Da Lat Travel Blog› entry 20 of 55 › view all entries
Yesterday was a really bad night's sleep, due to the light from our now not so cool balcony, dogs barking at anything that moved outside and then the eastern facing position of our room meaning that at 5AM, the sunlight blazed through our thin curtains...and we had to get up early to do our tour with the Easy Riders..
We have some bread and butter, then meet our Easy Riders at 8:30AM. The leader is clearly Matt’s guide, who is Wheway. My guide is the 2nd in command, and speaks quite good English, though it’s quite hard to hear on the back of a moped. Burger’s guide has just finished school for the day, and looks ecstatic to be let out of the classroom.
Our first stop is a flower plantation. At least for Matt, Wheway, me and Chu it is. The little ‘un and Burger failed to make it, due to a puncture, when leaving Dalat, and Burg spends 20 minutes drinking Vietnamese coffee on a hobbit stool, whilst Wheway goes back to fix the puncture. Myself and Matt admire the chrysthanthemum’s and roses, before Burg joins us, and we go off to a coffee plantation, which smells like curry.
It’s a really hot day, and I regret not putting any suncream on, already. Though, in Dalat, the weather is so changeable, it’s likely to rain later on. Still, our Easy Riders have ponchos included as part of the tour price. Or, so we’re told.
We head next to a rice wine making area, and sample some of the local produce. It’s only 10:30AM, however, and it doesn’t go down too well...On the way, myself and Chu manage to hit a cow. Not hard, just kind of nudge into it, as Burger and the kid overtake us for the first time.
We have tea at a minority village, up in the mountains. The tea is really strong, and endless! When you finish one cup, there’s more in the jug being poured for you...
After tea, we head to the happy Buddha. And he looks ecstatic...it’s the largest Buddha statue we have seen yet, and is very impressive. There is also a temple with shrines to various Hindu gods, which is interesting.
Now, things get dangerous. There is a waterfall we head to nearby, called the Elephant waterfall, named after an Elephant which fell in love there, and stays behind the falls. (or something). It’s quite a powerful falls, and apparently you can go abseiling behind them. Looks suicidal to me...what was almost suicidal was going down to the bottom of the falls...it starts off as steps...then becomes rocks...then jumping to other rocks over water (rapids!), until we reach the bottom...sandals, probably were not appropriate footwear! We make it, somehow, and the view is worth it...but then we have to go back! I am covered in mud after getting back, and Burg’s not much better...
The last stop of the morning is a silk plantation...apparently one silk worm can produce 500m of silk! Amazing! There is no wastage here either...they even use the bugs for food, for local restaurants!
We go back to the minority village for lunch, which is awesome, the best food so far in Vietnam! (Not hard, to be fair)...they lay on a sort of Meze/Tapas selection, with a whole fish as the centrepiece (cooked of course) with rice, morning glory, pork, spring rolls, and eggy bread. Of course, this is washed down with tea...we consider the snake blood, but think we will leave that to another time...
After lunch we head to the Crazy House. So named, because it’s crazy. More about that later...at this point, it starts to rain. Just a little, mind. Our drivers stop, and ask us if we want our ponchos (or so we think). We decide a little rain won’t hurt us, so we carry on. In two minutes, it is hailing and we can’t see. Now, we realise, what our guides were asking us is whether they wanted us to buy ponchos from the last shop on the way to crazy house. It’s ok, though, as Wheway gives Matt his poncho, and Chu gives me his. Unfortunately, Billy the Kid, has no poncho. So neither does Burger. At this point, we are all drenched to the skin. But we go on.
When we eventually get to Crazy House, (after Chu taking me on a different route, Burg has a poncho, purchased from a local shop, but now the sun is back out!). The Crazy House was started in 1990, and is due to be finished in 2010. It has 10 different rooms which you can stay in, each themed differently, such as the Ant Room, Tiger Room etc. It also has interesting features, such as hobbit rooms, and stairs that lead to nowhere. Well, a big drop. It’s crazy, but most of the rooms are the same layout, but with different pieces of artwork to denote what they are. Also, the beds have mirrors on the ceilings! Crazy indeed....
We go past the lake to get home, and Wheway, Matt, Chu and Myself arrive back a good 5 minutes before Burger and the kid. Funny arse day...great trip!
I realise I am burnt all over my neck and arms, which is silly, cos Dalat is the coolest (temp wise) place we have been on our whole trip! This is emphasised by the fact, when we go out for dinner later, we are wearing trousers and a jumper!
After food at a local family restaurant, I have seafood fried rice, which is amazing again, we wander round for an hour trying to find somewhere showing the Russia England match. After giving up, and wandering the wrong way towards home, we randomly ask at a hostel. Yes, they are showing it! Superb...however, I will end the blog here, as after a lot of beers, and a terrible second half England performance, I don’t want to ruin what was otherwise a great day!
Must mention the hospitality of the guys at the hostel we found though, they gave us Rice Wine, until we had to say no (6/7 shots!), for free, and let us watch the footy...great guys!