Monday, 6 February 2012

On the way to Hanoi 6th February 2012

Fast forwarding the blog..back to conclude Saigon adventures soon.

 Saigon to Nha Trang..

8am the bus pulls away from Pham Ngu Lao road only to pull in again, twice more further down, now the bus is filling up, but still a few empty seats one of which becomes a temporary bag store. Not seats as such, but loungers that can be either upright or nearly flat. According to the schedule, should make Nha Trang by 6.30 tonight.  Bus isn't in tip top condition but I didn't pay top dollar either so I don't mind and it's comfortable enough, with air conditioning. Driver number 2 hands out bottles of water to everyone.

Nha Trang is a coastal town roughly quarter of the way between Saigon and Hanoi, being a picturesque and pleasant location to stopover according to research. The ticket is an open tour, designed for tourists to hop on hop off,  something not available by train yet, and it was only $34. Slow going getting out of Saigon through an area reserved for heavy industry - lots of steel and concrete. Bus go's via mi une about 4 hours away, the road is small and despite having a tarmac surface is still a bumpy ride! The bus is pulling in to what seems to be a European equivalent of the good old service station. A coffee here is around 90p, but I have enough supplies until lunchtime at least.

 Approaching Mi une and the scene could almost be a replication of a town in the Arizona desert. It,s very flat with block buildings on sand. The landscape changes soon into hills and sand dunes. 1245 and the bus pulls up opposite a ticket desk and a restaurant with the menu in Russian. 25 minute stop for some fast food and a coffee from the shop further along. There isn't an abundance of cafes or accommodation that i can see from the brief stop here.

The road to Nha trang is small, still bumpy but is along some spectacular scenery. The sea on the right, mountains on the left, and some very rural scenery. Rice fields, duck farms, cattle and various plantations.  Salt mines and even a wind farm along the beach. Mountains are getting higher, the peaks are in clouds. On the road now for 4 hours without a stop and the driver seems quite reluctant to make any unscheduled stops. The woman are getting agitated. The driver finally stops at the request of a rather large Russian lady. I wouldn't mind some biological relief also and grab the opportunity.

Not much to see of Nha Trang at night, except for avenues of lights. Looks like they're stretching out the Chinese new year a bit. I'm looking out for places to stay, not to much around here , I don't see much in the way of guesthouses or even hotels for that matter. Bus rolls into a side Street, everyone disembarks here. As if by magic a man pops out from nowhere holding a book of photos. "You need hotel", he asks. $10, has tv, fridge, air-con and Internet, even running water so, yes, I'll take it. Well, despite a host of internet scare stories about tour buses in Vietnam, I have at least survived the first part of this long, long bus trip to Hanoi. Next.....overnight to Hoi an.

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