Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Flying Pagoda

Hullo! Look what I found... another windmill!! They are of course strictly ornamental ones and this one is on top of a French restaurant.

Today I am off on a cable car ride to Truc Lam Pagoda. The cable car was beary exciting - 2.3 km long.

It went over pine forests and small valleys with lots of little garden plots. The Dalat people really like to garden!

There was even a lake near the pagoda - but it was really a reservoir. I was hoping to get a boat ride but... none of the boats there looked like they were for rent.

Walking up to the pagoda I saw some really cool bamboo clusters. They have bamboo everywhere here... like everywhere! And I can see how the bigger bamboo would make it beary hard to navigate through the jungle... unless of course you are a little bear. Little bears can slip through the bamboo like stealthy ninja fighters!

Here we go... the pagoda is coming up.

There were several buildings on the pagoda grounds and some extensive gardens as well. It took me a while to figure out that this convoluted tree was a bunch of fig (ficus - those houseplants) trees that had been coaxed to grow together. That must have taken a lot of patience!

But they make a great climbing tree for little bears!

This lion was guarding the pagoda but it was pretty easy to sweet-talk him into letting me sit on his head and have my picture taken.

Nearby there was also a big golden bowl full of sand. There were several incense sticks in it as well. The Vietnamese light the incense sticks in remembrance of their deceased relatives. You see these things everywhere! Every home has a little shrine where they have a picture of a buddha, some incense sticks and an offering of fruit.

Oh, and the gardens... whoa... look at the size of these hydrangeas!

And these are Hollyhocks... beary pretty!

And Cosmo...

And... hmm.... I'm not sure... and the humans aren't sure either. They are sort of a vine plant with thick leathery leaves. After a bit of searching, Mama says they are called Mysore trumpetvine or Indian clock vine.

There was a giant bell near the pagoda... can you see how big it is by how small I look?

Wha-hey! I took a peak underneath the bell (see my little feet?)... and..

The inside is plastered with little notes that people have left! Must be prayers or something. I don't think the humans would have noticed this if I didn't point it out to them!

Whew... all that exploring can really tucker a little bear out... We had a picnic lunch up there... Let's see... We have water, and a plastic cup full of rice crackers, a bag with slices of pineapple, some Laughing Cow (of course), a big bag of red pepper slices and... a new fruit!

This fruit is called Rambutan. It looks prickly but the spines aren't very pokey.

When you peel open the skin, there is a slippery white fruit in there, sort of like a lychee... It's quite tasty although you have to watch out for the seed.

I, of course, am always more interested in finding some honey. And this little shop near the entrance of the pagoda was the perfect spot! Look... jar after jar of honey. I wanted to buy all of them (I am a millionaire after all with Vietnamese money) but... some of those jars were almost 1,000,000 Dong. Sigh... I think a bit of honey on those rambutans would have been just the thing!

And then it was back onto the cable car...

It was a great trip and I had a blast... and learned something new too!

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