Dirty Stories from the Road

Distance (yesterday): 103km
Temperature (max): 28°C
View the stats on Strava (Dong Hỏi to Dong Ha)

Distance (today): 72km
Temperature (max): 21°C
View the stats on Strava (Dong Ha to Hue)

Total distance to date: 782km

Yesterday we had glorious sunshine, which has eluded us much of the time here. We made hay while the sun shone and covered big distance. Mid-day we rounded a bend in the road and spotted a fellow cycle tourist and wheeled  up to say hello.  We learned that we had a mutual acquaintance with Dane, in this country of 94.5 million. Ironically, he is the same individual that Michelle, who we met days prior, had told us about. It’s a small world, this bicycle touring one.

Today it was cool, grey & overcast. Then it drizzled. And it rained. And it kept raining. In fact, it didn’t stop. We were the only two people in all of Vietnam who didn’t have a rain poncho to wear. Coffee drinkers sitting under shelter eyed us with sorrow….shop workers smiled at us with pity on their faces. Motorcyclists exuded silent condolences our way. Bus drivers though—Bwahaha, not my problem, sucker!—as they barrelled by us hurling water, road grit, and grime from the sides. We have fenders—fenders are our friend—but NavCom guy (Randy) rides in front, while I ride behind where his wheel sprays grit & grime all up and down the front of me. Split, splat, splodge, spray. All day long. When we pulled into a service centre a man waiting with his family was enormously amused at my dirty appearance in particular and offered to hose me down with the nearby hose.

We checked into our hotel, acutely aware of  stares from lingering guests. To place our bikes in a secure location we would have to wheel them across a pristine, shiny lobby floor. With what remained of our dignity, we asked if we could hose ourselves and our bikes off before wheeling them in. Hotel Guy brought us to an alley where someone had a pressure washer. He offered to blast me down clean along with the bike, but I declined. Randy got his feet & shoes blasted clean, because he’s far braver than I am. And with that, we were able to hold our heads up high as we walked back through that hotel lobby.

We are in north central Vietnam, in Hue, a city of 455,000. Our room is in a little hotel on the 4th floor in the centre of the city. To get here we sloshed through puddles, veered lefts & swerved rights, weaved our way through oncoming vehicles in our lane, squeezed through the eye of a needle to make left turns and we came to a realization—we have assimilated to the traffic chaos and barely react to anything!

Let’s talk Food: We are Pho’d out so on the advice of a friend of a friend, we sought out a great restaurant tonight (Madam Thu Restaurant) that allowed us to sample some tasty regional foods we might otherwise have missed. We dined on a delectable variety that we’ll never be able to pronounce. Crunchy little rolls of veggie-fish-pork thingys, little round balls of squishiness, and long skinny meat on lemongrass sticks—all tasting exotic & new. Randy, being the food adventurer is responsible for eating all that I will not—so he had double portions of the white jelly-like substance (bánh bèo) and the strange thickened gel-suspended something-or-other wrapped up in a green leaf (bánh Lộc).

And finally, let’s talk public washrooms—or rather, let’s not—a single picture at the end will let you draw your own conclusions.

Posted in Uncategorized, Vietnam 2024.


  1. Happy to hear you’ve found more food options! More to come in the cities… so I’ve heard. 🐌 Thanks for the great photos.

  2. Riding in the pouring rain, getting dirty and hosed down, as uncomfortable as that was gives you memories you will laugh about ( once dried out )
    I’m happy your friends, friend was able to steer you to some good food at a nice restaurant 😉 bon appétit.

  3. This pit toilet looks pristine compared to those on the Bund in Shanghai. So bad there ,I got back on the bus and hoped for smooth roads! They are part of the experience for sure. Hope you got pics of the mud twins!

  4. You’re our heroes! What fabulous adventures you’re on! Takes a lot of grit and endurance to do what you are both doing!

  5. Oh how we admire your spunk & courage! Anita, we are so grateful for your diary that keeps us mesmerized and in awe. The accompanying pictures also help. A heap of gratitude & continuing safety on your journey! 👏👍🥰

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