Cooling off up North

Trip Start Nov 29, 2008
Trip End Jan 18, 2009

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A Dong

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Friday, December 19, 2008

The 19th featured a long bus ride north to Dalat, a beautiful city of 300,000 nestled in the highlands that is a popular vacation spot for Saigonese. Our bus was reasonably comfortable and arrived ahead of schedule thanks to our maniacal bus driver, who never had his hand off the horn or his foot off the gas.

The next day, we hopped on our motorcycles and headed to the cable car station, where we boarded gondolas for a short trip across the valley. On the other side, back on the motorbikes to a park with a small waterfall. We hiked a few hundred steps down to the waterfall, but took a roller coaster car back up to the top! Motorcycles, cable cars, and a roller coaster in one day--what varied transportation.

Back on the bikes for a trip to a hill tribe village in the countryside. We visited a tribal longhouse and saw the natives working to finish the new church before Christmas.

The final stop on our tour was the famous "crazy house." Violating every building code and sense of aesthetics imaginable, the house has been described as Dr. Seuss on LSD. The owner/ architect is a woman who was the wife of a major Communist party muckety-muck, which is how she got the money and approval to build the thing. Think of it what you will, it's certainly a sight to behold!

That evening after dinner we walked by the lake and enjoyed the celebrations. Our timing in visiting Dalat was quite fortuitous--not only was it near Christmas, but this was the 115th anniversary of the city's founding, which meant fireworks displays, music, and cultural performances.We also stocked up on snacks for our bus ride the next morning to Nha Trang.
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