Today is the third day of our bike tour and Vietnam is lovely.
Outside of Saigon the traffic has thinned, the pavement has crumbled, and the honking madness of the big city has given way to tiny indigenous villages where farmers and fishermen and their waving children live.
Yesterday we biked 56 miles. The ride started with 10 miles of rolling hills up to the small towns of Dong Mang and Long Lanh. Then we tackled a 3.5-mile climb over Hon Giao Pass, the longest pass in the country. It was difficult, but not as terrible as I had feared. My butt hurts like nobody’s business but that is inevitable.
The days are full. I am awake early in the morning and tired after dinner. My cheeks are rosy from the sun and wind. These are the ingredients of my favorite kind of day.
I am writing this on Christmas Eve. We have taken a boat to a tiny island called Whale Island where we will sleep tonight. The breeze is cool but heavy with humidity. Waves are crashing 50 feet from me. Christmas songs are playing from the loud speaker and a fake pine tree is sparkling with lights. I feel very far away from home but I am grateful to be here, on this mangrove island, with the waves and good friends and the promise of more miles tomorrow.
The beauty of Vietnam and the kindness of her people have already endeared me to this place. I love the interaction I am able to have with the people and the landscape from the saddle of the bike. Why have I not done any serious biking before?
From Vietnam I am sending you all a bundle of holiday wishes. I hope that you are surrounded by love and friendship as your year ends and that 2014 finds you happy and healthy.