Hoi An, Da Lat and Mui Ne in a Nutshell

The next day in Hoi An we rented the motorbike again and drove 60km to My Son, a cluster of ancient Hindu temples. We wandered through the crumbly remains of the temples, up steps and through doorways, peeking round half-walls and hiding in the shadows of dark rooms. In the evening, after watching sunset at the beach, we met some really lovely Canadian girls in the dorm. We went for food in the restaurant next door, where I'd been a few times and they were so lovely. I got the delicious White Rose dumplings again and the owner fussed us and brought out free melon slices, small cream filled pastries, green tea and then some biscuits for us - all free! Afterward we all headed to the infamous Why Not? Bar.

Last day in Hoi An was mostly just killing time whilst waiting for the night bus to Dalat. It was a horrible journey, a cold draft from the air-con, even though the vents were closed. I had a cold so was all stuffed up and the bed was really uncomfortable. Changing bus early hours was painful and the bumpy rest of the trip up to the hilly town of Dalat was miserable. My face definitely reflected this. Today was Tet which is Vietnamese New Year. We headed down to the lake to watch the fireworks at midnight. There were crowds of people, huge red balloons, people burning 'fake' money in the street (the ashes are for ancestors), huge colourful plants and back at the hostel; a tree decorated with red money wallets that had 2000 dong in (<1p -="" a="" and="" area="" back="" being="" bits="" christmas="" coloured="" covered="" dangerously="" different="" each="" every="" flowers="" for="" guests.="" has="" have="" hundreds="" motorbikes="" movement.="" of="" on="" p="" people="" pink.="" plant="" plants="" rope="" run="" sold="" some="" strapped="" streets="" swaying="" tet="" the="" their="" them="" these="" to="" towering="" tree="" up="" version="" vietnam="" were="" with="" yellow="">
I was a bit scared of doing canyoning but it's one of the best things. We did a few dry run abseils to get used to the rope and jumping down. I was really anxious and on my first step backwards, slipped and smashed against the wall, cutting my elbow. I was shaking the rest of the way down. The next ease-us-in wall went slightly better but at the end the rope finished and you drop into cold water and swim across. The third one was a full on waterfall! For the first half you watch the guide at the top for instructions. The water is fierce and you have to slide your feet down so that the water doesn't knock your legs from under you. You also do it in socks for extra grip. Then about halfway the water is gushing in your face and you have to look downwards, and watch the other guide. After a while there is no more wall left and the guide motions for you to drop. I looked down at the 5 metre drop and crapped my pants. I took a few deep breaths and let go. The drop felt like ages and I was terrified. But it was also incredible. We had a huge lunch and then continued. There were a few waterfalls we could swim about in and some 'natural slides' where you lay backward in running water, arms across chest and the guide lets go of your legs. The last abseil is called 'The Washing Machine'. After going down about half, you end up dangling in between the crossover of 2 waterfalls. You then have to quickly lower yourself down until the rope ends and you drop into the water. If you go too slow then the water spins you around, like being in a washing machine.

Mui Ne was the next destination. We arrived in the evening and not tired after sitting on a bus most of the day. So we went to a beach bar, which got pretty crazy and then ended up with the bouncer trying to get us to pay to get our own shoes back.

There's no sand on the beach near the town, it's all concrete, so we sneaked into one of the hotels and used their sun loungers for the day. The day after we did the sunset tour of the sand dunes. First we went to the Fairy Glen, which is a muddy stream you walk down. No idea what the attraction of this is. The guys rode an ostrich, which sounds cool but was actually pretty cruel as they are not looked after very well. We walked up a sand dune for the view, burning our feet on the way. Then they took us to the yellow sand dunes. We got in a four-by-four and hung on to the back as he raced around the dunes. Then we spent the next hour throwing ourselves down the dunes. Then onto the red dunes for sunset. Not very atmospheric with hundreds of other people there. After that we had some fresh fish at one of the local food markets and then back to the beach bar. Inside we met 2 Vietnamese who invited us to sit with them. They were drinking expensive whisky and ordered loads of nice food, forcing us to eat some. One of the guys was quite drunk so they both left. The 3 of us were looking at one another, thinking they've probably left the bill for us! We drank the remainder of the good whisky and then one of the guys came back. Luckily we hadn't been scammed and he was just a wealthy Vietnamese interested in talking to foreigners. We threw some shapes on the dancefloor, then the 2 guys went to a party with the Vietnamese guy and I went to bed.

Next day we were all meeting to go eat snake! One of the guys had gone to the party and met some infamous gangster there and drove around the city in his expensive car with police lights and sirens on! He showed us the video on his phone. Messed up. Today we had arranged to eat cobra at a locals house. He had prearranged a taxi to his house. If you're squeamish or sensitive towards animals then maybe skip the rest of this blog entry. When we arrived the family welcomed us and took us through to outside where they had set up a table with Dalat wine and poured us some local grown coffee. I drank everyone's as I love it so much! They had the white cobra in a bag and it was hissing and jerking about. I didn't watch the rest but I know how they killed it. I won't write about it. First course was a soup. I thought it tasted a little like a pork version of Chinese chicken soup. In between, they brought out a tray with the heart still beating and the tail moving. The guys did shots of the blood in vodka with half each of the heart. I didn't try this. The guys also helped prepare some of the food in the kitchen with the family. Then there were more courses of the meat in spring rolls, sausages and other fried goods. I was surprised how tasty it was.


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