|Da Lat the Viet Nam's version of Honeymooners Paradise....
The journey to Da Lat was very nice, we started on one bus and ended up on another company's bus. I think they sold us to the other company due to a lack of passengers. After changing buses and stopping for lunch we started a huge climb up the mountains. It was quite nerve racking considering the size of our huge Greyhound size bus making hair pin turns up the narrow almost one lane road with traffic honking there way through.
After reaching the summit we came upon the resort town of De Lat famous In Viet Nam for honeymooners and family vacations. Apparently the weather stays cool year round here do to the altititude. It was the first time in months that we actually felt cold and had to wear our sweaters (sweatshirts or whatever you call them SHAUNA!!!)
After stepping off the bus Shauna rounded up a hotel for us and a couple of friendly Vietnamese men drove us to our suite. They had reasons behind the free ride...I will talk about that more later.
We found a nice 6 dollar room in a hotel that was almost completely empty (it is low season now here) its on the 3rd floor and had a balcony so we can gander down on the small but busy street below. It also helped us burn off some of the carbs from all the rice (and beer for Nick) that we have been consuming. We still have not lost the weight we figured we would by now but who cares, were married now. hehe
Da Lat was found by A French man along time ago (I'm bad with dates so I wont pretend to give you the facts). He had a grand idea to make it a resort village for the Vietnamese due to the year round pleasant weather and beautiful landscape and mountain views. They even erected a tribute to the Eiffel tower. Must have been missing Paris or something...
The people here are very friendly and kind, most of them are on holiday just like us so they where happy to be browsing around and enjoying the sites. All the kids say "Hello" followed by "BuBye" it's cute.
So back to the motto drivers...... After checking in we walked down stairs and they were waiting for us asking for ten minutes of our time. I was starving but I gleefully obliged to there request because they seemed so warm hearted and friendly. They informed us they were part of the "Easy Riders." Apparently, one of the drivers told Shauna "Oh you from America? I fight with America in the war, I love America!"
So we sat down for there sales pitch remembering that some random girl during our travels had told us before that if we had the chance to do The "Easy Rider Tour" we should take it.
It sounded interesting, they load you up on there motorbikes (full-sized ones not the tiny mottos covering all of Asia, but the biguns like at home) and take you on tours around town or even as far as Hanoi---the 5 day package.
We seriously contemplated doing the 3 day tour, but after doing the math $50 dollars a day times 2 for three days = FOUR MILLION AND EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND DONG!!! (Vietnams currency) we said, "Wow wait a minute, that's a lot of DONG!
So we opted for the 20 dollar each day tour around the country side. It was great indeed, they picked us up at 8 and drove us around till about 2 in the afternoon. The scenery was beautiful a lot like the Pacific Northwest mountainsides with a twist. Shauna and I felt a bit more at ease after walking down the paths they lead us too and feeling a sense of being at home.
They took us too many different sites (luckily because my ass started hurting after sitting on that bike for too long) the first was a Buddhist temple, followed by a farm where they grow vegetables and such. We also went to a flower farm and a mushroom farm (pretty neat stuff)
And Shauna's highlight of the day a silk worm processing plant....
Let me give some background on why this was her highlight. Shauna has become thoroughly addicted to buying silk scarves! Its really getting out of hand, everywhere we go she has to look through piles of scarves touching and rifling through them and buying as many as she can without enraging me and yelling at her "Holy jeesh don't you have 2 scarves on your head all ready ? Do you really need 3 more?" I really think she needs an intervention on this addiction at least she admits it's become a problem that is the first step....
So my point being is that she was absolutely thrilled to go to the birth place of scarves that she may be able to purchase. She was a kid in a candy store running around snapping pics of the girls working and machines they used. It was great to see her joy. She even got to try hooking up the silk worm cocoon to some machine that unraveled the cocoon. Of course, she had to purchase 3 more scarves saying "Come on Nick, I have to get them look how pretty they are, and besides I don't have this color yet..." Now, she has started to tell me that they are for people at home, which I am not so sure I believe. So if you do happen to get a silk scarf from her as a gift you should be very honored. They were all handpicked with love, at my expense.
After leaving the silk factory we went to a huge water fall named "Elephant Falls" it was very large and powerful and had lots of water falling from cliff.. It was like no other water fall I've ever seen...HAHA Every tour has a water fall in it. I don't understand the big deal about them its just water going over a cliff whoopee!!!
No, but seriously it was very beautiful and the rocks around the fall where mammoth and had amazing creases in them that resemble an elephants skin hence "Elephant Falls."
After the falls we had lunch with our drivers. It was great, loads of tasty food and dirt cheap. It made up for the previous night of getting blatantly ripped off for noodle soup and fried rice.
So they took us to a few more sites—a Rice wine farm and a place called "Crazy House" a hotel built by an eccentric architect the place resembled something out of Alice in Wonderland. Different themed rooms and neat walkways and bridges going every where.
So that was Da Lat in a nutshell—oh yea I can't forget.
We went to withdraw money from an atm to pay the drivers there fee. I gave Shauna her card to get the funds and it ate it stating "Your card is hot or not in service" and ate the sucker down!!! We were floored what would we do? How do we cope, Oh Shit!? We have no money!!!!!
Then it donned on me...I remembered that we had brought old cards to carry in our wallets in case of pickpockets. So we crossed our fingers and inserted a different one.
We were relieved when the magic machine dispensed us all The DONG we could ever need for a night in Da Lat (I can't stop saying DONG it's just too silly to not write as often as possible.) Dong, Dong, Dong....
We are of To Nah Trang next getting picked up at our hotel at 7:30 for another 5-6 hour bus ride........can't wait
Take care for now, and if any of you reading this has more "Dong" on their hands than they know what to do with I would be happy to send you my Bank Account Number to take some off your hands. I am sure Shauna would be more than happy to buy you a scarf to say thanks... LOL
OLAS out, that's my new name by the way—I found it In Cambodia, with the help of Amelia. Why does everyone with the name Nicholas just use the first half? Why not the second half instead Nick; Olas...
All for now, and thanks to everyone who sent us emails after we put you on a guilt trip from the last update... It cheered to finally hear from some of you... :)LOL, love you guys...