I am tucked away in the corner of a French bakery in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), enjoying the air con, a Vietnamese coffee and streaming some KEXP. Susan is off getting her hair done.
We are regrouping after three weeks on the bike, and HCMC is a welcomed stop. It has clearly been influenced by the West – Starbucks, KFC, Circle-K, and many others are here , but it still remains exotic enough to provide an interesting stop for a few days. More about some of the interesting stops in HCMC in a future blog.
Last night, we enjoyed our first dinner and sleep in weeks without sharing our table with other guests and/ or guides and enjoying some nice accommodations without gecko’s, mosquitoes, cockroaches or any other crawling critters. We are digging our hotel in HCMC and highly recommended it- The Silverland Sakyo Hotel (http://www.silverlandhotels.com/silverland-sakyo-hotel-spa.html). Vietnam has so much more infrastructure than Cambodia, and we were in some off the beaten path places while cycling.
Before arriving in the city, we had the chance to enjoy some local, much anticipated Pho (pronounced fa), and local coffee -out in the country side in places like Chau Doc, Can Tho and Tra Vinh.
It was fantastic to spend the last week in smaller towns and areas of both Cambodia and Vietnam, spots that are generally overlooked by most tourist trips. We biked through rice fields and on islands using a local ferry system.
We also managed to visit another floating market (our 3rd or 4th one) before we finished cycling. Floating markets are a bit of a tourist trap, but they do represent how many in the area live. The Mekong river which flows from China through Cambodia and Vietnam to the South China Sea is a major waterway for transport and commerce (very similar to the Mississippi back in the States).
It has been HOT! Here is a shot at 5:30 in the morning in Can Tho, Vietnam. This was a warm day for sure.
We will switch gears a bit and play tourist for the next couple weeks, setting out to see the sights of HCMC, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. We will be hopping on the train to check out these places and a few UNESCO sights along the Vietnamese coastline.