Riding Vietnam Day 164: I’m On The Highway to Somewhere

After another bowl of pho for breakfast (can’t remember the last time I have said that), Thomas and I drove from Buon Ma Thuot in the direction of Kon Tum, where we planned on staying the night. In the in-between town of Buon Ho, we met up with the rest of the biker gang (Raven from France, Greg from Poland, Roman from Canada, and David from the U.S.) including a German couple that eventually split off from us. As I saw them out of the corner of my eye getting ready to board the biker trail, I legitimately contemplated the idea of passing them by as if I never saw them in the first place. I enjoyed the freedom of riding with only one other person and hated the idea of giving that up. The road to Kon Tum was quite boring to be perfectly honest since the only realistic road there was a long stretch of highway that left little to the imagination. A stopover in the city of Pleiku brought some variety before finally reaching our last destination for the day. Lunch in Pleiku at some randomly chosen stand worked in my favor as I got experience a whole new world of soup. The noodles were not the usual strands of rice vermicelli with some actual bite to them mixed into a broth housing a mixed of meats including some coagulated liver that I specifically requested them to spoon into my bowl. The one main tourist sight in Pleiku is a Chinese looking temple/pagoda that sat within an expansive peaceful lush garden with some sort of koi pond fit into the middle. I truly felt like I could have been in China or Japan with the architecture and handcrafted carvings flooded with all kind hues touching the full spectrum of red and pink with the typical Chinese lanterns. The most awe inspiring temple that rose above the trees to no mistake of the less than keen eye stood nine levels high and still very much a work in progress. Eventually we found ourselves in Kon Tum for the night. During our search for food, a 12 year old boy came up to us and asked in some stumbled nervous English if he could talk with us to practice his English. Of course! On the way to a restaurant he said that he would recommend, people kept looking at us as the attraction that we were especially with this brave young boy acting as our tour guide. For a snack, we stopped to pick up a bao bon steamed bun each. The dough was light and you guessed doughy with some meat and vegetables lodged inside akin to an Asian meat pie. I loved it but wouldn’t have been opposed if they had some nuoc mam fish sauce available to dip in. I don’t know how or when it happened but now I religiously drizzle this deathly smelling sauce onto everything I eat. Im converting into an Asian (at least as a foodie) day by day. After awhile we noticed what appeared to be his mom following us around. It is nice to see her supporting her son in his efforts to learn a language that can provide him a bright future. He is a smart kid that knows quite a bit of Chinese as well. After a bowl of pho that the other guys tried to avoid. They ordered it dry without the broth which is like asking for a hamburger without the meat. The broth brings all the flavorful into one wholesome meal. Eventually they realized their mistake and followed up with orders of broth all around. I had decided to join Roman and David on a long one day ride to Hoi An that would include a detour into a park that supposedly cut through the mountains. I didn’t exactly like the idea of 40 km detour to go along with an already extensive 280 km day but that was the only way I could hopefully guarantee myself getting to Hoi An as soon as possible, I had grown weary of my healing wounds and believed that I needed to reach some legitimate care as quick as my sad ass bike would allow. Thomas, Greg, and Raven would be staying an extra day in Kon Tum for a village tour before likely joining us in Hoi An. After another troublesome experience of changing my bandages, I could finally go to sleep, which I would need every bit thanks to a early proposed start of 7 a.m.

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