Day 14 - Buon Ma Thuot to Dalat - Run to the hills
Another early start, this time for Dalat, had the stunning receptionist from yesterday express how happy she was to meet me and how sad she was I was leaving, if only I could break hearts so easily in Shanghai...
I rode through rolling hills, wild west-alike towns and expanses of flat seemingly isolated rice fields, stopping for a cool drink with a very accommodating family around noon. Two ladies and one teenage boy were chopping wood whilst the young kids rested and played in the heat.
The scenery seemed to change with every new valley.
On an awful potholed, steep, rocky, unforgivingly bumpy road just south of Krong No I saw a thick dark snake cross in front of me, nearly spanning the width of the road. Things were starting to get very hot and with the roads being ridiculously hard work I was getting rather warm and dehydrated.
My next drink stop in a wooden shack high on a hillside saw me make more new friends, young farmers with some intriguing tattoos, mainly concerning mermaids... I barely had time to cool off before we were downing rice wine and eating spicy lemon chicken together.
I had to escape further wine and gambling on games of pool before I was too wasted to ride. Even more dehydrated and half cut I coasted down the mountain to a town apparently fashioned entirely from awkward low walls and sheets of junky scrap metal. I popped into a shop to grab some water, on leaving the shop I saw 8 small faces staring at me over a wall behind which was my bike. I let a few of them have a sit on the bike.
The traffic up to Dalat was frustratingly dangerous, mainly thanks to the genocidal drivers of tour vans and enormous coaches. I stopped in the centre of town and took in the sights of chubby sun burned tourists ambling around overcrowded streets. I ate a western style beef burger then grabbed a room at the fairly priced Long Vuong hotel. That evening I went to a massage parlor, where I also got to float about in a Jacuzzi and sweat the filth out in a Steam Room, a highly recommended way to end a days riding in Vietnam.