I had booked my bus ride to Delat at a nearby Tour office for a scheduled departure at 7:45 AM on the 30th. The cost was just 150,000 dong---about $7 USD---for the five hour ride up through the mountains to the Central Highlands. The temperature would change from 95 degrees to 65 degrees in this journey.
Fortunately this beautiful yellow bus was new and even offered WiFi during the journey. As I got seated, I spotted Randolph, the Englishman, who I had last seen at the Danang Train station. Truly a small world.
Eventhough we had WiFi I could not type anything because of the curvy road and agressive bus driver who seemed to take delight in passing every vehicle he could in the most improbable locations. Compared to other roads I have been on in Vietnam, this one did not seem to have too many potholes or rough spots.
As we started up into the Central Highlands, the jungles were lush and impenetrable.
We then began to see vast coffee plantations and then shortly after that we saw miles and miles of plastic formed greenhouses that hosted flowers and vegetables for both domestic use and for export.
The bus dropped us off at the Delat city center and market. It seems like the bus company wanted all of the passengers to go into their office to get an "orientation" to Delat. I thought it was going to be a sales pitch for various tours in and around Delat.
It looked like rain was threatening, so I decided to locate the hotel I had picked out to put on my itinerary. When I found it, they had no vacant rooms primarily because so many Vietnamese tourists had begun to arrive for the summer vacation period. I then headed down to the next hotel on the Lonely Planet guide I had on my iPad.
When I arrived at the Hotel Phuong Hanh, I was greeted by Thruong who told me she had a double room for $20, and when she showed me, she saw that a single room with a queen size bed with balcony was available, but needed cleaning. It was $15 USD so I told her I would take it for the next three nights. I would find a nearby coffee shop and wait for the cleaning crew to finish up before I returned.
After some delicious Vietnamese coffee, I returned and found the room clean and beautiful with a small balcony overlooking the road below and the steep hillside across the road. I dropped off my bag and headed down to the Xaun Huong Lake for dinner.
Just as I was approaching the Thanh Thuy Blue Water Restaurant, the deluge began. Lucky me as I ordered a chicken and vegetable dinner along with a side order of eggplant. I watched the desperate swan boat riders quickly pedaling for shelter eventhough they were already drenched.
By the time I finished my dinner, the rain had tapered off and again the swan boats began to reappear on the lake. This was a great way to end my first day in Delat as I made my way back to my hotel room in the 70 degree weather.