The journey on Sunday was exciting. We had caught the
local train and trundled out to the little villages
until our stop and jumped out. The carriage was full
of characters and there was only one incident where
someone was killed on a level crossing. We stopped for
a while for everyone to get out and have a look and
then after 20 minutes or so carried on. It all seemed
So we arrived in Dai Lanh. Little fishing village
100kms or so north of Nha Trang. Population is
something like a couple of thousand at a guess and is
only notable because Highway 1 AND a train station
converge at what would otherwise be a backwater
fishing village. It almost immediately poured with
rain as we left the station. A hundred pairs of eyes
looked at us in silence. We went on the beach where we
hoped there would be these poetic ramshackle
bungalows. No sign of anything other than lairy kids
all hassling for money and dog mess on the white sand.
Oh and did I mention that we were on the only train
that stops at Dai Lanh each day?
Fortunately we were given shelter by three old men in
their wood store and they made us tea. They were
genuinely nice people and we watched the rain fall and
attempted to extract some information about accom. In
the meantime we had various curious individuals come
in and gawp and pressure for money by pointing at
their baby then indicating to the palm of their hand.
By now it is a familiar sight and can sometime be
accompanied by "dollar" or "baby". In the end one of
the nice men from the woodshack led us to a strange
place just off the highway which was obviously a well
frequented "destination" hotel that was more used to
charging by the hour. We counted ourselves lucky that
they only charged us $12 for the night. To be honest,
they could have charged anything.
We later decided to brave the elements and explore a
bit and got hassled some more, a lot more - oh and an
invitation to pay for the return of my sunglasses
which had been stolen at some point when in the wood
store, which was refused on principle. b******s.
All in all it was a very strange 24 hours. We ate at
the strange hotel place but kept everything locked
because the girls running the place were just as bad
as everyone else. Thankfully we discovered when the
next train would be in the morning and was told that
we could get on the train from just outside the hotel.
We had a very unsettled night, listening to the
driving rain on the tin roof and in pitch blackness,
never feeling so vulnerable or exposed amongst people
who, if they really wanted, could make things VERY
True to form the train the next morning DIDN'T stop
outside our hotel so for a brief few minutes
contemplated the terrible horror of having to stay
another day. Then we stood by the roadside (Highway 1
- the MAJOR highway for Vietnam) and flagged down a
passing bus and negotiated a reasonable rate of 75,000
Dong each to go north to Danang.