We got up at 8am and the first thing we did after checking out was to hit the shops. I needed sun lotion, mainly as my face resembled that of a red superhero wearing a white Zorro mask. Not flattering, but at least I knew my sunglasses were working.
Our route took us back onto the road running past the orange sand dune and on towards greener land. The lush green plant life contrasted strongly with the orange sand it seemed to be growing out of.
The rest stop was to be Trap Cham, about four hours up the road. Just outside the town is the Po Klong Garai, a collection of three Cham buildings up on a hill. The cost of visiting these has recently risen to 10,000d – double that listed in the current Lonely Planet. One of the buildings is currently used and we had to ask someone to unlock it so we could see inside.
The heat was incredible so we had a quick siesta before remounting the bike and starting the last leg towards Nha Trang about 100km away. On the way we stopped for an hour for an email check at a very swish cybercafe. Big comfy armchairs, LCD screens, working keyboards, aircon and only 4500d per hour. Well cheap.
We’d traveled maybe 20km north of our pit stop when – would you believe it – the back tyre went flat again. Fortunately we’d once again come a cropper right by somewhere we could have it fixed. This time the fault was diagnosed as being the inside of the tyre itself. Some wear on it was rubbing on the inner tube and creating a hole in it. Solution: new tyre. Cost: 250,000d. Ah, well.
While we were waiting, I was invited to sit with about a dozen men who were sat – topless – eating and supping on rice wine. As usual, I was offered a shot glass full of wine. As usual, I necked it in one – to a cheer and cries of “very good!” Conversation was limited due to my complete lack of Vietnamese, but it was – as ever – humbling to experience such a welcome and generosity.
Thankfully that was our last stop until we reached Nha Trang. We picked a guest house a little way from the tourist bustle and settled in. which is where I wrote the draft for this post. Next stop would be somewhere selling food. After a long day biking I was starving!
We went to the Texas Steak place down the road (26a Tran Quang Khai St – no web page!). A bit pricey at first glance, but great quality and generous portions. The owner is a genuine American who’s been in Vietnam for 2Â½ years. Nice guy.