Wednesday 8 August 2012

Days 489 to 495: Dalat

I went to Dalat in a minibus of all things.  We were crowded into it like sardines, and the girl next to me got the seat that isn't properly hooked to the ground.  Luckily she is technically competent and managed to get it fixed at the statutory coffee stop.  We arrived in a downpour and I threw all my soaking things into a taxi, disregarding the glares of the driver.  My hotel is 20 minutes walk out of town in some neighbourhood, so I decided to save any investigating for the morning and ordered takeout.

My neighbourhood in Dalat

In the morning the receptionist gave me a map and I set off for the town centre.  About an hour later, having explored all the streets but one within half a kilometre of the house I went back to ask for help.  It is a truly beautiful neighborhood here though, with gorgeous houses and lots of greenery.  Turned out of course the road to town was the one I didn't take. 

My restaurant in Dalat

After this I got into a routine.  I spent some of the morning writing then attempted to find my way into town.  Once I succeeded, I walked round the lake, ending up at the one particular restaurant on its shore where I had lunch.  I ended up completely addicted to their spicy tofu hotpot and had to order it three times!  After that, I would attempt to find my way back to the hotel, stopping to buy a snack and some fruit once I was sure I was reasonably close.  Dalat is a labyrinth, spread over rolling hummocks at the top of a mountain range. It is pleasantly cool though sometimes rainy and it is very pleasant to walk around.  I should know because I must have walked on just about every one of its streets.

Forest near Dalat in the rainy season

Mountains near Dalat in the rainy season

One day, I went trekking up Lambian mountain and had a very enjoyable time seeing the countryside and lay of the land, though not much of the view unfortunately.  It is the rainy season after all. I'm sure Lambian is no steeper than our mountains at home but for some reason it took me several days to recover from this trek.  Some things, you don't lose though.  On the way down, in a proper bus this time, I would have been having an enjoyable experience of a mountain road, were it not for some unfortunate passenger who was seriously and constantly travel sick all the way to the bottom.  Oh well.

Conclusion: Dalat is one of those places in a far off country that had me thinking I could live there. 

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