Those of you that follow my Puglia blog will know that I went down to the start of one of the stages of the Giro D’Italia bicycle race. I even managed a photo of Bradley Wiggins or Wiggo .
Today I tried to emulate him on a ride to the fishing village ten kilometres away. There is one hill between here and there and as I rose from my saddle to start pumping the pedals I thought briefly of him. Four minutes later as I slowly ground to an halt on the incline I rather hoped no one let alone Wiggo was watching. Boy this cycling is hard work.
I did make it and have the pictures to prove it but on the way I took a few photos of my local pub that we use both for drinks and food now. This is the bar
Nothing too salubrious I admit but for me it is home ! They have their priorities right here a coffee with milk is 15,000 dong ( 45 Pence ) and a 400 ml Saigon Green Label is 10,000 dong ( 30 pence ) . The main road separates the bar from the restaurant which is on the sea front.
Okay maybe no the most comfortable of seating but when it’s dark and the waves are crashing in it has a certain ambiance, oh and it’s cheap. Plate of fresh shrimp, big plate of squid, mix veg and a couple of plain rice 135,000 dong ( £4 ) . The seafood is displayed on this side of the road but cooked on the other side so a metal bowl is used to slide the uncooked food one way and the cooked food the other. They wait for a break in the traffic and across it comes over this road.
The old Aussie guy Bill ( he is probably younger than me ) seems to hold court there every night and different groups of kite boarders stop by to chat, drink and eat at his table as the evening progresses. Last night he had a couple of French guys and a Pom as well.
What is it with people that stand on boards as a sport. It seems they need almost another language to talk. Snow boarders do it where as skiers don’t, kite boarders use the same one though water skiers don’t and the grand daddy of them all surfers started the whole thing off. Bill seems unfazed by all the dude business and just slowly drinks his Tiger beers.
The Pom was joined later by another one and after the usual high fives etc and a comparison of shoulder tattoos they got to talking about the Old Country. Both it turned out were in the building game in blighty . Loads of jobs in the UK in construction said one and the other agreed tons of them , hard to know which ones to take. Been busy for a year they both confirmed. Of course in the perverse way of the English workman where had they come during this period of frantic and therefore very lucrative work . Kite boarding in Vietnam. One had come for two weeks and so far been here 5 weeks. Might go back in March guess the boss wonders where I am he said and the other said he was to do the same.
Alongside the bar is one that has closed
I guess no one bothered to tell the Vietnamese owner that things have changed in Russia and maybe this was no longer relevant !
Anyway I was putting pressure to the pedals again and eventually made it to the fishing village
Hey I agree not worth the effort but once there I had to take a photo. There is a bar there (as well as loads of tour buses and taxis for the wuzzies that don’t cycle ) . The bar is crawling with young kids selling fridge magnets of Vietnam and some particularly awful ones of Mui Ne for about 4 times the price they are in the “gift” shops on the strip here.
I had never thought about “tat” before I moved to Cyprus where our next door neighbour an English guy told me he was in tat. His company in the Midlands started years ago making tat for “gift” shops in the seaside towns of the UK. The British were keen to take home some memory of their holiday and a wooden plaque with “I was in Exmouth” or Lyme Regis with a tatty thermometer stuck on it that broke almost immediately seemed the ideal thing. As the Brits started to go abroad the company widened its reach and Trevor joined as international sales manger selling “tat” to “gift” shops in Spain, Portugal and the like. It is always in English and follows the style so successful in the UK. He now sells all over the world as the Brits move ever further afield.
Clearly the Russians have a similar need as they buy the stuff by the suitcase load to go home. So something we have in common at last and okay I admit I have bought a couple of magnets myself.