|The front tyre on the bus|
This is going to be a quick entry (which I know is unusual for me), for two reasons: 1.We’ve been in the seaside resort of Mũi Né for only two days and have done very little (almost nothing) and, 2. We’re heading off first thing in the morning to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and I want to get up-to-date.
We had an ‘interesting’ bus journey from Da Lat to here, it was 4 hours and 155km due south on fairly poor mountain roads that had huge pot holes and sections that had been totally deformed and rutted by heavy trucks. We were on a normal, very old public bus that was full and our pick up was one of the last stops, so the only seats were on the back row, which turned out to be a bad place; the bus bounced violently over every bump, needing us to hold on tightly to avoid being literally thrown out of our seats.
|A kitesurfer learns to control the kite on the beach...|
On more than a few occasions bumps caught us unaware, causing our necks to jar (maybe we need a massage).When we finally got to a more main road our driver decided to stop at a service area and have breakfast and I had the opportunity to walk round the bus and have a look, which made me quite worried. The back tyres were OK but the front tyres were of different makes (never a good idea), but were also almost bald. In addition the nearside type had several splits in it, one (not shown on the photo) on the sidewall looking quite bad. I summoned the driver over, who spoke no English, and pointed out the defects, shaking my hand in a wavering motion to indicate I’m not happy. He did pay attention and nodded in agreement, but got back in and started the engine. Maybe it will make him drive more carefully I thought, I thought wrong, but we did arrive safely without any problems and I hope he goes to get the tyres changed (!).
|And then heads off at speed! Notice someone in the distance in mid air|
|Looks like a hell of an adrenaline rush!|
The drop in altitude from 1500m to sea level and travel further south has dramatically increased the temperature and it is very hot and very humid here, making any movement tiring, so we have done very little, not least as we have both had headaches since we’ve been here, despite drinking plenty of water.
We knew this area at this time of year is good for windsurfing and kitesurfing as the wind blows quite strongly straight in from the South China Sea, but we were quite surprised at both the strength of the wind, the size of the waves and the vast number of kitesurfers out when we went to the beach.
|However, we had more sedate activities in mind!|
Almost every beach front building offers kitesurfing lessons, ‘zero to hero in ten days’ they say, all for the sum of $650. As we stood on the beach marvelling at the skill level and how they do not crash into each other despite the congestion out there and took photos (mainly for Mark and Bill back home who are well into their kitesurfing and windsurfing respectively) a girl instructor asked if I was interested. “No” I said, “we’ve enough expensive hobbies as it is”, but they do offer a free taster lesson and I think Jackie could have been interested, but she didn’t have a go. She said the wind always blows at this strength at this time of year, a fact we temporarily forgot when we chose a beachside restaurant for our evening meal! We moved away a bit and a little out of the wind, which was warm and still very humid but, while we were eating, I suddenly noticed that the wind had dropped and it has stayed low all day today.On the subject of restaurants, by the way, the food here is superb. Last night a whole red snapper fried with garlic, tonight Jackie had prawns, squid and barracuda kebabs, I had a crocodile steak (I asked the waiter to 'make it snappy'!
|Our pet gecko in our room. We're hoping he'll eat all the mozzies, but we've still be bitten a few times. He's trying his best, he just can't get round them all!|
|Jackie goes for a dip in very warm water|
Very pleasant on the beach, no wind, small waves – and no kitesurfers! Instead people were out swimming and there was a water skier out. Jackie had sneakily donned her bikini under her shorts and t-shirt so was ready to go in, I wasn’t, so I sat on a wall and looked after her clothes while she went in. As I watched her walk out and back along the beach I thought that this is not a bad life and I’m a pretty lucky guy to be married to her! Would I have been disappointed, however, if I’d come out here on a ten day ‘zero to hero’ package! What did the kitesurfers do all day today? I think they were out on motorbikes, zapping up and down the one main road through the town!
The other thing that’s very noticeable here is the large Russian contingent and most places have signs in three languages. They look just the same as us so it’s interesting to watch people walk up to a restaurant and look at the menu. The waiters wait until they know the language they are speaking and then launch into the appropriate tongue, be it French, German, Russian and English. One waiter started to speak to us in Russian as we looked at a menu and then apologised profusely and started speaking in English – puts us to shame!
We’re in a great little hotel complex, which feels like a campsite and our hotel room feels like a cabin. Outside are tables, chairs, recliners and hammocks strung between coconut trees and a white find sandy ground. It’s idyllic and, although it’s on the opposite side of the road to the sea, there is almost no need to go there, it just feels very pleasant to laze about on hammocks all day and we’ve made full use of that! Actually we’ve spent most of the day organising our trip after our three nights in Ho Chi Minh City. We’re going to the Mekong Delta and it has taken most of the day to read all about the area, decide where we want to go and then looking at hotels and homestays to make our visit memorable. It’s hard – people just don’t understand!
That’s it, leaving here tomorrow for a 5 hour, 200km due west journey to HCMC. I just hope the bus is in better condition than the last one, but our man tells us it’s a luxury coach – we’ll see!