Friday, November 19, 2010

Hoi An to Hue Nov. 17th

Hoi An to Hue.   Interesting start from the Thanh Binh Hotel, weren't sure if we were biking, driving or paddling.  Our street had six inches of water.  Much of the town is on the river's flood plain and there are no dikes so floods happen frequently.

Today was a nice but sometimes challenging ride.   First, about 50 km along a sandy beach shore (China Beach area).  Then we went over a pass where it poured then fogged in, in addition to the rain.  At the top were some kiosks, selling drinks and crafts.   While the shelter was appreciated in the downpour, everyone soon found they were captive to an onslaught of pressure to buy.   A break in the fog allowed a welcome escape.   Later we passed graveyard after graveyard along a windy single lane quiet country road.

There were lots of new developments along the sandy beach shores and the future for more seems great.  Low labour costs, warm air and water temperatures, and lots of unspoiled sandy shores all support this areas' competitive position in the condo development world.  One interesting stop along this section was at a marble carving business making use of the marble from nearby Marble Mountain.

The quiet country road mentioned above was on a long narrow island.  A dominant feature was the multitude of graves and massive grave site structures.   Even recent graves had large structures.

A few general observations of the areas we have passed through so far are:
1. Villages usually have:
    a) motorcycle repair shops
    b) a few restaurants or eating kiosks... all open air
    c) blacksmith or ironworks shop (all welders,grinders etc and some have lathes)
    d) small portable sawmill and milling equipment for making planks and other deminsional lumber(band saws and edging machines are all hand fed)
    e) small building supplies stores

   2. Villages often have:
    a) coffin sales outlet and sometimes a manufacturing shop of them
    b) billiard ball recreation room
    c) internet access cafe or similar
    d) hair dresser/beauty shop/massage shops
    e) beautiful wedding dresses displayed for sale
    f)  small carpentry shop making doors and windows but often cabinets etc as well (portable circular saws, bench saws, planing machines, routers and wood lathes)

 A common sight in these low lying rice growing areas is the water buffalo.  They were a common sight over the day, often seen pulling tillers and carts but most often loose in the fields and roads.

We ended the day arriving after dark at the Heritage Hotel in Hue.

Submitted by Les who wrote and composed this report and Brendan, who proofread it and added nothing of value, including the following observations.

After a few days of cruising around this was the first day of any form of climbing,and with the entire group  meeting the challenge,  any concerns Chau  our ever smiling leader might have held  quickly vanished.

Les must memorize his room number, and Doug and Gala need to continue to pull me to the bottom of the hills.   Brendan needs to promise not to wheelsuck his way to the top.

Consult your travel guide or Group 1's blog for more information.

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