I took a day off from riding today because the weather was well and truly against me. Dark clouds huddled in the sky as if plotting to ruin the carefully planned days of the camera-wielding tourists who flock to Ha Long Bay. With little wind, they menacingly lurked never far from the mischief they were causing.

Table shower massage?To avoid the anti-social behavior of the moody clouds I decided to go out in search of a decent massage. That in itself was something of a tricky task given the myriad of ‘indecent’ massages that seemed to be on offer. Top tip: Avoid places with flashing neon signs and angry Asian ladies.

I tried the spas in a few of the more upmarket hotels, but in the end, found a place that it turned out had just opened that day. I was their very first ever customer, and while the experience was well within my budget and moderately relaxing, it might have been somewhat more calming had workmen not been busy installing the final fixtures and fittings around me.

After this I headed back to my hotel to tend to the rather boring task of laundry, a task that I have come to understand is little more than an entire waste of time here in Asia.

Vietnam on a motorbike by Simon Jones

No matter who, how, where, or when I clean my clothes in Asia, they never seem to get clean. In fact, more often than not they actually become dirtier! I can be pretty grimy riding along the dusty roads and dirt paths I’ve taken to get here, but I don’t understand how my clothes look worse after a clean?

The shorts I bought for this trip will not be leaving Vietnam with me. Instead, they’ll be discarded after just a few days that have apparently ruined them. Three T-shirts will also be left behind. After little more than a week, having never been worn before, the T-shirts look like they’ve been on worn by someone who has seen several months of hard labor.

I don’t know why this happens in Asia, maybe there is some chemical reason? Either that or perhaps life is just more dirty on a motorbike? I guess I’m just having the grime of my life!

Slow Road to Hanoi – Day 9
Read my tips about touring Vietnam on a motorbike