Enter sandman

Trip Start Oct 24, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, March 28, 2005

Leaving the busy city we board a bus for the Mui Ne Peninsula on the South China Sea for afew days of R&R. Peaceful stretches of white sand and swaying palms soon ease our weary bones, and our pace of life slows down to 'hammock speed'. It is also the place we meet up with the 'crazy House' Posse, which i will discuss later.

Apart from a text book stretch of coastline, Mui Ne is home to wonderful desert sand dunes, where the dying sun descends in a ball of fire, sculpting the dunes with shadows of great complexity. We can do nothing but simply stare into the vermillion sky as the wind catches the fine sand in the twilight like dancing spectres. Great moments like these are difficult to describe, they are periods in life when time just stands still and everything else ceases to exist.

The road is perfect for motorbikes and we once again take the services of local riders, who takes down deserted stretches of coastal road, local fishing villages and remote canyons spiked with weathered rock formation. Staying here has been a perfect few days, always rounding the evening off with excellent local seafood cooked in clay pots and a slurp or two of the excellent local Dalat mountain wine. Funnily enough, Dalat would be our next destination, not just for the wine you understand.

Dalat in the Lam Dong province is an Old French hill station and just oozes charm.It is very much favoured with the vietnamese avant-gardists, so it is not short of culinary and artistic delights. Our bus ride takes us to 1500m, and swings through evergreen forests, magnificent mountain passes and national parks. The cool air is excellent on the lungs as the climate changes, making it just perfect to enjoy the surrounding environment.

Off the bus we meet the 'posse', a bunch of free spirited travellers with whom, unknown to us at that time, would be involved in one of the best few days of our trip, which only could have been made better if Kris & Lauren from India were present. I will introduce them in the photo section of this journal, many of which had to be censored due to vast consumption of DIY rice wine kits. Our night begins with Dalat wine, of course, and an evening of gastranomic proportions consisting of some of the best roasted wild game we have ever eaten.

After a bleary morning, a local driver is hired and we speed off through pine forest lined roads , eventually walking to mountain waterfalls and swimming in cool splash pools. A perfect morning is made even better as more food is produced and our Australian chum 'dipper' pulls out a 2L bottle of shiraz, which he has been secretly carrying as a lunch time surprise. Skinny dipping makes for a pleasant after lunch recreational activity , then its back in our mobil with a couple of guitars and off to more exciting and mountain locations. It was about then we bumped into the 'crazy house', which was to be our new home the following day.

The crazy house is basically an art gallery attached to an architectural mind altering construction straight out of 'Alice in Wonderland'. Complete with caves , giant spider webs, mythical creatures and rooms beyond description ( see the pictures), we set up camp for an afternoon and evening of the unexpected. A trip to the local market completes our journey to the outside world and we take up residence.

As the house also receives visitors, our presence soon attracts many passing travellers, who gladly take up our offer to join in the experience. Our room is slowly filling up, the incense is spiralling, the DIY local rice wine kit is in full flow, our dining table heaves with the strain of rich meats and vegetables, while the stereo selection produces a perfect vibe for a most eclectic day. The day turns into night as our enjoyment continues. As the last log is put on the fire I put my head on the pillow and let my mind drift, enter sandman. A perfect ending to a perfect few days, which was made special by our companions, environment and laughter.

The next day was one of creeping about and staying out the heat, I almost did a dance of joy when it rained, but refained from doing so as my head hurt so much, enter Nurofen. After a days rest Hazy and I take the bus to Nha Trang, which is one of Vietnams most popular bech towns. To be honest, not really our thing but good for a few days to catch up on some rest.

Soon after arriving it was off to the hot spring center to soak our bones in soothing hot , mineral rich pools of mud followed by spa-bath treatments. The garden setting was amazing , and the waterfall was cascading water right out the ground. A wonderful relaxing way to end this leg of our trip.
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