Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 14: Da Lat to Bao Lac

As Nick said in the post earlier, I got the most kicks out of today. Da Lat is about 1500 meters high, kind of a little (150,000 people) mountain town, minus the snow and slopes. It felt like the Vietnamese version of Switzerland to me.

The day started with a delicious breakfast in the kitchen of the hotel. Lots of fresh fruit and the typical baguette with omelette. After breakfast, we decided to check out a few of the sights around Da Lat. The first stop was the Crazy House. The place was half Dali-esque and half completely random, it definitely lived up to its name. I'm really not sure of the background of the place, so I will just let the pics speak for themselves.

After that, we checked out the local market. The market was far and beyond the best market we've been to on this trip (every town has one). It had a crazy butcher section, amazing veggies everywhere, live animals, shops offering 30 different kinds of rice, etc. It had everything. Best part about it was that there were few Westerners there and people generally were not trying to sell us a bunch of cheap knick knacks. It was great.

After the market, we packed our "bikes" up and headed towards Bao Loc with the plan of stopping by a few waterfalls on the way there. The first one offered a "roller coaster" down to the falls. It also offered a ride back up the 1 km trail afterward, so we decided to take it. The waterfalls were pretty nice, but we are all pretty distracted by the various objects the Vietnamese placed around the falls. They were really out of place. Here is a pick of Nick, Charlie and some Vietnamese man wouldn't get out of the way, but ended up doing a great job of participating in the photo:

A few km's down the road, we stopped by another place. We didn't last long at this place. The waterfalls look pretty meek and and ladies hawking cheap shit were relentless, so we got back on our "bikes" and headed towards the next stop.

Nick enjoying a road sign.

Charlie showing Vietnam what he thinks of Di Linh.

About 50 km later, we couldn't find the next place, which has become a routine for us here because there basically are no signs and we do not have a suitable map. So we backtracked about 4 times and finally took a road that led us to our last and by far the most impressive waterfalls of the day. Really big, pretty, and very few people there. I would have been nice to spend some time there, but darkness was coming and we had 60 km to go.

I'm guessing we've given this impression already, but driving on the roads here is crazy. Buses fly at you from both directions, motorbikes are everywhere, animals are all over the side of the road, people light fires everywhere. Its nuts. So a 60 km drive in the dark is pretty scary. Unfortunately for us, Charlies "motorbike" was the only one with working headlights and taillights (my headlights were out and Nicks taillights were out). So Charlie led the pack, Nick followed him, and I took up the rear.

Charlie decided that the best way to blend into this country is by honking at everything that comes his way, he was especially horn happy on this drive. I'm guessing he hit his horn about 300 times. The best honk he had though was when he mistook a road side fire for something that could have been of danger. Yes, Charlie honked at a fire.

We all made it to Bao Loc, a town of 200,000, tired and hungry. Found a hotel and walked around the empty town to find some food. We ended up a Vietnamese Hot Pot restaurant and ate some pretty sketchy food. Fortunately, 6 hours later we felt fine, so we dodged a bullet on that one. Dinner was followed by some treats, then some well needed rest.

All in all, a pretty good day.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That waterfall is amazing! The whole headlights situation sounded like a Marx Brothers skit!