Day 6 Dalat

14 Sep

Day 6 Dalat, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

One of the nicest things about cycling in Vietnam is all the kids that wave and smile and shout hello, looking either very happy to see us or very amused at the crazy white people cycling in the midday heat. Mid 30s today, making the gentle climb up from the coast seem much harder. As we climb, the sandy dryness gives way to lush greenery, the backdrop grows into mist shrouded mountains. After 60km of cycling, we have a picnic lunch before taking the bus up the steep winding hairpin bends into the central highlands, past coffee plantations. The road is steep and rough so I’m glad not to be cycling this part, but I wish I was riding my motorcycle up here. I’d certainly be making faster progress than the bus!

In Dalat we check out the manic market place, that looks like a cross between Uzbek and Mongolian markets. Dalat is in the hills so it’s quite cool, and the sun sets fast and early this far south, so we emerge from the market place into a nighttime scene of neon advertising and the ceaseless beeping of the moped swarm.

Picture shows fishing boats along the coast north of Mui Ne.

Day 7 Nha Trang

15 Sep

Day 7 Nha Trang, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

63 miles of cycling today, including some long climbs, thankfully cooler up in the mountains, a long fast descent that was great fun, then a real soaking over the last 15 miles through the rain, which is so warm it’s like cycling in the shower. At the end, Nha Trang, a mix of chaotic city with half a million lunatics on mopeds, and idyllic beach resort with 5 star hotels. Dark by the time we arrive at 6, so looking forward to seeing the white sands and turquoise waters tomorrow, but for tonight the restaurants and bars beckon.

Day 8 Nha Trang

16 Sep

Day 8 Nha Trang, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

A rest day after the big ride yesterday. Blisteringly hot, blue skies. A boat ride out to the islands, for swimming, snorkeling, and lunch on the boat. A walk around the Buddhist temple, where the 93 year old head monk gives me a good luck charm and a younger monk laughs and says I look like a monk too, because I have a bald head…