14 January 2012
Getting out of Saigon was as easy as getting in. I track west on a busy but orderly road until I hit QL1, loop around on a feeder road and bam! I'm right back in the highway melee.
This section of QL1 is pretty frantic - mainly motorbike traffic, though with local buses pulling in and out from the kerb to keep you alert. Keeping alert is really what it's all about. The traffic is far less frightening when you're in it compared to looking at it.
I had some tailwind help again today, and I was in Tan An, with about 50km on the clock, in a couple of hours. Here I transition to a back road, simply to get off the highway. It's a good move, as the traffic's much lighter and the road is intermittently shaded by banana and coconut palms. There's plenty of expensive-looking country villas along the road too.
Before leaving the highway, there were loads of stands selling cold coconuts. Unfortunately, now there are no stands, and I start wanting one. I see coconuts on palms, coconuts heaped by the side of the road, even coconut processing centres where teams of workers strip off the coconut husks, but noone's selling. Eventually I give up and settle for a sugar cane juice. It comes with salted peanuts on top, which seems odd but is welcome. I've been so absorbed in the coconut hunt I've failed to realise that I've started to get a little sunburnt. Of course, two minutes down the road, there's cold coconuts on sale.
A few more kilometres and I'm in My Tho, on the banks of a distributary of the Mekong river. Sunset over the Mekong never gets old...
76km, 23.2km/h, 3hr16min, 4027km