Passes, lowlands and ancient ruins
Quy Nhon Travel Blog› entry 8 of 15 › view all entries
We get up before dawn, because Iâ€™ve planned on taking some pictures of the sun rising over the ocean. Unfortunately the entire sky is clear, except for a small strip just above the horizon. In spite of this little set back it is nice to be on the beach so early when it is still nice and quiet.
Time has come already to leave this magnificent lodge and around 7 am we are on our way to Quy Nhoâ€™n. We have barely left Mui Ne when we see a funeral procession from (according to Michel) descendants of the Cham people. He can tell this from the flags the people are carrying. The people wearing white clothes are the deceasedâ€™s next of kin. From the hearse false money is thrown, the spirit of departed may need this on its way to the afterlife and to bribe the gods and gatekeepers, just to make sure they will let it into paradise.
We stop for the first time at 9 am, for a drink in a restaurant near the sea, on which there are people working at any given time. Inside the restaurant, against the wall, stands a terrarium containing lizards that are meant for consumption, we donâ€™t mind that it is still a little early, because we donâ€™t feel like having a lizard-lunch that much.
When we move on we see lovely blue birds sitting on the electricity lines. One of them takes on the challenge and tries to out-fly our bus, but when it becomes obvious that it canâ€™t win, it sets itself down on a wire again and it soon vanishes in the distance.
Around ten we reach the Cham tower of Poklongarai.
On the way to our lunch we see the vineyards of the Da Lat region. The wine culture here has started to develop itself in the last few years, but the wine should be pretty good.
After lunch we pass through Nha Trang where we visit the Cham tower of Ponagar.
Every bus ride is an experience on itself, the landscape changes constantly, from the mountain passes near Nha Trang to salt fields that are still full of water, because it is too early in the season. There are some shrimp farms and several shell-fish farms as well.
We cross the railway from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi several times, because it pretty much runs along the road we are traveling. It is a single track and trains moving in opposite directions have to wait for one another on short stretches of double track, making the trains even slower than they already are. The track runs through villages, where the houses of the poorest are built virtually on the track, only allowing the train speeds not excessing 10 km/h.
To Bon is the name of the lowlands we travel through, this area is known for its tremendous winds, some people Michel knows were blown off the road here, moped and all..
On another break we see a man working with his ox cart, hauling sand from the restaurant to where it is needed. Backing the animal up appears to be not as simple as we thought it would be. In the distance a bamboo bridge, that is probably stronger than it looks, enables pedestrians to cross the river.
When the afternoon comes to an end we see lots of school children going home, all of them wearing their uniforms. As soon as they spot us, it becomes unclear who is looking at who now. We have pulled over near a gas station and our driver uses the opportunity to fill up his almost empty fuel tank. On the porch of the gas station stand at least ten fire extinguishers. I wonder how much good that will do when fire breaks out here...
Michel has told me only seconds ago that we are ahead of schedule and that if we are lucky we will reach a beautifully engineered wooden bridge before dusk, when all of a sudden our driver starts stirring his gear-lever like he is making a cauldron of broth.
I sleep the last stretch of our trip, it is dark outside and thereâ€™s nothing to see after all. We arrive in Quy Nhoâ€™n at 11.15 pm and we will be here for one night only.
We take a shower and go straight to bed, which is a pity actually, because our room is spacious, nicely lit and very comfortable.