We were on the road today at 7:30.
It was already rather warm but the view of the water was incredible. Some of us detoured down a short lane to a fish market. The round boats were pulled up to the shore and had been unloaded. Others had coolers to keep the fish fresh while people on motorbikes carrying baskets came to buy the fish. The beach seemed to be a public one with many chairs available for sunbathing. The market had two pairs of long ladies' gloves for sale .... it is important for women to keep completely covered to have pale skin. We fought the pull of the beach and continued on.
Next came glorious red sand dunes and more views of the beaches. Along the way there were many potential resorts with perhaps just the front gates and fence having been built; we wondered what money had bought the properties and when they would be completed. We had lunch in one lovely resort, not on the beach, with lush grounds but no other customers. We wonder at the number of staff in the resorts and restaurants. After lunch the courtyard was scattered with exhausted cyclists lying on cement benches in the shade.
Near small villages we met many delightful school children in white shirts and dark
pants returning home for lunch. They would shout "hello" at us or "what's your name?" and fall into giggles when we responded.
Other sights were Brahma cows and bulls tethered to feed by the roadside or being used to pull ox carts, lotus ponds, egrets, rice paddies, etc. We stopped by a dragonfruit plantation where Chau explained about the growing of this tasty fruit. Squarish cement posts about 3 feet high are planted in the ground and fronds from the mature plant are planted and tied to the post. The new plant grows up these posts and the fronds droop down (looked like some kind of cactus to me). It was not the season but we did see a few flowers. Further on we came to plantations where lightbulbs were hung on lines between the trees to encourage the flowers to bloom.
Chau had arranged for us to stop at a shrimp farm as well. The ponds might be a hectare in size. The larvae are brought from Australia and fed with food containing antibiotics (sound familiar?). In six months the farmer can sell his shrimp for $3 a kilo. While standing by the pond we got into a history lesson which is too complicated to share here.
Most of the roads today were okay with parts being excellent and other parts, including one old wooden bridge, under construction or full of potholes. We all felt like we had put in a long day at the end of the 102 km in the heat and humidity. The swimming pool beckoned.
By the way, the first day's post was written by Doug. Today's was written by Yvonne.