Hue: Solo Cycling, An Bang Beach

The forecast had predicted rain all day, but we woke to see patches of blue in the sky. And while the clouds didn’t clear, the day started rain-free. We had a good breakfast (I’m really going to miss these great holiday hotel breakfasts) from the wide choices at the hotel buffet, then , for a change, decided to separate and go do our own things for the first half of the day.

Carol did some shopping, and I took one of the free hotel bicycles and braved the Hoi An traffic to head for An Bang beach, 3km to the east. It was fun negotiating the flow of motorbikes, scooters, cars, and buses, and very easy on the long straight road past rice paddies to the coast—though the bike had no gears so I was constantly peddling at high speed. Sadly, I passed a motorbike accident on the way, the only one I saw in Vietnam. A prone form was being cradled in the arms of someone on the side of the road, but an ambulance had arrived. Idiot tourists rubbernecked.

At the beach a guy charged me 20K dong to lock up my bike (even though I had my own lock) in the official bike-parking spot, and I strolled along the sand beside the rough breakers to a place that has an arrangement with my hotel so I could score a free beach couch. I ordered a Tiger beer and relaxed for a while, watching the tourists constantly taking selfies, and catching up on the Mekong Delta section of Lonely Planet on my iPhone.

After a while, and another stroll, I peddled back to Hoi An, taking a couple of detours along concrete paths that led into the rice paddies (and past garbage and a couple of dead rats).

I met Carol at the main bridge in the old town, and as I approached her I stupidly attempted to show off and jump the low kerb. Instead the tyre slipped and over I went, bruising my wrist and fingers. I was very lucky to avoid worse injury—it was a very stupid thing to do.

We strolled around looking for a place to eat, and finally settled on a table outside a place called Little Faifo; the food was excellent.

I called Anne on FaceTime and wished her a happy 60th birthday. There was a bit of a drama when she said she was worried about Mum, and I called Mum and discovered she had had a “very, very, very small heart attack” and was in the hospital, and hadn’t told anyone. I told her to call Anne and David immediately.

Back to the hotel, where I had a swim, then later we enjoyed margaritas outside the restaurant and talked more with Sue (she prefers Sue as even her school friends and family call her that), who is very keen to have coffee with us on Saturday.

We headed back to the old town and wandered some shops (Carol bought me a lovely scarf today, by the way), and then to a restaurant called Streets, which trains under-privileged kids into the hospitality  industry. The food and service were both really good.

Back to the hotel about 8.30pm—we have an early start to go to the ruins at My Son tomorrow.

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