Dragon fruit and coffee - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

November 26, 2023

Dragon fruit and coffee

Can Giuoc to outside My Tho

Dear little friends,

Our very humble Nha Nghi was tucked off of the main road and was very quiet. Bruce slept like a baby, I was in my usual restless, off-and-on jumble of sleep and anxiety. I’ll bet you people think that folks like me who wander off like those possessed by the silent ones have no room for anxiety and boy would you be wrong. I think I’ve learned that after a few days the anxiety will just settle below the surface because every day is a series of chores and problems to solve and things to notice and at the end of the day you’re still alive and too tired to worry about every little thing.

But we had just finished day one and there had been some mishaps and I had had to stop earlier than we had hoped, so while we were now cooler and safer I had been pretty unhappy the night before. Bruce is too nice to mention that it was I who insisted we stop early yesterday. I was getting dizzy from the heat and I know that things go downhill quickly from there. I was determined to leave earlier today and try to get every moment of coolness we could.

So we were up and out by 6 am after rousing the owner from his lobby hammock to return my passport. Yes, hotel owners still hang onto your passports in Vietnam, which is quite vexing and adds to my anxiety that we’ll forget it, which happened once in Hanoi in 2016.

The owner’s dog and a few nearby dogs noticed our leavetaking and had things to say about us, probably none of them complimentary.  But the dogs here seem pretty mellow and we ignored them and left them to gossip about other things. 

Our first road was quite busy, and also very rough around the edges, and by that I mean lots of rocks and potholes and stuff to watch out for. It reminded us of Myanmar, where EVERY road is like that. After 5 miles we took retreat in a large Pho restaurant and each had huge bowls of what has to be the perfect cycling food. Lots of liquid, boiling hot broth with probably a little sugar added, a ton of noodles for energy, some beef to stick with you. It was really delicious. The owner brought over large glasses of iced tea for us too.

We have to try to sift through all of the signage along the roadsides, but the word "Pho" is one that sticks out.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesLooks like a reasonable quick fix with packing foam, but perhaps a rigid piece of metal rod or even thin wood (chopstick?) Taped tightly over the broken place would add some structural integrity?
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2 months ago
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But it wasn’t long and we were off that road and onto quieter roads. We had a lovely coffee stop, crossed Ferry #1, then were on an even lovelier road lined with flowering bushes and trees. After yesterday’s turn-by-turn out of Saigon using my phone and Pocket Earth, today Bruce did the navigating and did a great job.

Coffee number one
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Heart 7 Comment 1
Scott AndersonYes, this looks much better.
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2 months ago
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This area specialized in dragonfruit production and it must be a year-round crop because we saw plants at every stage of growth, and warehouses where they are processed, and vehicles carrying large baskets of them to market. They are really strange plants to us, it was super interesting.

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Heart 14 Comment 2
Jen RahnWow! They look big!

Over 5 feet tall?
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2 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Jen RahnYes, that’s about right. There is a concrete post for each to grow on.
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2 months ago
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Heart 12 Comment 2
Janice BranhamA fearsome looking plant. I wonder what it tastes like?
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2 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Janice BranhamDragon fruit come in incandescent purple-red or white. They have tiny dark seeds and watermelon kind of texture. Their flavor is subtle, unlike their flamboyant appearance.
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2 months ago

Ferry #2 was done and dusted and we were in the home stretch. The plan was to get to a Nha Nghi on the outskirts of My Tho and then have a short day to Ben Tre. But more coffee was in order and we found a simply lovely garden-y, shady place for more iced coffee and a rest.

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Steve Miller/GrampiesAre you comfortable in the tight sun sleeves? Dodie finds that she is cooler in looser clothing, and has found a sun protective bolero from Terry Women's Bicycle clothing that fits loosely over the arms but stays up because of the bolero fabric over the back.
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2 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Steve Miller/GrampiesI’m also a big fan of loose clothing and have toured in long-sleeved linen shirts in the past. Unfortunately, in high humidity linen fails to cool, and I am a prodigious sweat-er. I’m a late adopter of technical fabrics but these sun sleeves are Columbia brand Omni-freeze fabric, they take the sweat and help it evaporate quickly, so it has to be close to the skin to get the cooling effect. Bruce’s orange shirt is the same. I have a pair of white sleeves too, for very sunny days.
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekI agree- the sun sleeves are really effective in the heat.
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2 months ago
Coffee number two
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John SolemThat’s a lot of ice.
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2 months ago

We only had 8 more miles left to our destination, but I’m not gonna lie, we were both draggin’ ass by the time we finally got there. It’s hot, we’re not used to it, and of course 28 miles for us is pretty long since we have not trained at all before leaving home. Don’t be like us, people. We were both shot, and didn’t bother looking for dinner, we were out in the tules and there just wasn’t anything around that looked open. But you know what? Not long after we got there and settled in our room a thousand million rocks, er, raindrops, pounded the roof and we were safe, and dry and showered and sopping sweat-soaked clothing washed and drying under the air conditioner. 

It is an adventure and not always very comfortable but we’re safe, we’re not at war, we have what we need, and we have each other. I would like it to cool down, and soon. That or I just get used to the damn heat and humidity but that seems to be getting harder for me now. But you know what? I slept. I slept like Bruce. 

Today's ride: 29 miles (47 km)
Total: 44 miles (71 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 6
Steve Miller/GrampiesDodie is the worrier on our team and yes, it can make for interrupted sleep. Hope things soon settle into a good routine, you get more used to the heat, and the sleep for you BOTH becomes restful.
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2 months ago
Rachael Anderson29 miles is very impressive! That’s about what we did on our Spain trip and we weren’t dealing with the heat. I certainly understand your anxiety. I was anxious in Spain and there’s a lot less reasons to be anxious.
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2 months ago
Rich Frasier“Don’t be like us”. OMG - you are so much braver than we could ever be! I’m enjoying following along but to be honest I’m glad it’s you out there and not me. I don’t think I’d be able to function!
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2 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Rich FrasierIt’s pretty early in the game but we definitely are doubting our wisdom here. The heat, humidity, and traffic are harshing our mellow so we’re taking a couple of rest days here in Ben Tre to see if we can get Bruce’s rack welded and ponder our options.
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2 months ago
Kat MarrinerI haven't checked in to read what you are up to for a long time, but your writing brought it all back home in an instant. Heat, anxiety, getting your travel legs while actually traveling, I feel all of that with you. And then you stick the landing. You are safe, you have each other, you are doing what you love in your own way. Thanks for my midwinter warm-up.
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1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Kat MarrinerAnd all of those factors are still in play, but definitely muted at this point. We are in an area with very little food because of the New Year holiday, but suddenly Peng is making us fried rice. All is well.
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1 month ago