11 November 2011

Team Flinders Tackle 70km For Cancer Research!

We awoke to the sounds of city life - motorbikes whizzing by, roosters crowing, children laughing, and every other sound you would expect to h in Vietnam. Today promised to be filled with beautiful scenery and my goodness was it true. This time, the rice paddies and small towns were paired with flowing estuaries filled with fishing boats of all shapes and sizes. If there was anything to keep our minds off of the endless kilometers, it was certainly the sights, sounds, and smells (not always good) of Central Vietnam.

Today the skies were blue, the breeze was light, and the temperature was HOT. For some it was a blessing to get out the rain and wet while for others, the heat proved to be the biggest challenge of the day. It seems the grass is always greener on the other side of the Hai Van Pass! With the sun beating down on us it meant we had to hydrate a great deal more and a lot more frequently. What was maybe a liter in the course of 50km became a liter every 10km!

Special shout out to Rachel and Sue, who were really feeling the heat this afternoon but took a moment, regrouped, and finished every last kilometer for Flinders! Just two years ago Sue was fighting off breast cancer and here she was today keeping up with even the big boys (and our token kid - 16 year old Oscar who is cycling with his Dad, who will have renamed "Oscar's Dad) and holding nothing back. Talk about inspirational!

We arrived at My Lai just before 4pm to visit the museum and memorial dedicated to the site of the worst American atrocity committed against Vietnamese civilians during the war. On that site in the late 1960s, 514 civilian men, women, and children were killed at point blank range. Three soldiers, seeing how wrong this act was, actually commandeered a helicopter and flew 10 people to safety. The Commander of the operation officially apologized in 2008. It was a chilling reminder of the evils of war and a true testament to the perseverance and spirit of the Vietnamese people.

From there it was 10 short kilometers into the sunset to our hotel in Quang Nai, where we are now hunkered down eating and sleeping. There are only 3 activities on this trip - eating, sleeping, and cycling. As I told Symon and Shane today, just do as you are told and you will have a much better time. Did they listen? I'll let you tomorrow. Until then!

One final shout out from Della to her class back in Australia. She wants to make sure all of you are doing your assignments ON TIME and also sends a very big hug your way!

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