Published: April 1st 2011April 1st 2011
Thursday 31st March 2011 Ha Giang to Eco Village 48m 75k
A bit warmer today, but overcast, so no leg warmers but had long sleeved top over shirt for morning. We rode 30 k mostly alongside river and managed to keep in a peleton for most of the way until tea break, a no mean feat for 24 riders of varying ability. I stopped to film a lady shaving a root of some sort, which was left to dry at the roadside on sheets. She implied it was good for the stomach. We climbed half way up a big hill before lunch and tehn completed it after lunch before 10k descent to our hotel. On the way down we saw some road repairs being done by boiling barrels of tar with timber underneath before spraying it on the road and then throwing chippings on top with tin plates. A young man in a straw hat wanted my sunglasses but my need was greater today.
We ended in Nam An eco site village, I think, and stayed in a house on stilts. I am not sure of name since we were told out original destination was being repaired due to flood damage,
but not sure if we were being told a fib. ( We were also taken to the village for our meal, but it was a dump so John refused and we came back to the village.
The resort had a very nice bar around an open fire with a big metal canopy chimney. The restuarant had the same so we sat and had a drink, or two, after the meal, which was very nice. Some of the girls had a massage and sauna.
The bridge leading to the village was only narrow and wobbly so most walked their bikes across.
Friday 1st April 2011 Eco Village to Hoang Su Phi 50m 80k
A good start to the day with bread, omeletes, fruit, salad and cake with black coffee.
Left jeff to ride in bus today with Eco Village Belly.
A challenging misty day climbing the Hoang Su Phi Heavens Gate pass in the morning and a long climb up to Hoang Su Phi in the afternoon. 40/50 miles of mountainous country going up and down all the time. I will be able to tackle the Alps on a big ring I am getting so fit! The weather was better
today and I was able to wear shorts. Have bought a mask to wear like the locals do, to protect my lungs from all the dust! It cost about 20p and a Vietnamese flag for £1.80.
I am really enjoying being in Vietnam, it is so very different from the UK. The people are very cheerful and, always shouting hello, waving and giving the 'V' for 'Victory' sign, which means Hi. Our cycling group stand out like sore thumbs because we are white, tall and strangely dressed compared to the locals. The average height of the locals is about 5'4" but there are a lot, especially the women who are barely 4' tall. The people in the rural areas go to work in their traditional dress, wearing beautiful skirts and headgear. In the towns the population tend to wear more western dress. They grow a lot of different vegetables, many of which I cannot identify.
On the way down into Hoang Su Phi after we washed our bikes in a ditch we saw a local bar and had a beer or two at knock down, non tourist prices - yeah.
We had one rather amusing incident today at a
local market. One of our female riders, who is particularly well endowed up top, had her breast squeezed by a tiny Vietnamese lady who was obviously fascinated by the size of our lady rider compared to all the tiny Vietnamese!
I bought a Vietnamese SIM card for my phone on arrival in Hanoi and today had to top it up again at a steep cost of 50,000 Vietnamese Dong (£1.60). Since my arrival in vietnam I am now a Dong multi-millionaire (£32 to the Dong).
Nice meal at night in restaurant across the road and up some stairs into a room with a tree growing through the floor.
There are more photos below