We’ve moved house. We are longer in the south of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as the locals still call it. Nope, we are a 2 hour airplane trip north now, and have just moved to Hanoi.
As usual, when I’m in a new town, I try and hook up with the hash in order to get a run in and to hopefully meet some new people. And this Saturday was no exception when we turned up at the American Club in town at 2pm to catch the hash bus to a destination to be still announced.
90 minutes later, we found ourselves at Dai Lai Lake.
The Lake is found at the foot of Tam Dao Mountain in Me Linh District. You can see these hills from Hanoi, and even as I arrived off the plane just a week ago, I was excited to be back to some sort of mountain range after the comparative flatness in Saigon.
The place seemed slightly cooler than Hanoi has been. Runs around Hanoi have been reduced to getting up at 5am to avoid the 37 degree Celsius heat and 90% humidity. However, Dai Lai Lake is still in Vietnam, it was still pretty hot. The run itself was fun. We started off down through some forest, emerging onto a panoramic view of wonderfully green paddy fields.
The run then took us along the banks of a river before finally emerging on to the Lake. It was hard to resist the temptation to just dive in and forget the run. Many local Vietnamese had the same idea, and were splashing around in the water on their weekend break. It seemed like a really popular holiday destination for Hanoi locals, allowing them to get away from the city’s heat and to enjoy one Vietnam’s beautiful lake and mountain scenes.
To provide us with one final breathtaking view, the final part of the run brought us straight up a small hill full of pine trees. I’ve not seen a hill in weeks, having been forced to run on flat tarmac around city streets. My legs were happy with the incline and enjoyed even more the rocky descent on dry ground.
It took me around an hour to stop sweating. My clothes were dripping and my fingers had even gone wrinkly from the amount of water I was losing. It really is hard to do any exercise in such conditions. However, I have to do something as I’m also in the (bad) habit now of drinking cold, cold Tiger beers to help me keep cool in this climate. And at my rate of drinking, doing exercise to burn off the excess calories is a definite must. I also have to keep doing some sort of training as I’ve entered the Vietnam International Triathlon at the end of August in Hoi An. I hear it’s even hotter down that part of the country!
All I wanted to do was to avoid Ireland’s cold. Now I think I’ve now gone to the other extreme!