From the Depths to the Heights

From Mui Ne to Dalat, December 29th 2009,

From a 1 star hotel on our first night, we headed to a 2 star hotel for our second night. And now, we are heading to a much better "life" in Dalat. From the beaches on Mui Ne, we're heading to the mountains in Dalat. From the depths, we're now climbing to the heights. You’ll see ;-)

Approximately 2 months before our departure to Vietnam, I already intended to book a morning bus for Mui Ne - Dalat from Sinh Tourist. But the agent told me to rebook by December 1st. When I did, it turned out that they had changed their bus schedules. There were no more morning buses from Mui Ne to Dalat.

I searched everywhere in the internet, but it was not until 2 days before our departure date that I got an email telling me that their agent sold the morning bus tickets and could be purchased beforehand through Western Union. That was already Friday night. Online banking was not available for Indonesia, and going to a Western Union ground office on a weekend would be insane.

I was worried we would not get the tickets on account it was high season. The one and only reason for me to visit Mui Ne was the sand dunes. Apart of that I learnt that Mui Ne has not much else to offer. I could not imagine being "trapped" in Mui Ne and beheld from Dalat because we could not get a bus -- the only transportation.

I explained this to the agent who emailed me and she told me that I could purchase the tickets a day beforehand at their office in Phan Tiet or I could contact my front desk.

On the way to Mui Ne from HCMC we texted each other and she assured me that I would get a seat. Truly speaking, I was still worried and could not totally trust her.

As I had not even the slightest idea of where the office mentioned in Phan Tiet was, I tried to talk to my front desk receptionist at Hon Rom 1 Resort as soon as we checked in.

I almost couldn't believe my ears when our receptionist nodded enthusiastically and wrote me a receipt. I read the receipt again and again. It said: Mui Ne - Dalat, 7 AM, 4 pax @ 100.000 VND.

Of course I didn't expect it would be a mini bus like this one. However, I guess I was just too relief to be able to get moving from Mui Ne to Dalat in the morning that this mini bus served me as a mini miracle.
The back seat was very narrow, I know. That seat where Michelle first sat was crazy. That only seat. I regret I didn't take a picture of it. I had to lean on the window glass (instead of the back seat), fold my legs up and "hang" them on my camera backpack which I put on the seat next to me. Thank God anyway, that seat was vacant. Thank God, we were moving on, to Dalat.

Aha! This has been the most modest rest area during any stop over among the whole of my 1st and 2nd trip to Vietnam.

But do not underestimate this super moderate rest area, because it has a satellite. Along the way, Wiwik and I had been impressed by these wooden houses which had a satellite. There were many, many, houses like these along the way.

The interior of this rest area looked exactly like Indonesia's "warung kopi".

One thing I did not realize during my first trip to Vietnam was that these people are crazy of hammocks. You can find many, many, places like this along the streets. I saw them by the side of the streets, inside the house, and on a pick up truck.

And... a rest area, no matter how super moderate it might be, won't be a rest area without hammocks!
Indonesia's "warung kopi" doesn't have hammocks. Indonesia's "warung kopi" doesn't have pho bo, either!
Michelle had her first try of a truly made-in-Vietnam-pho-bo.

Sorry to say, this cute dozing dog under the chair was much more interesting to me than :Pho bo :P

And here we are in Dalat!
Let me give you a sneak peak, eh? :P

And another one!
… … Nope! That's not our hotel yet!

Here it is! Hagl Resort! See the tennis court behind there?

This is the main lobby which I actually shot the next morning.
I'm showing it to you now, because I can't wait to make you envy us :))

Here's the backyard of the main lobby.

And here's the pavilion where the 4 of us stayed for 2 nights in luxury.

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