Monday, January 4, 2010

We make it to Ba Na

Date: Monday January 4, 2010
Travel: Family Car
Party: Vu & Aunt
Lodging: Duy Tan Hotel
Photos: 20100104 Ba Na Hills

I set my alarm to 5 am, which is brutally early for my standards. My aunt and I grabbed a bowl of pho, which was cheap and available at 6am. It's kind of like grabbing a breakfast burrito at Los Betos. It was decent, but its nothing like the pho at home.

We then returned back to Ba Na hills (after a failed attempt the night before) when the sun was breaking out and you could actually see why you would want to come here in the first place. The hills and the landscape overcast-ed by the hue of the sunrise was remarkable, and the agricultural presence of the country was alive. We arrived a bit early, and the first ride up was set at 9am...or so the sign says. Buses full of tourist were already coming in, yet no one even manned the ticket booth until 5 minutes after, and then there was a huge onslaught of workers roving through, on the count of about 150 or so. So even though the place was open at 9, there was no staff up at the top, they all came 5 minutes after, and then they have to take the cable cars up, creating a long line before any paying customers can go up. You would think that a tourist attraction like this or any larger scale business, staff members would be present a half an hour or hour before opening. Anyways, my aunt was able to talk our way through to the front of the line, ahead of the staff workers, and we were on our way. The tram ride on the longest cable car in the world was at least 15 minutes long, soaring above the jungled hills. You can see the the lush green jungles, the rapids rushing down the hills, and the recklessness of landscaping crews, who were picking up trash while scaling on the side of the mountains to where a slip would have them fall to their deaths. No safety here and it makes you wonder how safe those cable cars really were. Well..I suppose I am still here writing this post.

Once we get to the top of the first line, there is another line that gets you slightly higher, to the peak. At the top of this rests a nice mountain resort. This is where we would have stayed had we spent the night before. You can see the clouds roll through, unfortunately blanketing the city from here. The air was definitely clean and fresh, but the place was still being developed, and some coffee would definitely be ideal. There is a temple and a giant buddha nearby, which was in walking distance.

As the early morning came to an end, we go back down and go back to town, having lunch with the newly weds and sending my other cousin to work. In the evening my uncle and aunt drive out to Hue, where we try reach my other cousin's wedding (or pre-wedding) reception. Hue and Da Nang, doesn't seem that far looking at the the map, yet it was still a 2.5 hour drive, due to the 30-40 km/hr speed limits, windy roads (albeit pretty). We ended up showing up late (of course). After a shorter evening, I crash at the hotel for a hectic day.

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