The Bird With One Wing Keeps On Flying (Riding) - This Time Tomorrow - CycleBlaze

November 27, 2016

The Bird With One Wing Keeps On Flying (Riding)

Danang to Hoi An

November 25-27

Dear little friends,

We got up early and walked in the rain back to the hospital to get my dressing changed. My hand was hurting a lot and I walked around with it elevated which made it feel better but looked pretty odd and taxis kept stopping. I also had a plastic bag over it so maybe that’s what caught people’s eyes.

First day post-op
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Another very serious nurse bathed my hand in various sterilizing liquids, pressed around to see if there was anything evil left in it, which there was not, the bruising the doctor gave me the day before attested to the power squeeze he had given it, and then we walked back out into what was now a real rain. We stopped in a pharmacy to buy some gauze and it seemed like gauze only came in Costco-sized packages so now we are ready for any other bloody injuries. Mrs. Pharmacy made sure I put the plastic bag back on my hand.

Back in our room with the comfy bed but dour and somewhat stifling characteristics the wifi had ground to a halt and the idea of holing up there with nothing to do was kind of dispiriting. So we stopped for coffee and tried to use their wifi to Facetime my kids on their Thanksgiving but the din of music, loud Vietnamese card players, and of course motorbikes made it mostly a blow-kisses kinda deal. So that made me even more unhappy. It continued to rain.

We decided to ask about the wifi at the hotel, and they put us in a room with better wifi but mold so bad that the pillowcases were stained with it. Nope. Then on to the room next to that one where the door lock did not work and a cockroach skittered out from under the bed. This time the hotel girl sprayed it with a dreadful lemon fragrance to stymie any possible mold detection. Things were looking very grim. I hate feeling trapped.

Bruce went down and looked out onto the street. The rain was winding down so he came back up and said, “Can you ride as far as the beach?” That was only a few miles away and we knew our kiwi pal Hugh was over there in a beautiful ten dollar room near the sand and sea. So we started packing.

Appearing in the lobby with our bags startled the hotel girl who had been busy playing with her phone on a plastic chair.

“YOU!” she cried. “Where you go?”

There is some sweetness to that moment when you pay the bill, collect your passports, drop off the key and swing a foot onto a pedal. My hand hurt like hell so I babied it and let the other one do the work and off over the dragon bridge we went to the section of China Beach called My An where we found Hugh’s hotel, The Osaka. We found that amusing, but even more so was The Emirates across the street. We got a room there, and it will be one of the best of our trip, brand spankin’ new, clean as a whistle, outfitted with a little bar and sink and a window looking at some of Danang’s baffling but ambitious architecture.

Our posh hotel room in The Emirates Hotel, My An.
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There are subterranean road crossings in My An cleverly disguised as shopping malls.
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The retired school librarian at her new job.
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Hotel construction in My An
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At least one time per trip I put up a fuss to eat pizza and it is always a disappointment. This was to make up for missing Thanksgiving, so probably a set up for failure if ever there was one.
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We stayed at The Emirates for two days but it’s in a neighborhood designed for tourists and there were no tourists except us and Hugh and a couple of random westerners who looked unhappy. And well they should because the rain and storms had harshed the mellow of what would be a gorgeous beach. And I couldn’t swim anyway so there’s that. Hotel construction was going noisily along though so high hopes abound. The emptiness made My An seem kind of surreal so we abandoned The Emirates and Hugh and decided to head to Hoi An.

More hotel construction in My An
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A huge hotel with few to no guests that we ever saw.
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This can happen. A place lures you with what it could be but it’s not quite that. A stroll to the market was all we could muster but that wasn’t enough. It’s a restless response to a less-than-ideal situation, but it’s also one of the habits of people traveling by bike, you move on because you CAN, at the time and speed of your choosing. We also look at forecasts a lot and launch during weather windows, of which Central Vietnam seemed to be having fewer and fewer of.

Beautiful fish at the My An "cho" (market)
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A girl wearing banana-flavored pants
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Market fish, My An
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Chickens at the My An market
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I padded up my southpaw with a lot of gauze and we headed south to Hoi An, just a short ride on a flat road with a tailwind away. We knew it might be pricey so we stopped for a homey Com Binh Dan on the outskirts and started seeing, you know it: tourists. Westerners in skimpy beachwear and flip-flops dreamily pedaling single-speed bikes that did not fit them. Riding into Hoi An itself was completely bizarre, they have a couple of walking streets closed even to (gasp!) motorbikes and they were packed with Asian and western tourists and shops for them to buy from. It was hard to even take in the ancient architecture Hoi An is famous for because it was cluttered with tailor and souvenir and leather goods shops, chi chi restaurants, and a million selfie sticks.

Second day post-op, right before padding it up for the 17 miles to Hoi An.
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Building continues apace in My An
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There is a big marble-carving industry along the coast between Danang and Hoi An. We were told the marble is imported from China and most of the carvings exported back to China so that says something either about the skill level or the pay scale in Vietnam. Or both.
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Resort ambitions are huge in Vietnam. The coastline is endlessly long but it really seems like there will be an over-saturated resort market, but the way the Vietnamese work there will be a bigger middle class very soon.
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Another wonderful Com Binh Dan
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“Well,” said Bruce, “We found all the tourists.”

Today's ride: 20 miles (32 km)
Total: 493 miles (793 km)

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