A Travellerspoint blog

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Muggy day in old Hanoi

sunny 90 °F

Back to Hanoi, and extremely muggy weather this week (Tuesday, Wednesday). I'm back at the Especen, and off to Hue on tonight's train. My sweating is somewhat uncontrolled in this weather, and the cold certainly does not help. Just stopped at the pharmacy for some Belgian-made cold tabs, and next to meet Diep for lunch and to get my train ticket.

I've experienced major computer access problems here recently - just trying to pay a few bills has been very difficult, and this blog has been of lessor priority. I checked the weather on the Central Coast, and while it looks pretty typhoon-free this week, it will be warm. (I'm seriously thinking of trying to fly into Nha Trang or Dalat instead of training all the way. At least Viet Air tickets can now be bought online.)

I just can't get enough of Vietnamese coffee - you must try ca fe sua da (iced coffee) - like a triple espresso with filtered Viet coffee beans and sweetened condensed milk over ice (a real experience not matched in the West). Viet filtered coffee is almost syrup in consistency (these people love their sugar, diabetics beware!)

Posted by Daawgon 19:16 Archived in Vietnam Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Hanoi to Hue

Livitrans (upper) sleeper, first class

sunny 90 °F

Time to leave Hanoi, and Diep promised to collect me in front of the Cathedral at 17:45, but instead, his right hand man came on motorbike. Diep knows how I hate to ride as a passenger on a Vietnamese motorbike, but it was then too late to argue, and I prayed for success. To make matters worse, it was rush hour, and streets were packed. If you've never ridden as the #2 man on a Honda scooter with a good size backpack + shoulder bag + small bag of tangerines in hellish traffic on the streets of Hanoi, you've been blessed. I was taken to another hotel where we were to meet up with a Canadian/Vietnamese couple (Montreal) who would be my compartment mates on the train. We went by Mai Linh cab to the Ga, and it did work out well, and the company was much appreciated. We shared the 4-berth compartment with a Japanese guy from Nagoya, and his English was rather good - a very interesting group all the way to Hue (the Japanese guy was headed for Danang, and Hoi An.) They had the AC blasting away on the train, and it's possible it might have worsened my cold (had to keep under the covers most of the night).

Arrived in Hue a little early (about 07:50), and I thought the Canadians were sharing a cab with me to a hotel (I waited and waited outside in the sun - bad move!) They never did show up, but I got a pretty bad sunstroke, and the water works started again. Guess my guard was down, because I accepted a ride with a non Mai Linh cabbie, and we all know how that turned out (that's right, taxi scam # who know's ?). I asked for the Amigo Hotel, but I was delivered to the Century Star instead, and I was not a happy traveler. I more or less threw 40,000VND at the driver, and started on my way. I didn't find the Amigo immediately, but since I knew Hue quite well the second time around, I headed for the main street, and checked into the Binh Minh Sunrise (I stayed at their sister hotel last year). For $25. I got a great room on the 4th floor complete with oversize teddy bear on the bed.

I hear it might cool down tomorrow (must be at least 90 now, and the place is very muggy), and that's fine with me. I catch the state train to Nha Trang at 01:07 Saturday. This time I'm in a lower berth, soft sleeper 2nd class. I've never slept on the regular state train B4 (how bad can it be?) It's dinner time, so guess I'll go a-hunting.

Posted by Daawgon 03:13 Archived in Vietnam Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Enroute to the Flower City

Hue to Dalat via Nha Trang

semi-overcast 70 °F

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Nha Trang beach volleyball

A short and hot 2 days in Hue (same/same), and I was at the Ga waiting for the 01:07 train to Nha Trang. Soft sleeper was dirty, and late getting into NT due to typhoon washouts. Travelfish recommended the AP Hotel on the main drag, and that's where I told my Mai Linh driver to go. A rather huge room and luxurious bathroom awaited me, and I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful beach area - certainly Vietnam's Waikiki at it's finest. I had heard otherwise on the net - I had heard complaints about a dirty beach, but it was truly beautiful.

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Dalat in the Central Highlands - my last stop

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Dalat is the flower center of Vietnam

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Central market has everything, flowers to food and hardware

Next morning (today, Sunday) I caught the 10:30 Mai Linh Express (Mercedes van) to Dalat via the new road (it might be new, but the access to the new road was under construction, and there is no such thing as flaggers here in VN - buses, vans and motorbikes just flow through the earth movers!)

Arrived in Dalat to more surprises, thought Dalat was a small mountain resort full of tourists, but what came up was a small city in the Highlands with very few tourists in sight. I checked into the Phuong Hanh Hotel downtown and close to the central market. A very interesting place full of very friendly mountain folk, and certainly much busier than I had thought. I think 3 days here will be just fine.

Just had dinner of cream of shrimp/mushroom soup, chicken with vinegar and onion, flan and Dalat red wine - excellent. Then I stopped at the pastry shop for a few small cakes and pineapple juice (I missed lunch today).

more to come, stay tuned...

Posted by Daawgon 03:12 Archived in Vietnam Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Happy Birthday, Spud

November 17th, 2001 in Jerome, Idaho USA

sunny 65 °F

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Spud relaxing in Oregon City at Day & Night Dogs

Sorry I had to miss your 8th birthday, Spud, but I'm coming home in only 2 days. I fly to Saigon tomorrow night, and onto Taipei, San Francisco and home the next day. I can't sleep because I'm so excited to see you.

Posted by Daawgon 16:14 Archived in Vietnam Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Dalat on tour

semi-overcast 60 °F

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The shots above were all taken on the Daily Tour #1 in Dalat, Central Highlands. We saw a little of everything in this diverse town. I really enjoyed the (German-built) cable car ride, and then on to several pagodas, a thundering waterfall, a former king's mountain retreat, lunch at Little Dalat Restaurant (seafood soup and beef goulash), to see the silk embroidery demo, and to taste many of the area's dried fruits.

Just had dinner for the third time at Long Hoa up this street (fried spring rolls and BBQ shrimp, unshelled with heads still attached - messy but tasty) and a large Tiger beer on ice - 150,000VND. Naturally, I also had to stop at the wonderful bakery across the street for a few custard and coconut treats.

Please excuse the quality/selection of the photos, as picking decent ones from the thumbnails is near impossible with this cataracts!.

On to Saigon on the late plane tomorrow, and a few hours later, it's home for me.

Posted by Daawgon 05:28 Archived in Vietnam Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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