Vietnam Day Six- Thursday - Da Lat

December 1, 2011
vietnam asia

We had a craving for Banh Mi Thit, possibly pronounced “Bang My Tit” in colloquial Australian English. We found the place recommended to us by a friend called Nhu Lan. Tasty, but the bread isn’t airy enough! Lots of pate though, good stuff.

The taxi driver then took us to a place to change money. The staff seemed pretty slack. They didn’t even bother looking at the current exchange rates, just swapped 21 000 vietnamese dongs for a dollar.

Went to Vincom plaza to play some vibraphone. We also bought a funky dog toilet paper dispenser. Very expensive compared to the rest of our trip, ended up being 1 million dongs or something since I bought a duck money bank with the dog (I’m a sucker for ducks, edible or non edible).

The dog dispenser was quite a complicated adventure actually. I had my suspicions on whether or not the dog  worked. I believed the paper would rip at the wrong point because the funnel for the tissue was too tight. We ended up running over to the nearby supermarket and buying a roll of toilet paper and testing it on the dog. Yes, I know, we are very classy high class tourists. The roll didn’t end up working unless you took out enough paper so there we were in the most expensive plaza in Saigon unrolling the toilet paper and throwing toilet paper everywhere. We bought the dog.

We had to rush home and pack our bags. We were very late. The dude that picked us up was a completely random dodgy dude, in a kidnappers van. It was a 9 seater or something, which shouldn’t be in a cramped city like Saigon in the first place. The windows were fully tinted. I didn’t trust the fellow (I don’t think anyone could, except his mum maybe), so I had to choose my wording carefully to make sure I don’t give away critical information. Plus the fact that he grabbed our luggage immediately didn’t help. The conversation went like this:

Me: So… what company are you from/Who sent you?

Him: (Some random name who could’ve been the tour guide or driver from yesterday)

Me: So… What time were you meant to be here?

Him: I was here since 11am

Me: Getting suspicious since he was meant to be here at 1pm So… do you know where we’re meant to be going?

Him: (Some random Vietnamese I didn’t understand)

Me: Wondering why the hell I asked a question whose answer I would not understand anyway So…

Him: Shows me an SMS saying to pick up 2 people at 1pm

Me: Herp Derp good enough

Luckily we were not kidnapped, but were driven pleasantly to the airport. TWENTY MINUTES LATE! We checked in, dashed to the security checkpoint where they started doing the final call. We ran into a douchecanoey security guard who was giving everyone a hard time about crossing lines on the floor and generally being an ass. I suppose he needed more control in his life, maybe his wife gives him a hard time or something. I was, however, pleased that he booted people who were trying to push in (due to lateness) to the back of the line, or at least wherever people would let them in.

We dashed all the way to gate 12. Ran into the bus, sweaty, huffing and puffing. Then the bus just sat there for another 10 minutes, so we were really rushing for no reason!

We then took the flight to Da Lat, the lovely Paris of Asia. For some mysterious reason I have acquired the ability to collapse into a coma as soon as I sit in a plane seat. I honestly sit down and then arrive at my destination. I don’t even remember the safety inductions! Steph, however, is there twiddling her thumbs since she has a giant slab of a human snoring next to her.

We arrived in Da Lat one hour later with stomachs about to implode from hunger. Met with the tour guide, a friendly Vietnamese man known as Mr Hoang. His English was barely understandable unfortunately. His vocabulary is pretty good but his pronounciation leaves much to be desired. With much concentration we can understand him though.

We were allowed to eat at the local pho place near the airport. It tasted damn good (probably because we were so hungry). Surprisingly enough, we’ve eaten at so many dodgy street side places yet we do not have the runs! Well, I had mini runs for an hour or so but luckily nothing as drastic as Sidoarjo mudslide in my stomach when I was in Indonesia.

Checked in the hotel. They stole our passports. We panicked for awhile but all is well.

Went for a massage because I’m very secure in my manliness. Steph is not secure in her manliness but that’s okay. The massage was really no good, but that’s because we just came from Saigon Golden Lotus Spa and Massage Club. That place was exquisite. This place, however, had loud blaring music that mutes randomly, and maximises the volume randomly. The CD also skipped tracks, seeked randomly and got stuck. It was not as relaxing as I would’ve hoped.

The music itself in this ENTIRE town, seems to consist solely of my Dad’s music collection. Not sure how this happened, but there must’ve been some sort of time warp. I will need to investigate with my TARDIS.

Anyway, after the massage, Steph had her womanly pedicure and manicure. I did not have one because I am not secure enough in my manliness. Steph has not had one before so she wanted to give it a go. Apparently it is one of the most painful things she has ever encountered. Not to mention unnecessary. She states she will not do it (willingly) ever again. Anaesthetic, bleeding fingers, cutty pokey women and still hurting a day later! Not sure why all those Aussies subject themselves to the Vietnamese nail salons back home.

For dinner we went to a fancy foreigner cafe named V Cafe. I ordered roast pork, hoping for roast pork. However this seems be illogical according to the kitchen there and I was treated to some tough rubbery steamed pork with a bit of mash potato sitting meekly next to it. Steph had crispy noodles stir fry. Attempting to get Pho Xao, but that stuff is rare as ambrosia. Almost.

Live music was being played at the cafe, but two old vietnamese dudes, coincidentally also playing tracks from my Dad’s music collection. It was incredibly loud, and the guitar vocals man was drowning out the harmonica man on purpose. Plus they kept changing keys constantly. Maybe to keep interest? I have no idea. I am however, impressed by their accent while singing.