Thursday, June 6, 2013

Off to the Highlands

Hullo! Today we left the beach for a place called Dalat. Mui Ne is at sea level and Dalat is at 1500 m (4500 ft) elevation - so you can imagine the road! We were taking a bus... and this is it. It was a mini-bus and we weren't even out of Mui Ne before we were at a mechanics shop. This guy is taking off our passenger side front tire to... mmm... hello... what is that smell?

Hey... what does that guy on the motorbike have with him??? It smells beary tempting!

Is that what I think it is??? It looks like honeycomb!

It is honeycomb!!! Delivered right here to me! I was going to dive right in but then motorbike man took his bucket back and zipped off. Phooie!! He could see how interested I was but he just laughed and pulled it out from under my nose. Grrr... Oh well...

Meanwhile, Mr. Mechanic is working on tire #2. All he did was take the tire off, turn it around and put it back on the same rim... We were all perplexed. But we finally left and had a 5 hour ride up a super winding road. I was getting a bit car-sick with all the swooping around so took a nap in Mama's backpack for most of that trip.

And now... ta-dahh!!! We are in Dalat. It is beary different than the other places we have been. It is cool(er) and kind of hilly with lots of pine trees and old French villas. It has a definite European feel to it (at least in the buildings). We went on a motorcycle tour on our first full day in Dalat... it was interesting. Here are some highlights.

We visited a cricket farm where Mama ate a live cricket (some people) and then everyone sampled deep-fried crickets. The verdict - they taste like fried onions. There was no way I was going to join this group of Survivor wannabes!

Then we went to a market where we saw all sorts of different cuts of meat, most of which we don't see back home in the grocery stores - beef heart, intestines, brain, etc. I chose to stay focused on sweet things, like this fruit! It is dragon fruit and beary popular here - it's actually a cactus plant. The inside is white (or pink) with little black seeds.

Next - a silk farm where everyone refused to eat a boiled silkworm grub - maybe people do learn from experience!

And then off to Elephant Falls. Apparently the Vietnamese call it Volcanic Falls because of the volcanic rocks over which it flows. Not sure why the gringos (that would be people like us) call it Elephant Falls.

This is the top of the falls - looks beary impressive!

It was beary noisy and misty down there!!

A beautiful place although it was a scramble getting down there. I rode in Mama's backpack the whole way because she said my sandals were not going to make me sure-footed on the wet trail.

And then - we got to see people harvesting rice. They cut it out in the field (by hand), bring it to a big tarp where they shake it out (by hand) and then chuck the stalks (by hand) into a chaff-seperator which spits out green stuff from one end and left-over rice from another. You can see the tarp in the foreground is covered with rice grains.

It was a cool trip and I learned a lot about life in the highlands! I also learned that there aren't any bears left in the wild so that is why Mr. Motorbike didn't recognize me and how dangerous bears can be (grrr...) when you pull honey out from under their noses. Grrr... let me at him, I'll stare into his eyes with my best bear stare!


  1. Great views, and that waterfall looks beary nice!

    "Did someone say honeycomb?" --Jerry

  2. A beary interesting trip to Dalat. My mom says she knows someone who grew up in Vietnam, his parents were missionaries there. He went to a boarding school for missionary kids in Dalat. That was back in the 60's.

    You showed great restraint Sandy, by not going after that man with the bucket of honey. I'm thinking you may need to practice your ninja-bear moves for the next time such a vast amount of raw honey is under your nose.

  3. @Jerry & Ben - I thought Jerry would like that honey!

    @Buttons - Dalat is beary beautiful! It would be a nice place to live because it isn't so hot as down near the coast (where I am now and sweating buckets of bear sweat!). The problem with me missing the honey grab was... it was so beary hot there (we were still near Mui Ne) and the heat makes me move really slowly. Now if I had seen the honey in Dalat... I would have pounced!