In the morning everything was better. It was sunny and warm out. The restaurant cat rested on the restaurant dog. People were starting to show up for breakfast, and to pay their respects to the Virgin Mary shrine. We took our time in the morning; starting with a slow breakfast, followed by some photos, playing with the friendly cat and then packing up. By the time we started to head out on the road, the air felt hot. The first 7 km or so were all uphill, followed by some undulating hills into the town of Bao Loc. We stopped at the 'summit' for some cane juice, and Myles helped a family secure their extensive luggage to their scooter before heading downhill the way we came up. They had a tiny baby with them; and appeared very grateful for the help.
We grabbed the first hotel we saw. It was a ways out of the town centre, but new and therefore relatively unspoiled. We also got a great view of the surrounding hills, and a very hot shower, for a very cheap rate.
We visited a beautiful Pagoda in town in the evening, after some curry soup. The Pagoda turned out to be much larger than it appeared from the outside. We kept going further and further inside its many courtyards, to discover more and more surprises. As we were leaving, we learned that there was a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant attached to the Pagoda, but we already had our dinner by then. We both felt mildly disappointed, as opportunities for having good vegetarian food in Vietnam have been few and far between so far.
Waking up in the restaurant with the sun warming us up and fresh mountain air made the previous evening that much better. It turns out that the restaurant is situated in the only natural part of Vietnam that we have seen. The lush jungle, home to the birds I could here all night was much more enjoyable in the daylight with sun. We had our usual cup of coffee, rice (Com) and pork chops. After we thanked Houng for letting us stay we continued up hill. The ride to Bao Loc went thru a few cute villages along the way. As we entered town we went to the first hotel that came along. It was only a 100,000 dong. It was brand new, and was still missing some furniture. Later that afternoon we walked into town to have coffee and dinner. We had a nice beef curry soup. Across the street was a very beautiful Pagoda that had a very nice peaceful garden. We found a popular dessert spot and ordered a cendol type drink. At the dessert place we met an American that was born in Vietnam and was now traveling around on a scooter with his Vietnamese fiancé. We felt pretty tired from the lack of sleep the night before so bed came early.