Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 continued…
After running around Crazy House, we walked through town where we were surrounded by flowers. I enjoyed the smell of the pine and juniper needles. The nice aroma was short lived, and transitioned into the smell of swampy water and decomposing plant matter as we approached the lake. During our stroll, we watched people floating around in swan boats and admired the futuristic architecture.
We scanned through the market where the baskets of bright, red strawberries were making me hungry. I’d be happy that I didn’t purchase any since Dien would later tell us that the food wasn’t always fresh, and that some tourists got really sick after eating there recently.
We sat down at “Quan Restaurant” nearby which had some interesting items on the menu, such as turtle, snakehead and pigeon. We played it safe with Banana Flower Salad and Singapore rice noodles.
Back at the hotel, Dien shared tour information with us, suggesting we take the public bus to Elephant Falls where there was also a Big Buddha at the pagoda nearby. As we were chatting with Dien, two guys from New Zealand that were motorbiking across the country walked in, and asked her about some suggestions on places to stop up north. This was the direction we were also heading, so we decided to listen in on the conversation. One of the places she mentioned sounded nice and was about halfway to our next destination in Hue, so we decided to book transport and a night in the beach town of Quy Nhon (pronounced “hwee nyah-n”).
We’d head back out again, this time walking towards Da Lat Flower Park on the other side of the lake. We’d get into a ‘Punch Buggy’ battle on the way, and probably looked like fighting nun puppets. I noticed we gave some people a few laughs. The park cost money to visit, so we settled for the free Bonsai tree garden in the much smaller park across the street. We wouldn’t be disappointed! Coming from someone who lacks a green thumb and who manages to kill low maintenance plants like aloe vera and lucky bamboo, I was impressed! Some of them looked like little forests.
Our little run in with the guy blowtorching the dead dog had us feeling a little less adventurous in the meal department, so we were searching for a restaurant with an English menu to avoid any unwanted surprises. The only one we found didn’t have any vegetarian options, and seeing mudskipper on the menu was a little bit of a turn off, so we kept searching.
As the search continued, we got hungrier and hungrier and less finicky. So we settled on a little Japanese place called “Yatai Quan.” The Ramen with Pork and Boiled Egg was great! Trevor enjoyed his meal too, a salad with pork and shrimp.
We decided to give up on a strict vegetarian diet the remainder of the trip. The language barrier made it too difficult, even with all the apps I had downloaded on my iPod. Besides, shortly after we’d return home, we weren’t going to be sticking to it once we started our next journey on the trail.
Jump Back to Part 6: Man’s Best Friend (or Food?) & Crazy House
Jump Ahead to Part 8: Foot Soup, Elephant Falls & Disturbing the Peace
Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Busing Across the Border to Ho Chi Minh City