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What's Wrong

by Tara

If we were toddlers, we would be dragging our feet, whining "I don't WANNA!" this morning. Since we're all grown up, we seethe quietly instead, and force ourselves out for another ride. As the day progresses, our inner toddlers win out just a little. Instead of getting into the groove of pedaling, we make any and every excuse to stop, even more often than usual.

There is a lot to see, and we're content to do anything but actually biking!

Interesting Vietnamese Statues... Vietnamese Man Splitting Bamboo Vietnamese Man Splitting Bamboo Bamboo Baskets / Cages for Chickens Vietnamese Woman Weaving Bamboo Basket Vietnamese Man Sawing Ice

A few hours into the day, we've barely made any progress, and neither of us can keep up the charade any longer. We hate this! So, we pull into a parking lot, buy some cold yogurt and drinks from a nearby restaurant, and flop down on a park bench. It's time to check in and talk about this, whatever this is.

With the luxury of hindsight, or some much needed perspective, navigating the raging sea of our emotions would probably be obvious. As it is, we're right in the thick of it, unable to see the forest for the trees. All we really know is that lately we've been perpetually grumpy, easily irritated, and every cycling day has become something we have to muscle through, rather than enjoy.

So what is the source of our malcontent? Our homesickness has mostly abated, so that's not it. We're not feeling groggy in the morning now, so quitting coffee probably isn't it. Are we just done with cycle touring? After talking about that for a bit, we conclude that no, we are not done cycling. We really like it, and we're very much looking forward to biking in Laos.

And then, captain obvious flips on the light-bulb. It's the all-pervasive, omnipresent traffic noise that doesn't ever, ever shut up!

It's the sudden blasting honks that take us by surprise, no matter how many times we've heard them. It's the shrill beeps making us leap out of own skin, nearly giving us heart attacks all day long. It's the repetitive piercing horn blasts that feel like someone is stabbing our eardrums with unbent clothes hangers in a manner not unlike the shower scene in Psycho.

That's one thing I hate! All the noise, noise, noise, noise!

The Grinch

Yesterday, we brushed the whole thing off, chalking our feelings up to yet another experience on this trip that we're simply going to have to muscle through and learn to tolerate with the demeanors of zen masters. But today, sitting on the park bench in the shade, finally able to make sense of what's been the root cause of our unhappiness, we re-think that decision.

This isn't some hardcore expedition; the two of us just want to see the world, Vietnam included. And right now, we're unable to do that on bicycles without hating our lives. Something has to give.

With this realization in mind, we decide that once we reach the mountain town of Da Lat, and then go coasting back down to the beachside city of Na Trang, we'll hop the Reunification Express and chug north along the coast wherever we want to.

Bicycles just aren't the best way for us to explore this country. No longer feeling bound to cycle the entire length of Vietnam as we had originally planned, we feel liberated and relieved, even the slightest bit excited for the coming days.