Sunday, 20 June 2010

Journey to Dalat

We had a very fun evening last night; went to a great restaurant where we were given free cocktails and then went to a bar next door where they were playing the number matching game (everyone is given a number and you have to find the person with the same number somewhere in the bar to get a free drink each); so we got another free drink! In the bar we also very weirdly bumped into some of Rosie's friends that went to Churches - so we had a good chat with them. There was also a group of three brothers from Florida who were a good laugh. We ended up going down to the sailing club beach party and sneaking in with the yanks. That was quite amusing although rather westernised to be honest. Finally we ended up going for a paddle in the sea before heading back to the hotel around 3 in the morning.

That late night seemed fine at the time, but the drinks and the small amount of sleep caught up with us when we had to be up at 6 in the morning to catch the bus to Dalat. Luckily it was one of the few times we were relieved to see it was a sleeper bus. So we all settled down for a well needed sleep catch up.

When I woke up we were well into the highlands - yet again we had a crazy driver - swinging the coach round hairpin bends while having a swing of water and overtaking other buses! Mental! I couldn't get back to sleep with that going on! But what also kept us all awake now was the absolutely spectacular views. The mountains and passes in the Alps seem nothing compared to this - huge green treecovered peaks up in the clouds - continuing for 75km down to the sea and Nha Trang, where we had come from. This really is an incredibly beautiful country.

We arrived in Dalat at 11, an hour earlier than scheduled (that shows how ridiculously fast the driver was going!). We booked into a great hotel just where the bus dropped us off.

Dalat is very different from the rest of the places we have been to in Vietnam so far. At around 1500m it is far cooler and looks more like a French ski resort than an Asian city; dating back to the French influence in the area.

We went and had a great lunch at a local restaurant then retired to the hotel for a bit; feeling a lot better! The girls stayed in the hotel, catching up with diaries and sleep, while Ben and I went to scout round the market: it was interesting, but most of the highland attractions are in the area surrounding Dalat; so tomorrow we intend to hire motos and explore the area, with it's waterfalls and hillside villages.

This evening is going to be a relaxed one - another meal and an early night I think.

Today was yet another day of being impressed by the beauty and diversity that Vietnam has to offer.

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