The first day we had headed north-west out of Hanoi. Day two we continued in the same direction. The first 80 kms we road smooth pavement but the road then deteriorated to broken pavement and gravel. Basically the road was breaking up and for 50 kms it was quite gnarly with lots of dirt, but no problem. We crossed over three mountain passes.
This is typical of the scenery early in the day:
This is typical of what we were seeing a little further on:
It was not a long riding day and we reached our destination, Than Uyen, early in the afternoon. We found a decent hotel room at $15 and after unpacking took off to check out the town. There was a river running through the town with a lot of muddy areas alongside. Some women were trudging through the heavy mud, in the hot sun, collecting tiny shrimp.
While having a drink on the sidewalk this passed by us:
Soon we found the local market. We had not seen a Westerner since we left Hanoi and it soon became apparent that the locals were quite intrigued by us. Kids were following us around, teasing us and engaging us in play. The adults had big smiles and seemed quite taken with us, lots of interaction between us. Communicating was quite a problem though as nobody spoke a lick of English, and we spoke no Vietnamese. The market was a riot of color with clothing, fruit, meats, vegetables, meat and seafood.
The fish sellers were particularly friendly:
A lady who seemed more educated than the others and spoke broken English engages us in conversation with many questions of where we were from and what we were doing. She then taught us what was to become the most used Vietnamese word on our trip, pronounced phonetically "bow-ni-yoo" - how much does it cost?
We found a few decent road food items and then went to a restaurant for what would become the staple of our trip - beef noodle soup known as beef pho.
Total mileage for the day: 145 kms (91 miles)