Biking along a road is one thing, biking on backroads and getting lost in villages is another. Kylie, my mom and I borrowed two bikes from our homestay and took them for a spin. We crossed two bridges to the village of Cam Kim. We peddled along the Thu Bong River through the misty drizzle. The rainy season starts the first week of October, but because of climate change, the rainy season starts later and is unpredictable. We did not have any specific direction and took turns whenever we wanted. Just after the second bridge, we turned onto a road that led straight to a little floating cafe. It was made entirely of bamboo and bobbed on the river. It looked so quaint that we had to sit and enjoy the views for a while. We ordered two freshly squeezed lemon juices that were refreshing.
We ran into several dead ends that resulted in U-turns. They seemed like people’s backyards because of all the rotten star fruits and mangoes on the ground. Along a more populated road, we came upon a joyous engagement party. The booming VietPop reverberated with deep bass. Soon after, Kylie grumbled about being hungry, so we stopped at a road side eatery. They sold three things, and we ordered Bun Cha Ca. In Hanoi, the Bun Cha was vermicelli noodles, veggies, pork patties, with sauce that Mom worships. Here, it was a fish cake noodle soup. Nevertheless, it was so delicious that we ate the rest of their supply. We talked to the lady’s son for a while and learned about their life in the village. She used to sell the food into town, but for the past six months, she cooks in her front yard and sells to the locals. Her son spoke very good English despite not learning it in school. At the same time, he is learning Korean and Mandarin. Their grandchildren/ niece and nephew came home from school to have lunch. They were the same age as Kylie but much shorter. After thanking them profusely for their kindness and generosity, we exchanged quick hellos and goodbyes and set off to continue on our adventure.
Most of the scenery were either the river, rice paddies, or the houses of the villagers. We saw boats cruise by, water buffalo eating grass, farmers working hard in the fields, an engagement party, family temples, lots of fruit trees, gardens, and the daily life of the people in the area. On the way back, we saw villagers burning garbage on the side of the road. Unfortunately, burning crop and garbage is a common occurrence and the smoke contributes to poor air quality and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere .
It started to rain harder and it was getting harder to see. We had yet to find our way back, but after a few wrong turns, we arrived at the bridge. With a speedy head start, I zoomed up the steep part while Mom and Kylie were left in the not-so-dusty dust. They just walked their bike up the hill and we rode back in the torrential rain. Just as we parked the bike and got inside, the sky started to pouring buckets and we were relieve that we had missed the worst.
The day before, while I was out at My Son with my dad (Read about it here), Kylie and Mom rode a bike around town, trying to find a beach. They biked through the main road to get to the beach. It was very beautiful and Kylie had lots of fun! She played in the surf and collected lots of pretty shells.
On the way back, they decided to take a detour along a country road while singing (probably horribly) Country Road by John Denver. They biked through the farm land, mainly green rice patties. They saw cattle frolicking in the grass and saw cattle egrets eating the flys buzzing around the cattle. They stopped at a roadside cafe and got the most delicious passion fruit drink ever! It was strong, tart, and a little sweet. Everything a passion fruit drink should be!
A little while later, they stopped yet again, to get another strawberry-mango smoothie. By then, they were hopelessly lost so like any other person, they pulled out Google Maps. But as we all know, Google Maps is a bust and led them to a dead ended construction site. They had to make several U-turns, ride along an unpaved road and back track a lot until they found their way back to civilization. To their joy, they found a great bowl of pho waiting for them. They could have gone further, but their gluteus maximus hurt too much to continue.