Since I last wrote tons of stuff has happened and I only have a minute right now. Ginger and I opted for a fancy Hotel last night, $50 a night, which is 5x what we have been paying. We are in Da Lat now and on the home stretch towards Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh City).
We have been through at least 3 major cities- including the beachy resort town Nha Trang, but it has not been beach weather so we only stayed one night. Getting to Nha Trang was a 135 KM ride that we did in one day, so we were quite exhausted there as well. In the morning in Nha Trang we headed to these mud baths and relaxed, and decided on a half day of riding. We wanted to take two days to get to Da Lat-and we did.
Out of Nha Trang, we asked the hotel receptionist, a man with super good English, for the best way out of town, and he gave us a shortcut. We should have been more clear because he gave us a shortcut to Da Lat, on back roads, with very few of the little towns we had gotten used to seeing. That meant no where to stop for food or water. We were getting nervous as we rode through poor villages without food, but many kids shouting their hellos and leading cows down country roads. It was beautiful for sure, but we needed a place to sleep.
I really think we saw a unique ethnic group in these villages, there are 50 some different ethnic groups in Viet Nam and the people in these tiny mountain towns looked so different. They had no slant to their eyes, dark brown skin, and reddish hair-it was a very interesting place to pass though to say the least.
We finally came to a Pho stand at a tiny outpost and thought we should get dinner now, because we might have to ride the whole evening into Da Lat. It was 4pm- it gets dark around 5:30 and the man there, Hung, convinced us to stay at his house, as he mimed trying to ride in the dark. We agreed it was for the best because we had another 80 kM to go.
So we spent the evening with Hung and his wife Ja, their grandson Ham, which was awesome and hilarious and I wish I had time to write more. When it got dark, at 6:30, Hung said he was going to bed, and asked when we would, I said 8pm. I knew they wanted to sleep early and I thought 8 would be okay, but about an hour later, Hung came back out and led us to the bedroom, where he tucked us under the mosquito net and told us to sleep. It was like he couldn’t sleep until we were safe in bed, so we laid there talking and listened to Ginger’s ipod until sleep came. The bed was hard and neither of us slept well.
The ride the next day to Da Lat was ridiculusly hard. We rode 25 KM up mountain roads, before giving up and hopping on a passing bus. There were literally no down hill parts and again, no towns on this back road to get food or water and after riding 7-11 and only getting 25 KM done, with 67 left to go, we were realistic and knew we had to take a bus.
There are a lot more stories of things that have happened and I would really like to write a post about food but this is a long post and I don’t have time right now. So after the “homestay’ at Hungs and two days of tough rides, we opted for a nice Hotel. Anyways- I have to go now- we are going to try to see a bit of Da Lat before riding out towards Sai Gon-this time- not on country shortcuts.