– ODO- 17561 – 17677km
– Location- Tan Ky
– Weather- 28 and cloudy all day
A grey day brought good miles as the terrain flattened out and the broken teeth rocks split and flat to a winding river bed with increasing numbers of houses. The day past without issue, feeding myself from biscuits, peanuts and bottles of water from the regular cafés. After a night camping outside in the heat I aimed for a hotel in the town of Tan Ky arriving a couple of hours before sunset.
My bike stored and my kit washed and left out to dry I ventured into town as the sun set to find food. This town was like nothing I’d ever seen. The roads busy and winding with mopeds. Kids on bikes heading home from school. The Vietnamese star and the hammer and sickle on t-shirts and flags. I walked down the first Street and found nothing but scooter repair shops, phone shops and convenience store selling the same range of packaged biscuits and coffee. The sidewalks raised and lowered unexpectedly with hand poured concrete interspersed with large slabs covering drains with surprise missing segments.
As the last rays of sun disappeared I reached food store asking the owner using Google Translate if they served food. Right away he got his daughter who pointed me down the road. At the next place he pointed me further and again I was in the cycle, being directed down and down towards the end of the high street. Here, as in other countries in Asia, a busy highway splits the town into two and as I walk thunderous trucks come past. A huge buffalo sits nonchalantly in the middle of the road and the trucks have no where to go but to wind around him.
As I follow my directions the road gets narrower and narrower and finally I turned onto a completely dark road surrounded by rice fields. In the pitch black the path was only illuminated by the remote lights at my hotel and the occasional passing scooter. At the top I turn and reached a new restaurant. Sitting down the women come round and laugh again it might height. They get their school-age daughter daughter to come and say her phrases in English and I smile and respond.
Out on the table in front of me they get fine rice paper rectangles, slices of apple, beansprouts and some mystery meat and show me how to assemble my own spring rolls to be eaten by with a sweet-and-sour sauce (I later find theses are called Gỏi cuốn). They laughed at me again as I overload my first one and struggle to wrap it all the way around. Soon I got the hang of it and they marvelled of my chopstick work. Satiated I wound back to the hotel with their smiles in my heart.