Friday, 7 May 2010

Da Lat

One word to sum up Da Lat - weird. I wasn't really sure what to make of it, not in a completely bad way, but more of a bemused way. The travel guides didn't paint an altogether exciting picture, but our bus ticket meant that we had to go there - at least for a night - so we made the best of it and went on a bit of an exploration. Attraction-wise, one place stood out for me (perhaps because there aren't many to choose from), 'The Crazy House'. The name kind of says it all. The construction is the brain-child of architect Ms Dang Viet Nga, and it's just bizarre; steps made to look like tree-stumps, and several themed hotel rooms including 'The Termite Room', 'The Bear Room', 'The Tiger Room', and a slightly terrifying 'Kangaroo Room' with glowing red eyes. I can't say I would want to stay in any of them, but it was fun to indulge in the eccentricity for a couple of hours.

We found on the map a massive lake just outside the main town area, and thought it would be a nice place to have a walk around on the way to some flower gardens (God, I sound like my mum), only to find that - just as in Hanoi - it had been filled in! Couldn't believe it, especially as the scenic lake-side restaurant was still open for business!

Unlike most other places we'd been to, Da Lat was set apart due to the fact that it is particularly hilly, making a five minute walk a bit of a workout, but in general - it is just a 'normal' town. The one event that injected a bit of excitement to our short visit came just as we were waiting to leave. Around 7.30 in the morning, waiting in the doorway of the hotel, peering bleary-eyed down the road, I almost failed to notice the fact that a Vietnamese man was walking down towards me. Oh, did I mention that he was totally naked, apart from sandals and some kind of walking stick? No? Well, he was, flopping around and everything. No one seemed overly phased, or did anything, so I thought maybe it was a normal occurrence, and he wandered further down the street until he was out of sight. But then there was a lot of beeping, and traffic started to back up down the road. The last I saw of Mr Naked Man, was him being bundled into a police van, having had his arms and legs tied together. It was pretty brutal. So, advice - when in Vietnam, don't go for any naked walks. You can probably apply that to most countries, in fact.

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