Friday, March 4th, 2016
We were craving some breakfast foods, so we stopped at a bakery and restaurant called “Rose Villa Cafe” only to discover that they had run out of bread. I settled for a local dish called Bun Bo Hue, a beef noodle soup, and Trevor ordered the Beef Steak with Eggs. The food that was delivered to our table looked suspect. The beef chunk looked more like a human foot, so I worked my way around it. The “foot” was creepy-looking, but the rest of it tasted fine.
I started to worry when I visited the restroom and overheard a woman in the stall next to me puking her guts out. Are you hungover? Pregnant? Or… the possibility I feared most, do you have food poisoning? To top it off, when returning to the hotel, we passed by the same guy blowtorching yet another dead dog. It was a culture shock sort of day in the grossest way!
Back at the hotel, Dien sketched a map for us to help direct us to the public bus stop, and wrote the name of our stop in Vietnamese before we made our way there. She was awesome! I would 100% recommend staying at “Hotel Hai Long Vuong” to anyone visiting Da Lat.
We got on the bus to Elephant Falls, only sharing it with locals and a couple empty chicken cages that kept rolling around in the aisle. Then a guy hopped on carrying a rooster in his shirt. The rooster’s head was covered up but made sad noises the whole ride as we drove along the curvy road.
After getting off at our stop, it took us a minute to find the entrance to the falls, but we’d soon catch a glimpse of it from the top before taking the steep stairs down to the bottom. We were even able to squeeze through rock crevices to walk behind it. It was gorgeous!
We hydrated by the falls before walking down the road to see Linh An Pagoda. It was a pretty and peaceful place which had the sound of a gong playing on loop from the surrounding speakers. The Buddha statues were impressive as well.
We walked back towards the main road, cooking in the sun until we could flag down a bus heading back to Da Lat. When the bus pulled over, we had to climb underneath a large cooler wrapped in cardboard boxes, and helped the guy hold it still to keep it from falling out the door as we returned to town.
We grabbed a Banh Mi, one of the few Vietnamese meals we’d gorge on when we were feeling less adventurous, then returned to the hotel where a number of Chinese tourists had just arrived. Dien’s husband was visibly irritated by them and had to yell at one of them for smoking inside the lobby. They went over a long list of ground rules with the newcomers, rules that they didn’t feel necessary to address with us. “No smoking inside! No throwing stuff out the window! No doing laundry in the room!”
Trevor and I glanced at one another uncomfortably. We totally did our laundry in the room. In our defense, we’re always careful not to make a mess, and always tidy up our room before leaving to reduce any extra effort from the staff.
After freshening up, we headed back towards the market to have a couple of beers at “Cafe Phuong Tim” and watched life proceed below us from the balcony.
We decided to look around the other side of town where there were a number of shops. We witnessed an intense argument between a shop owner and the police and rubbernecked a little, not knowing what was being said, but still trying to decipher what was unfolding. It appeared to be an argument over shutting down a street vendor where food was sold. The police ended up retreating which surprised us since the man was screaming like a psycho, throwing his arms around in aggression. His wife was even wilder, and didn’t refrain from physically shoving the cops as she screamed at them. We grabbed more Banh Mi’s, and an additional meal back at “Yatai Quan” before walking back to the hotel. I suppose that was enough excitement for one day.
Jump Back to Part 7: Punch Buggy Battle, Bonsais & Ramen
Jump Ahead to Part 9: Assigned Seats, Motorbikes & Befuddlement
Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Busing Across the Border to Ho Chi Minh City