Critical Thinking - This Time Tomorrow - CycleBlaze

December 12, 2016

Critical Thinking

Hoa Thu to Ham Tien (Mui Ne Beach)

Hoa Thu to Ham Tien (Mui Ne Beach) 30 miles

December 12, 2016

Critical Thinking

We left our nice Nha Nghi and the nice woman who ran it, in the rain. Knowing we were in for quite a stretch of nothing we went directly across the street to a woman who was making banh mi sandwiches, or, so we thought. Instead of making them for us for later consumption she insisted we sit and eat there. We were fine with that. Breakfast is always a good thing. But she had a whole different idea about banh mi or maybe no idea about banh mi sandwiches. She fried up some eggs and put them on plates with cucumber slices and some greens. The baguette was whole and on the side. So, we sat there and made our own banh mi using the various sauces from bottles on the table and stuffing the eggs into the bread. It worked out just fine, we just couldn’t figure out why she hadn’t made us banh mi sandwiches which we had asked for.

Then we left, in the rain. We started on the road along the ocean but within minutes realized it was going to be horribly difficult. Maybe on a nice day it might have been a good adventure but on this rainy day we wanted to eliminate as many problems as possible. There was a big new divided highway staring at us as it went up a big hill. That’s what we took.

Looking back to where we came from.
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Lost cap
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It was brand new, ultra smooth, a reasonable grade and nobody was on it. It was so nice that it was boring but in the rain who cares. Milkweed were the first plants to seed themselves alongside the road and they occupied my attention. They were flowering and in the rain the flowers were quite nice; so meaty and juicy thick. In my youth there was a clearing, the Big Clearing, on the far side of the Big Woods which was full of milkweed. After adventuring through the thick woods coming out into the sunshine of the clearing was like another world and the milkweeds were always fascinating to me in every aspect. I just wished these had ripe seed pods so I could smuggle some seeds home. They were definitely a different variety and I wondered if they would grow in America. But I can’t find out until I find a seed pod with viable seeds. I’ll keep searching.

Milkweed
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There were overlooks and we stopped and overlooked the ocean. The entire area was unpopulated and undeveloped, as yet, which was a nice change. There were no fish ponds projects down there either, only trees. Greenery and ocean. Very nice. And the rain was light.

The road is so wide Andrea looks far away.
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Looking in the direction of where we are going.
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Trees had been planted along the new highway, lots of trees, thousands of trees, every ten feet for miles. Quite an impressive effort to shade and beautify the new highway. The only problem was the same old problem we see all over Asia. No foresight. There is the act of planting which is great but then no care or maintenance at all. Maybe people are used to sticking things in the ground and having them grow which means that they never have to think about them again. I come from a place where you water a newly planted tree. You stake it if it is leaning or in danger of mowers injuring it. You nurture it for at least a year until it can be on its own.

Thinking ahead doesn’t really exist in Asia. There is no thinking ahead two steps. There is no thinking ahead even one step. It’s not just the Vietnamese but we’ve observed it everywhere in S. E. Asia. Our friend Carol who opened a learning center in Luang Prabang many years ago has told us this is the number one problem with Lao society and she has concentrated on teaching them critical thinking. There are always consequences and it’s best if you think ahead about what they could be. Extrapolate this way of not thinking ahead to driving a motor vehicle and you can imagine the nightmares we experience on the road every day.

Dead tree.
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What I’m trying to say is that half the newly planted trees were dead. It killed me to see this since I love trees. Good thing the milkweed plants were there to divert my attention. Further on down the road no trees had been planted because instead they had placed a wide tiled sidewalk! This was even more absurd than planting trees and never caring for them. This was truly in the middle of nowhere and why a twenty foot wide tiled sidewalk was needed was a big question unless of course if a major development was planned. When it comes to huge resorts there actually is planning ahead of time because of corrupt officials colluding with rich developers. First the roads are widened and always wide tiled sidewalks are included. It would have been easy to plant trees every few feet in the tiled sidewalk but there were none which means the area bakes.

Wide sidewalk for no one and to nowhere.
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This road we were on was DT716B and it was quite a distance from the ocean so I’m not sure how or when development is going to happen and surely the fancy sidewalk will be in sorry disrepair by that time. Since maintenance is non-existent the sidewalk will be a big mess by the time the resorts are built. Obviously cows were the only ones using the sidewalk. They were so disgusting that even if you had to walk it would be nicer to walk on the road. Already we saw tiles sinking, shifting, cracked and buckled.

When the road swung further inland we took a left on DT716 which went down right next to the beach. Again, it was quite a deserted beautiful beach. Usually I think it’s sad when a road is so close to the ocean but here I’m happy because it might be the only reason huge resorts don’t get built there. If the corruption is even more endemic than I think, moving a road is, of course, no problem.

This deserted sweep of beach is just north of one of the most popular beach resort areas in the whole country, that of Mui Ne, which means that eventually it probably will be developed. But Mui Ne’s beach is more than ten kilometers long, maybe enough to keep developers busy for quite a few more years.

I found money on the road!! A 2000 Dong note which is equal to less than ten cents.
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Andrea caught so much rain in her poncho that she was drinking from it.
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Very few vehicles swished past us on this beautiful road. The rain was fluctuating in intensity. Looking out to sea the dark clouds hung low. It was rather beautiful partly because we felt so alone. It was quiet for a change.

I pulled over to the cement barrier to photograph the beach and clouds. I was there for a moment only and when I walked my bike back across the road to Andrea it felt funny. I looked down. A flat tire! Our first flat tire ever while touring!

It could have been quite a bad deal. It could have occurred while riding downhill fast on a slick road. It could have been raining cats and dogs. We could have been on a super busy narrow road. But, oddly, the air escaped my tire during a two minute stop, the rain abated, it was the much-easier-to-deal-with front tire and there were no vehicles on the road. We worked like a well oiled team (unlike our chains) and we replaced the tube in a matter of minutes. We didn’t see what had caused the air to leak. There was no evidence of a puncture. For a first flat tire it was easy-peasy. As soon as we were back on the road it started raining again, quite hard in fact.

Just to the north of Mui Ne. A few hundred or maybe thousand units.
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Two more miles and we were on the edge of the big tourist area of Mui Ne. The one road in front of all the hotels was flooded. Russians were crisscrossing the flooded road wearing tight clear plastic. We had arrived in what normally is paradise but I hesitate to call it that. We were however glad to be in a place where we could get more variety of food. We were tired of rain and ready to wait for a couple of days. lovebruce

Back in civilization!
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Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 923 miles (1,485 km)

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