Bicycle shopping in Saigon

17th February
We bought bicycles! The local brand which can be bought second hand are practical machines designed for commuting with luggage on the back and a kid in the front. Only one gear so not suitable for us. Instead I found another shop selling Jett mountain bikes with plenty of gears. We added a luggage rack for our bags, slick tires, comfy handlebar grips and a water bottle holder. The total was 7,800,000 dong; about £100 per bike. 

Cycling back to the hotel through rush hour in Saigon was an experience. Chaos all around when stationary. Once moving at the same speed as the traffic it starts to make sense. The rules of the road seem to be: 

1. Big stuff has priority over small, even when it shouldn’t.

2. Make no sudden changes in direction. 

3. The first to flinch gives way. 

4. A honk means “I’m not going to flinch”. 
We’re still recovering from food poisoning so yesterday was quiet. A walking tour of central Saigon, a siesta, and a shopping trip to get supplies like cereal bars and drugs to make us get better faster hopefully. 

We’ve booked a bus to Mui Ne on the coast about 200km away hoping the sea air will aid our recovery. We’re looking forward to some countryside again on the road to Dalat, originally a French colonial hill station. We’re also looking forward to cooler temperatures in the hills. 

   
As we set off to cycle to the bus stop the hotel clerk looked on in bemusement. Louise told him it was our first trip so we were a bit nervous and he reassured me that yes the city roads were very dangerous, many cars, no good for cycling. After that morale boost we set off. Luckily at 6am there was little traffic so we made it safely. The sleeper bus was interesting with three rows of double decker reclining chairs.

  

Little Muine Cottages proved to be an idilyic spot right on the beach, tempting to stay a few more days but we plan to start cycling tomorrow. Despite Alex saying “I wish the bicycles would get stolen so we could just stay here!” Unbelievable from the cycling fanatic I know, but true!

  

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