More Bus Adventures

Trip Start Jan 10, 2005
Trip End May 10, 2005

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, February 4, 2005

6:30 pm - Our bus is due to pick us up from our hotel, but arrives an hour late. Most things seem to run on schedule here, but the buses don't.

7:30 pm - Our bus arrives. Martin and I appear to be the last pick-up and we have to sit together. As this is an overnight bus (why are we doing this again?), it could get might uncomfortable for Martin who is lucky enough to have the seat over the wheel well. The kumquat tree, however, has its own seats at the front of the bus.

9:00 pm - The road has been straight, but quite rough - appears to be a lot of construction. We pass by someone lying with his bicycle in the middle of the road. No one stops to help him.

10:30 pm - Our bus rumbles along. The driver has one hand on the steering wheel and one on the horn, but at least he seems to be a fairly cautious driver. We put in our earplugs to help tone down the honking. (Note to self: always bring earplugs along when travelling!) The little kumquat is trembling wildly, but loses no fruit.

11:30 pm - We stop at a restaurant. Everyone piles off to get in line for the washroom and to purchase water and snacks. All the other "open tour" buses have stopped here, too.

12:30 am - Martin is getting uncomfortable. He is encroaching on my territory - his knees have moved in the direction of my seat and he continually shifts to find a more comfortable position. We ask the fellow in front of us if he can recline his seat a little less.

1:30 am - I kick Martin out of his seat and make him sit with the kumquat tree. The driver is looking to make sure he is not crowding the kumquat too closely or damaging it. At least in the front seat he can stretch out his long legs.

2:30 am - Martin has his ballcap over his eyes to keep out the light from oncoming traffic. The horn honking has stopped and I notice signs that indicate no horn honking (a horn with a line through it). For some reason, the driver continually presses a button that makes a "whooshing" sound like air being released from the brakes. Either he's a) seeking revenge on stupid tourists b) substituting whooshing for horn honking as he can't keep his right hand immobile for any length of time, or c) there's something wrong with the bus.

3:30 am - It's freezing on board and although I have on a sweater and long pants, it's impossible to get warm. The air conditioning is blasting and there's no way to shut it off. I've been using Martin's pants as a pillow, but offer them to him since he has his legs pressed together and his hands under his armpits to conserve heat.

4:00 am - I'm still cold; all our extra clothes are in our packs in the luggage compartment. Then I remember that I have our tailor-made clothes in our extra bag on board with us! I dig out our suit jackets, though I have to do this in stages as the road is very winding and I feel nauseous when I put my head down for too long.

5:00 am - As we approach Nha Trang, the reflection of the moon shimmers on the water. Junks in the harbour look like firefires.

5:30 am - We arrive a half hour ahead of schedule, even though we left Hoi an hour late! I think they allow for lots of extra time in case of breakdowns, etc, but, miraculously, we made it! We pile off the bus at the hotel and wait for a room. The hotel staff is madly checking departing guests out and cleaning rooms so that we can check in.

6:15 am - Martin and I manage to get a hotel room and go off to sleep because, of course, we got very little sleep on the bus. Travellers here take overnight buses and trains to save on accommodation, but it also means you get no sleep!
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