Sunday, 30 March 2014

Delightful Da lat, Vietnam.

Loaded with a map that had been photocopied one hundred times and looked like an old man's tattoo, we headed out regardless. In search of Hằng Nga. Popularly known as the “Crazy House”. With lots of local help we found the Crazy House & it did live up to its name. Along the way we stopped for brunch at a street vendor. We bought baguettes with laughing cow cheese. Baguette, salad, one triangle of laughing cow cheese & sugar. SUGAR!? What the hell. All the sugar in my sandwich had gathered at one end. Half of the the sandwich was a regular cheese & salad the other was a doughnut.

Arriving at the crazy house seeing it emerge as you walk up the hill is very cool. Upon entry (I think it cost about £2) you are assaulted with plants, sculptures of animals, mushrooms & spider webs which all surround this Gaudí esque building. I read later that its creator, Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga has acknowledged the inspiration of Catalan Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí in the building’s design.

Pretending to be Joffrey

As we walked & climbed around this bizarre building which has a total lack of attention to safety issues (some construction was still on going) we found bedrooms, living quarters & WIFI routers? This building is a guest house! Later we found the reception where a couple were checking in. Single is $25 & a twin is $35 per night. If we ever find ourselves returning to Da Lat we will try & book here.


Leaving the nut house, which we both loved, we walked down towards the lake & rented a swan shaped pedalo. Choosing the one that most resembled Satan. One hour was well spent on this beautiful lake. 

Later hiking up the hill to this French Cathedral only to find It wasn't open. Here is a Lonely Planet review  that I found while writing this post. "The gingerbread-style Dalat Cathedral was built between 1931 and 1942 for use by French residents and holiday-makers. The cross on the spire is topped by a weathercock, 47m above the ground. The church itself is rarely open outside of mass times" If I would have had a lonely planet I probably wouldn't have bothered with the hike.

Da Lat is located 1,500 metres above sea level. Up in the southern highlands of Vietnam it feels like spring all year round. Blossoms cover trees & flowers are everywhere. These flowers smell great as you walk past. I really was beginning to forget I was in South East Asia. The Temperature is perfect. Warm through the day and cool at night.

We stayed in another dorm room. Shared bathroom. It was comfortable & it had privacy curtains. Kind of like the capsules we stayed in, back in Thailand.

On our final day we took an organised private car tour of the countryside. Just the two of us (and our driver and guide) More Flowers. Silk worm farms. Weasel coffee farms. Sake (rice wine) distilleries. I think I have forgotten most of it. Could have been something to do with the 65% sake straight from the pipe. We saw so much stuff. The weasel coffee is worth a little more detail though. Weasel eats coffee beans. Passes them. They are then harvested & sold to the rich as a delicacy all around the world. Yes, we did try a cup. It tasted like a good cup of Arabica coffee. Weasels are very bitey. 

Breakin' rocks in the hot sun 
I fought the law and the law won 
I needed money 'cause I had none 
I fought the law and the law won.

So these guys would smash these huge boulders all day every day for a few bucks. They lived & worked on the newly half built road way.

"builders house"

Oh & I almost forgot about the really cool Pagoda with its huge laughing Buddha which is directly opposite Elephant Waterfalls. This is our favourite Buddha of SE Asia and we have seen a fair few. 

Speaking to our friend Gemma the day before & asking about footwear for the trip (she had done a similar trip 2 weeks ago here) & then not copying her just "flip flops". Which is a good job. I am pretty sure we would have died! Getting to a good view point of this waterfall is no mean feat. We climbed, slid, fell & climbed. Turns out she went to a different waterfall when she was in Dalat so the footwear question was pointless. 

After the waterfall we went for lunch in this local Vietnamese restaurant. Our guide, after being told we didn't eat meat or fish did all of the ordering. What a feast. Best food experience of Vietnam so far.  

Very late into one of the nights in our Saigon hostel. Da Lat was highly recommended to me by an American I had spent all night talking to. Knowing that I would forget the name of the place and his, I thankfully wrote it down & thank you, erm John? Da Lat is a beautiful place to visit.

Oh and another thing I just remembered. Cat stroked a pig & ate a Cricket.

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