Yin and Yang

Skip this post if you don’t want to know about some of the harsher realities of bike travel in southeast Asia. Like any tourist, I’ve only shown you the best photos of the prettiest things. But if you’re curious about the full experience, here it is.

Vietnam was by far the worst for trash, everywhere. If you stick to the most popular tourist areas, you might not encounter it quite this bad, but you will certainly notice it.
Bali and Vietnam excelled in roadside fires, the smoke from which irritated the respiratory system. People sweep up their properties daily, then burn the trash/leaf piles since there is not much of a garbage removal system.
The grit and grime is a cycling-specific downside.
as is daily sink laundry
mostly encountered in Cambodia’s gas stations and wayside temple grounds

I don’t have photos of every unpleasant aspect I encountered, so here’s a sampling of what you might expect if you cycle or visit here.

  • Heat
  • High humidity
  • Heat rash
  • Road rash
  • Chafing
  • Sunburn
  • Hydration/electrolyte issues
  • Poverty
  • Repressive governments
  • Hyperinflation
  • Touts/hawkers/pushy proprietors/being hassled/touristy markets
  • Haggling
  • Air pollution
  • Poor water quality
  • Anti-malaria medication side effects
  • Decisions: for every photo posted, there are five that aren’t

For any unpleasantness I saw or experienced, there was also balance in nature’s beauty and the amazing resilience and friendliness of the people.

2 thoughts on “Yin and Yang

  1. Lovely post! Especially this: “For any unpleasantness I saw or experienced, there was also balance in nature’s beauty and the amazing resilience and friendliness of the people.” ❤

    Like

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