Rice field in rural Vietnam
Used as an escape from the heat and bustle from Saigon, the mountain region is called the ‘Vietnamese alps’ and was chosen by the French vacationers who desired cooler weather. Although we had some bad weather on the first day, we were still able to do some rural touring and activities; including one of the most dangerous jaunts thus far when we trekked to a waterfall that was raging, on steep wet rocks with no shoes. We also visited a coffee plantation that makes weasel coffee: the weasel eats the coffee, it’s digested, and then it comes back out. You get the idea. Some consider this type of coffee a delicacy. This was also where we met another backpacking couple and went for dinner at a local spot in Dalat. As we walked in, a group of older gentlemen started to notice us. We also noticed them because they had a cooler of beer and were averaging one about every three minutes. As the end of the meal grew closer, the server informed us that the eldest man had offered to pay for our meal. It may seem less of a big deal to most, but for a man to pay four backpackers’ whole meal meant so much more than simply the total of our beers and plates. We were finally feeling this kindness so unique to Vietnamese people.
A second and more enjoyable waterfall
During our daylong tour of the countryside, there was a cricket farm and you better believe both of us ate our share. Similar to a crunchy peanut but just with a few legs, the crickets are also full of protein and not as tasteless as imagined. Since Dalat is located at a higher elevation, it also houses a larger variety of vegetables (including roots and artichokes) and very importantly, produces large amounts of Dalat wine. The grapes are grown in the area using French viticulture. Although wine is often never the first choice of beverage in SE Asia, this area is definitely the best choice to share a bottle at dinner. Obviously, we did just that and really enjoyed its tannins and medium body and the break away from the Saigon special (local beer).
Silk worms, for both wearing and eating
Kids being kids in rural Vietnam
Just like the French, we enjoyed our escape from the heat in the mountains but the desire to see more of Vietnam ultimately moved us forward.