngai Giao 85km
Total Distance 309 km
Day 4 and we have our second departure of the trip courtesy of the Australian International School and my good friend Chris who works there. The awesome guys from 350.org came down to promote the international fossil fuel divestment day which happened the day after. We were also joined on the first stage of the ride by a half dozen people from the Sunday bike ride crew. So we had a fantastic photo shoot with our banner and a lots of signs in front of the whole school and then set off on the next stage of a ride with lots of cheers and waves and shouts of good luck.
The first 40 kilometers went quickly. It’s always nice to ride accompanied by friendly people with interesting conversation. Then they bade us farewell but not before treating us to some amazing roast chicken. It’s always great to know that what you’re doing is appreciated. Having support like that makes me realise that what we are doing is making a difference and I hope we can connect with many more people like that along the way. If you are in Saigon and want some great people to ride bicycles with then join them for one of their rides. https://www.facebook.com/SundayBikeRide
The last of our escorts left as we reached the main highway to Vũng Tàu . It was nice and wide with three lanes and a broad shoulder for bikes and motorbikes. There wasn’t that much traffic either so whilst not unpleasant there wasn’t much of a view and it was hot and tiring work. We slogged on for around 20 kilometres punctuated by stop for a refreshing coconut and were relieved to turn off onto a small road heading off into the countryside. Leaving the trucks and the horns and the dust behind.
It was a contrast to the lush greenery that we experienced in the Mekong delta. The soil was red and thin and the agriculture dominated by forest plants especially pepper with tons of the stuff spread along the roadside and the yards that we passed drying in the sun. It was also here that we encountered our first hills of the journey. Having been cycling around Saigon and the Mekong for the last 2 years our legs are certainly unused to the strain. Especially with the extra weight of the bikes. So it was a relief to pull into the rather non-descript town of Ngai Giao in Ba Ria Vung Tau province. They clearly don’t get many foreign visitors so we were followed with plenty of stares as we passed through the town looking for a place to stay. In fact judging by the quality of accommodation on offer they don’t get many visitors at all. We were forced to choose a small cell like room with a rock hard bed and no hot water. That didn’t matter because pretty much as soon as we had eaten I passed out on the bed and didn’t stir until it was time to rise in the morning . The exertion of the past few days have obviously been catching up with me.