When I read the two paragraphs about Dalat, Vietnam in my Lonely Planet book, the description said it was a quaint little town with French influence, an eternal spring and cool waterfalls. I was in! Much to my surprise it is much more than that!
A few hours in, after a long, hot, bumpy, five hour bus ride, I hadn’t eaten and I was hangry! I was told I would be dropped off at my hotel, but instead made it to the bus station. I was given a small map and pointed down the road. After about 45 minutes of walking in circles getting directions in every way, I landed at my hostel. All I wanted was a shower, but the one in my room won’t hang up and just dribbles water. I did the best I could and went for a walk to find food. It was hot, noisy, crowded and very overwhelming! Finally I found a “walking” street with light traffic. I checked out a couple of tour offices wanting to find a ride to the waterfalls tomorrow. Still, wasn’t feeling it so I finally settled on a little restaurant with a sign saying pizza and wine sale. I hadn’t had western food since I left home and swore I wouldn’t cave, but I couldn’t help it! I was starving and nothing else even looked close to appetizing.
I sat outside and ordered. When my pizza was done, the owner brought it out and asked if I’d like to come in since the sun had dropping and it was scorching. I agreed and ordered another glass of wine. After I scarfed the pizza, he came back with two more glasses of wine and gave me a cheers. We ended up chatting for quite awhile and brought my spirit back up.
I left and headed for the local market. It was a blast. The vegetables were amazing and there were so many cool things to look at. I took some pictures and decided to do an experiment. I would make eye contact with everyone I could and give a big smile. It was crazy! I got about 9.5 out of 10 of them back so I took it a step further and offered to take pictures of many of the couples taking selfies and pictures of each other. Again, great response and many of them wanted selfies with me too. I guess I still kinda stand out here :-). So, life is good! I have collected many fun pics and even more great memories!
And I almost forgot, while I was having my pizza, I searched the web for tours of the waterfalls, since the tour companies didn’t feel right. I found an independent guide, Kelly, who agreed to pick me up on her motorbike in the morning and take me to see everything! Her boyfriend will join us and she has promised an amazing day! I can’t wait, as she has great reviews and fun pics!!
More to come!!
Dalat Day 2:
Kelly and Richard arrived right on time at my hostel. We headed out on the bikes into the beautiful country. First, We stopped at a coffee plantation where I tried, apparently, the most expensive coffee on earth, “weasel coffee”. Yes, it’s made from the coffee beans the weasels eat and poop out. Mmmmm!
Next, we visited a silk factory where I saw the whole process from worm to goods. At the end Kelly offered me a worm toasted with lotus flower. She explained that growing up, they didn’t have much money, so this was her lunch most everyday. Maybe it’s just in my head, but it was rough and I wasn’t really a fan.
After the silk, the tour picked up. We hiked in to see four waterfalls, two that were really nice. We had a great lunch along the way in her hometown, then finished hanging out by a nice lake watching the sun go down. What a nice day!!
I look forward to getting back to Denver and life as I left it! I have missed all of my amazing friends and family and can’t wait to share some more of the funny things that happened along the way!!
Until then, love, hugs and lots of laughs!