A tour of South Vietnam: Part 2

DALAT

So, we are continuing our journey in South East Asia, by heading a little inland and deeper into Southern Vietnam on a bumpy windy mountainous road to Dalat. This place is a quaint little mountain town that is supposed to have a kitchy vibe. It has lovely gardens in the middle of the busy mainstreet, a huge market (not unlike any other SE Asian city) and a mini-Eiffel tower. Yes, if you do remember, Vietnam was originally colonized by the French. Hence the excellent French coffee and baguettes tasted through out Vietnam.

It’s also known for having unique crops for SE Asia. Due to the high altitude and cooler climate, it is the perfect place to cultivate coffee (which the region is most famous for) and tea, as well as fruits and veggies that you’d be surprised to see in Vietnam, like strawberries and asparagus.

Our plan was to get away from the heat, don our hoodies and explore the town one cup of coffee at a time. And maybe do some outdoor exploring. Tons of organizations do trekking and rafting tours that sounded like fun.  However, the plan was delayed for a day or two, due to a little thing called a Typhoon (or a hurricane to y’all down in Florida) We thought it was just another rainy day. Yes, the winds were exceptionally strong, and the rain was sideways and the internet was completely down all over the city (I thought that’s not too uncommon in a third world country) We didn’t even realize what extensive damage the typhoon had caused in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam until the next morning when we were watching CNN in our comfy (actually quite luxurious) $5 room. So, we checked with the front desk–they were online again, and we skyped our parents. They were beyond freaked out, up all night watching the sensationalized news back home and had just assumed that we were two of the 70ish people who died in the storm. Once we convinced them that we were not going to be on the next flight home, we took to the streets to explore Dalat for ourselves.

Since the storm had severely flooded most of the rural areas all the nature tours were out of the question, but we did check out some of Dalat’s other oddities. Here are some of the highlights:

– A Chinese Hot Pot restaurant. We don’t know the name of it, but it had a chic decor, was dirt cheap, and we got a Thai seafood hot pot that kept my noise running from the heat of the spices the whole meal. It was perfect.

– A vegetarian Restaurant that had all of the Vietnamese classics that we had been unable to try due to their meatiness. We went there like 4 times in the 3 days we were there. Even taking some for the bus ride early in the morning. We got to try Baozi (a chinese steamed bun that we have been admiring for most of our trip and is always filled with some meat of indeterminate origins) and a veggie pate version of Banh Mi, the now famous Vietnamese sandwiches made on a warm french baguette.

-Experiencing Vietnamese Coffee as authentically and as close to the source as possible. I wish I could recreate that back home.

-And last but not least, the kookiest part of dalat, The Crazy House. It is a tree house hotel and gallery that has crazy rooms with different animal themes that you can stay in, or just tour it like we did. The architect was a woman named Hang Nga. The house is supposed to to have some anti-socialist political interpretations, which is pretty interesting considering that in 1980 her father was president of Vietnam.

Kelly getting tickets

The honey bear room

getting from room to room to roof.

The tiger with red eyes room

The eagle egg room

Just proving that Kelly is still alive after the Typhoon. Hi Mom!

just another hallway

some of the real local fauna that was hanging around the crazy house that day

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