Day 12: 85 km
It definitely felt like a Sunday today – the relaxed demeanour of the locals gave it away. We rode through dead-flat countryside with small roads crisis-crossing between low dykes and rice paddies. There was a little industry in the fields between the villages however most people were relaxing. We heard singing drifting out from a Catholic Church and lively card games played under porches. We were practically dragged into one busy coffee shop by the local teenage guys. They were dressed to impress with big, shiny (fake) watches and close-cropped back and sides shaved into patterns. The welcome was warm and the coffee was ice cold.
From around 8.00 AM we started seeing family parties. Always the same ingredients; rock-concert-loud music, hundreds of scooters and dressed-up guests plus tables and tables of food. We couldn’t identify the event being celebrated or commiserated.
A beautiful and endlessly interesting ride ended in Dong Ha, a nondescript in-between place on the main road. We bagged a great deal online and checked into a four star hotel to while away the afternoon. Our room had a large glass window between bed and bathroom. Odd. We explored the hotel to find a ping pong table (the score was two games to one) and a pool table…with no pockets. We’ve yet to grasp this version of the game. Next door was a suite of karaoke rooms with Vietnamese falling in and out. Think small, bling rooms, huge volume and limited talent. The Vietnamese love loud and they love karaoke.