After two days in Dalat we absolutely love the town. First of all the town is high up in the highlands (1,475 m.) and the weather is cooler than by the coast. We have had between 20-25°C during the day with a slight breeze and a bit cooler in the night so you don’t have to worry so much about the heat and sweat and bugs and drinking enough water so this is a wonderful retreat from the sometimes too hot sun – its kind of like Húsavík in the summer time ;)
Today is the last day of the Tat (Chinese New Years celebrations). Dalat has been packed with Vietnamese tourists and difficult to get hotel here but the crowds are quieting down today. The traffic here in Vietnam and in Cambodia as well is very chaotic to say the least. To cross the street you just have to walk out, even if there are plenty of bikes and cars going past as there will never be an empty street for you, and you just have to go one step at a time and make sure the drivers notice you and can either pass behind you or in front of you. The drivers are constantly using the horn and the noise can sometimes drive us crazy but at least there seem to be few accidents and the drivers are really engaged, not on the phone, fixing the makeup or looking at the scenery like we do in the West.
Elínborg and I haven’t completely agreed on how good the Vietnamese cuisine is. I am loving it, it is quite different form the Thai – more variety and more exciting thins to try, but Elínborg has been a bit unlucky and is not as enthusiastic as I am. I’ve had a wonderful fish in caramel sauce prepared in a hot clay pot, fantastic pork ribs in ginger curry, beef phó with bean sprouts and a few other excellent dishes.
Yesterday we wondered around town and went to the flower garden. It is a bit strange being with all the Vietnamese tourists. All the sales booths are directed towards them and we are mostly left alone. People stare a lot though, which is strange since Vietnam receives over 4 million tourists per year. The stuff that is sold on the streets is very different from Thailand and Cambodia, to us it just seems all so tacky here – maybe it is just we that are tacky ;)
Today we rented a bike for two and rode out to see the Crazy House and the kings summer palace. Crazy house is crazy alright, build by a Vietnamese architect educated in Moscow. The house has a Gaudi feel to is and the pictures may say more than any words. It doesn’t seem like the architect followed any architectural rules when designing it and the result is fascinating. The summer palace was definitely a big hit with the Vietnamese that were there in big groups. The palace was build for King Bing Dao that sat at the throne before WWII and was finished in 1938 and is more or less how he left it. We weren’t that impressed but it was a nice tour never the less.
I have seen that there are more people from Húsavík checking out the blog now. I thank www.640.is for mentioning the blog. I can just tell you that even though Dalat is wonderful – Dalat is no Húsavík :) All the best to all of you guys! More on Dalat tomorrow …or the next :)