15/11/2013 - 17/11/2013 26 °C
On Friday 15th November, I tiki-toured out to DaLat with another volunteer for the weekend. After teaching on Friday morning we caught the sleeping bus for the 6 hour trip, which in HCM traffic turned out to be over 8 hours.
The Lonely Planet describes DaLat as being a place to escsape the heat and humidity of Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern Coast. Being in the Central Highlands it has typical New Zealand spring weather year round, and over the weekend matched about what you would expect in the NZ summer. What a relief it was. For once when it was night time, it was almost cold.
As a popular holiday destination over the years, it still has the strong French influence, especially since it was untouched by the war bombing. The high altitude, fertile land and cooler weather makes it ideal for its agriculture industry.
On Saturday, I spent the day exploring the city which was within walking distance. During my wandering I found a few things of interest.
It had a very green feel, which was a good change.
And a randomly caged monkey on the side of the road... Why not through him in.
Pjotr and I, while out on Saturday night, found out except for the walking city, (roads closed in the central city for the markets) there is no nightlife whatsoever in DaLat that you would expect to see. We saw a nightclub that had 4 people sitting in it.
But we did have a early start the next day. We had booked a motorbike tour for the day, and was joined by two other travellers staying at the same hostel.
What a day we had. They crammed so much into the day.
On the back of the bikes we traveled out of the city on clay roads and saw workers improving the road. They were literally mining the stone out of the hillside by hand. By hammer and chisel, they were cutting the stone into usuable sizes.
It looked incredibly hard work.
Our next stop was a coffee farm. The hillsides in the rural areas of the highlands are covered in coffee trees. Vietnam is very famous for coffee, especially weasel coffee. The coffee berries are picked and fed to the Weasels who through their digestive system process the beans, they are then excreted from the weasels and put into a machine to process them.
The second protective layer of the beans are removed and it is thoroughly cleaned, before being sold as the very expensive Weasel Coffee.
The coffee was delicious, but I am no coffee connoisseur.
The Silk factory was incredible.. The process to make silk is fascinating. From feeding the silkworm to taking the worm's cocoon and boiling it to kill the larvae and using the machines to unravel the fine silk threads and spun to form a string. It is then stitched into the material with a print by the last machine..
And yes the boiled larvae is some traditional food there.. One time only...
We could almost get under the waterfall, but check out the size of that Buddha.
I did love the hand-sewers working on scarves near the water falls. The system seems very complicated.
Further into the countryside, we were treated with a traditional meal in a local village with a family, and the guides. But did not get any photos in their home.
Other stops included visiting a Ethnic minority village, which is a hill tribe.
A meditation pagoda and a view other sights... I will try to get pics up one day.
While riding down the free way, we came across two elephants being ridden down the road. I got some impressive footage but struggling to upload.
So this post is to be continued.