It was a leisurely 6 hours of driving for us today, leaving behind the fabulous Hotel Royal in Hoi An who looked after us so brilliantly. They couldn’t have done any more for us (they even hired 24 hour security guards to keep an eye on our cars, and cleared the area at the front of the hotel to allow us to park. On Sunday afternoon they managed to get ITV on the TV for us so we could catch up with the Six Nations, what more could we have asked for?
We shall miss their hospitality, but in leaving them behind, with picnic baskets and snacks for the journey it means the rally proper is now under way!
We head out to Kon Tum following the Ho Chi Minh Road, through tree covered mountains and agriculture. We also came very close to the border with Laos and drove through areas that still show the destruction caused by the Vietnam War.
In Da Nang, the beach hotels developed because it was where the American military came for R&R because it was just south of the main front and the fighting. Today we visited an ex-miltary runway in an area that was heavily bombed, but today is used as a drying bed by local Vietnamese for their crops.
We also came across a lot of kumquat trees. It is the Vietnamese New Year shortly and (as with our festive Christmas Tree), the kumquat tree is iconic and decorates every house. Apparently, it is the colour of the fruit which is “lucky” and therefore a good omen for the year to come.
Whilst the majority of the roads we travelled on were tarmac, there were one or two stretches that proved “more of a challenge”. Our route took us through cinnamon mountains, and through the small town of Kham Duc where staff working in the local gold mine now live. As we entered Dak Glei it was clear to see the full extent of deforestation in the area. The scarred mountainsides are naked, save for some lonely trees that have escaped the axe. It left us wondering if this the fate that lies ahead for all the jungle that lies on this road.
As you can see our rallies are all about friendship, both with those participating and with people we might meet along the way. These two ladies in the coffee shop greeted us warmly and were more than happy to pose in our group shot, before we all then headed off again.
At least they had more success than Charlotte, Robin and Stuart who arrived at probably the only coffee house in Vietnam that didn’t have any coffee!
Everybody arrived safely at the hotel, and all the cars have been safely parked for the night.
Though the caption for this one might be “Are you sure the co-ordinates for this hotel are correct?”
And Neil and Olivia arrived at this unsure as to whether it was the town hall or an AirB&B. If only they could read Vietnamese.