Leaving Dalat in the afternoon. Nice long descent between dark clouds to the left and to the right. Bolts strike a few miles ahead. Hiding from the thunderstorm in a Bamboo Cafe with nice outlook over the lake and the distant mountains. Despite the forecasted 50 downhill miles, I fight steep ups and downs for the first 15 miles over really bumpy roads on the following day, on the shortcut towards the N1 and Mui Ne. Then I reach the last peak of the plateau, and get a splendid view over the plains below me. As well as I get my long downhill ride, reaching the N1 by noon. The remaining 35 miles to Mui Ne are a battle with face winds, soft acscends and my fading will in the burning sun. The landscape looks like a dessert, few bushes only cover the endless sand dunes. Halfway, there is a beautiful dark blue lake between the narrow road and a giant white dune behind, surrounded by palms and vegetable gardens. The villagers at the coffee shop welcome me with "Give me dollar", and I right away feel teleported to Africa. I honestly hope the Vietnamese who won the war against America, who defeated Pol Pot in Cambodia etc etc. will soon find their pride again instead of begging tourist Dollars.
Mui Ne used to be a minor fisher town until a solar eclipse a decade ago brought the tourist boom to the peninsula. Nowadays a long strip of resorts, restaurants and bars along the shore indicates good tourist business. For me, it feels as little appealling as the tourist beaches on Koh Chang or Shianoukville, yet it was a great time. I spoiled myself with a nice beachfront bungalow with lousy breakfeast for 20 USD, and spend my days with Yoga on the beach, beers and fun Urs and Bat, and finally dancing again to Iggy Pop, Doors and Prodigy.
Activities like Jeep cruising in the Red and White Dunes are offered, which I don't appreciate for its ecological impact. Furthermore, Kite- and Wind Surfing schools are in place, and the nearby Cham temple ruin is a great spot for sunset.