Reported to Flamingo at about 8.30 a.m.
Al wanted to tough it out so we walked to Flamingo from our hotel with all our kit. 🙂
From there we repacked some of our stuff into saddle bags and left some of our stuff behind at Flamingo and were brought to the motorcycle garage Flamingo uses to pick our bikes up.
It was a cool winter day, traffic was mad (as usual) and there was a light drizzle that made the roads slippery and which threw up this fine oily and muddy spray that mixed with the water that was already on your visor making visibility poor.
It took us about 2 hours to get out of Hanoi traffic and this is a picture of me at the first rest break. The bike (and I) were spotless at the start of the ride but if you look at the picture you can see how dirty it got after just 2 hours of riding.
I think Josh was starting to worry as well but as from this picture you can see he is also enjoying himself.
After this traffic started to lighten up and we soon started riding in the country and the views and weather started to improve.
We stopped for lunch at this restaurant at noon and all of us were wondering what sort of food would be served as it was supposed to be an ‘authentic’ Vietnamese restaurant and we were the only foreigners in sight.
The food, service and portions of the restaurant that Flamingo Travel organised were great and we all felt better after lunch.
Hard riding the rest of the day until we reached Babe Lake just after sunset. Our feet, backs, shoulders and rear ends were all sore and we were glad when Hue said “that’s it” for the day. It was a sensory overload and personally I was wondering if I could last another 4 days.
At one stage during the day, we rode through this area where they were building a new road (we encountered a lot of this during the trip) and it was so bad that Hue and Al slipped as they went through and I was wondering if I was going to be able to stay upright on my bike when my turn came around.
We were greeted by the owner of the homestay and again it was a pleasant experience. Food was good and the accommodation was adequate. Given the remoteness of Babe Lake it was not overrun by tourists.
A film crew from S-Vietnam were the other guests at the homestay and we spent quite a bit of time talking to Chip Nguyen. She is a new host for the show and she had just returned from South Africa and published a Vietnamese travel book on her exploits.