Thursday I woke up in pain from the events of the previous day. My foot was definitely bruised in a few places and the cut was dry. My sandals are pretty soft though and did a great job of easing the pain.
Back at the market for breakfast Tien and I discussed plans to go to Can Tho, a city located a few hours south by motorbike and home to a famous floating market on the river, and to Nha Trang. We decided to go to Can Tho that evening and Nha Trang that weekend or so.
Thu came around with some mangos and a durian. The durian looked like some kind of organ inside, an alien brain dreamed up by H R Giger. They made me try the durian, otherwise known around the western world as "stinky fruit." it was very strange with several successive flavors and a distinct after taste that unfortunately lasts for hours even when chased with a fresh mango.
That afternoon I rained on and off, sometimes very hard, and Mai suggested that we not go to Can Tho that night. We did though, waiting for what looked like clear skies and a bit later than we wanted.
The roads were worse than I expected. Tien had said it would take three hours when I said it would probably take two. She was right though, of course, because she lived there briefly while taking classes at the local college. The sunset was gorgeous with big billowing clouds in the far distance. Darkness set in about halfway there, but it didn't rain.
We passed through a lot of construction, of course. There was a large building that looked finished with a balcony on the second floor that stuck out over the entryway. The third floor stuck out above the inside of the balcony, shading it from the elements and there were no doors between the balcony and the inside. Vietnam is the kind of place where it's never so cold you have to turn on a heater. The floors are made from tile and withstand the elements and human abuse, so you don't always need windows.
The ride seemed to stretch on forever and my ass began to hurt badly. Later I would discover bruises back there on the bones and tissue, and would then decide never to take a long trip on Tien's motorbike ever again.
As we got to Can Tho I noticed two things that set it apart from other places we'd been. First, there were numerous Christian churches, which is very rare in Vietnam. Usually there will be one church and buddhist shrines and temples everywhere. This was probably the first time I'd seen several in a row and it was reminiscent of the USA and it's competitive divisions of Christianity. The other thing I noticed was more progressive fashion that seemed to have a purpose or theme outside the normal engrish phrases. There was a sense of brand style in some of the shops rather than the free for all found most of the other places I've been. The only other place I'd really seen this in Vietnam was the westernized shops in Saigon that were sometimes even owned by the brand, like Dr. Marten's.
We rode down main street and turned off a few side roads searching for a hotel. By this time Tien was doing most of the searching and I was busy trying to find an unbruised part of my back side to sit on. Eventually we found a hotel for $15 and took it. We went upstairs with the intention of resting for a while before heading back out to a place Tien used to eat, but we didn't make it back out until the next morning.