Today started like any other as we cycled down the Vietnamese coast. We left Da Nang and the 5 star hotel that we had checked ourselves into, (because we couldn’t be bothered looking for a cheaper one the day before), at about 8am. The road south was un- interesting and reasonably busy with loud tooting buses and trucks. The wide shoulder proved effective at keeping us away from the worst of the traffic. However at regular intervals the locals had decided to use it for sun drying rice so we were forced to ride through their intended dinner or do battle with the heavy traffic. When there was no rice to avoid we were often further tested overtaking slow cyclists or scooters.
Like all other days so far we had regular drink stops along the way and just prior to reaching the day’s destination we stopped while the heavens opened up and it absolutely poured down for about 10 minutes. Delivering what looked like Nelson’s monthly total of rain. When temperatures are constantly at about 31C the rain is hardly an issue for us. But it plays havoc with the bikes, washing all the oil off and promoting accelerated rusting.
The day would have been a bit of a bore had it not been for the Dung Quat Hotel. At our arranged destination for the day, (a town of little scenic value and having nothing going for it that I could see) up rears a 4 star Hotel. Adi says” let’s go there”. I say “no we need a cheaper night”.
So we check it out and sure enough its 880 000 VDN . I’m telling Adi to get on her bike when the manager comes out and says they will do it for 700 000 VDN. The hotel is worth 880 000 but I have already told the manager that we can easily get a 400 000 one in the town and that would be good enough for us.
Since 700 000VDN is only what we would pay for a motor camp in New Zealand we agree to take the room on the proviso that the bikes are secure.
The staff are friendly and the room is great. I feel a little sorry for them as we are the only guests except for a Chinese business party and their wives.
Now I want to warn all my friends that buy Chinese made bikes like Treks, Specialised, GT, Avanti and all the others.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING!
I know I’m not in China at the moment, but just across the border. But the Chinese are here on holiday. Flush with all your money the Chinese are holidaying in Vietnam, Thailand and other such places and driving all the quiet reserved nice tourists away. Until you’ve vacationed next to a bunch of Chinese business men and their wives you will never be able to comprehend the noise and mess and total disorder these karaoke playing fun lovers can generate. I tell you I thought Americans were loud but these guys are in a totally new league. Sure the American accent makes you wince and Aussies on the piss are pathetic but being around Chinese having a good time is not a place you want to be.
After suffering dinner in the restaurant with the Chinese party, Adi and I made our way back to our room. Only for me to be called to reception by the manager, who was very concerned for our bikes, which had been locked in the security manager’s office.
He needed me to sign a statement that our bikes where all ok as the security manager had noted that my bike had no saddle (I remove it with the saddle bag that is attached to it) and that Adi’s bike had one less drink bottle than my bike and also had no bell!
I couldn’t quite understand this concern at the time and didn’t want to sign anything without first seeing the bikes again. So we all went down to security to inspect the bikes as Adi went back to the room for a coffee. Sure enough when we got there the said bikes were exactly as I had left them with a very disturbed security man scared that something was amiss as Adi’s bike also had no temperature gauge or compass, items that my Mercian comes standard with.
I signed and dated in triplicate that I was still happy with the bikes and thanked the security manager for his devotion to duty.
On the way back to the room I thanked the hotel manager also for his care and he advised me that the security manager had rung him three times that evening to voice his concern regarding Adi’s bikes missing equipment, so he had to sort the issue.
The whole incident left me wondering why I had bothered to put a cable lock around those bikes.