Saturday, January 18, 2014

Vietnam 2014 – Day 12 – Lang Son to Tien Yen to Mong Cai

Nothing extraordinary to report. The 80 km stretch from Lang Son to Tien Yen was once again fun motorbike riding, but the scenery was not as spectacular as yesterday’s, and the road was a lot rougher. A fun road to practice sudden stops and starts, or how to keep your cool when you run unto rough pavement, and practically devoid of traffic.

I made Tien Yen, close to the coast, around 1 pm, so I figured it was safe to stop for lunch at a new-looking restaurant. The staff welcomed me with open arms and escorted me to the kitchen to make my selections. Oh, the variety of delicious-looking seafood . . . I settled for a nice fish soup and a calamari stir fry that were out of this world, and only the fear of appearing to be a glutton held from going back for a second round.

The second half of the trip, 80 km to Mong Cai, was not as fun. Clearly it is one of the big arteries between Vietnam and China, so there was a steady flow of 18-wheelers. Fortunately the highway is wide enough, but on at least one occasion I found myself squeezed against the shoulder as one truck was passing the other.

Mong Cai is at the northeastern corner of the country, and is a large and prosperous city at the border with China. I was expecting a strong Chinese influence but was disappointed. Tomorrow I will do some more exploration and may actually go all the way to the border itself. Once again I lucked out and found a Louis XV chateau to spend the night (being a  tourist is a hard thing, but someone has to do it). Fortunately the plumbing is very much up to date, and I even got a bathtub J J J

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