Is this Vietnam?
We are more than a week in this country and I can only say that except for the cone-shaped hats, which do dot the landscape extensively, and a few rice fields, it is nothing like I had imagined. I cannot tell you exactly what pictures my mind was drawing beforehand, because they were more of an abstract depiction of a feeling rather than carefully crafted example of a realist painting.
Right now I am sitting at the lobby of our hotel in Dalat, perched in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, the chill of the air flowing in from the outside wipes away any the last wrong assumptions I had brought with me. Vietnam is supposed to be hot, muggy and covered in lush green swampy areas, instead we have enjoyed a few days at the beach soaking up sand dune views and playing in the waves of the South China Sea lapping the narrow beach. Then, after just a 4 hour drive through a road covered in pot holes bigger than the bus, which was a good thing as it meant that we traveled slow enough to enjoy the views unfolding all around us, we found ourselves in a cutout of the French Alps stuck 1500m high up in this Asian country. To say we were surprised will be an understatement. If there are people that come to Vietnam to see rolling hills covered in charming French buildings and carefully manicured gardens, where they can enjoy some cool fresh air, we were not one of those.
My travel appetite is awoken and I cannot wait to see what else this lanky country has to throw at us.
The Facebook blocking on the other hand has been an unpleasant surprise. I am trying to keep up the page going via email, but not sure how successful I am. Twitter is my new friend at the moment, so if you want to keep up daily, join me there as well.
Ah, Da Lat – preeecisely where I hope to settle come this winter when I move lock, stock ‘n barrel to Vietnam. Mainly ‘cuz of that glorious mountain air – nicely temperate (unlike the rest of the country) – much like my beloved PNW (Seattle) here.
Needless to say, I shall be hanging on your every mot the coming days. ;)
Dyanne, if you are after some mountain air, I dont see how DaLat would disappoint. How long will you stay here? When are you off?
Firstly: A bow to your excellent writing, your excellent blog design and your obviously excellent children, Mrs. Blab :-) I am reading your posts for quite a while now and you can be proud to be the single most important influence for our own next travel targets: Vietnam and Angkor Wat. Thank you for that!
As I am already starting into research for our itinerary next year (still so long to go…), I already have a question to you: Could you please tell (and show…) a bit more about your methods of getting around the country? For example, how and where and why did you hire the scooters in Vietnam? How much is it? How dangerous is it? Is this a wise choice for hardcore car drivers who have never sat on motored two-wheels before?
Thanks for sharing your rich experiences, and of course a praise to the photographer’s talent of your daughter! (By the way: Do the kids paint or draw anything? Maybe they would be happy to show their oeuvres too?)
Jenny…thank you very much for your extra kind words. I really hope you enjoy Angkor and Vietnam as much as we did.
I have been meaning to write about all of these details, but they have become so many, I am struggling to catch up. We get around the countries via buses and trains. Within a city/town we use the public transport (if available), taxis (cheapest option in Bangkok), and scooters whenever we feel its worth it, like if there are destinations around that we want to get to. Scooter hire is quite easy and available everywhere. The price per day varies between $5-$8. It can be dangerous, so its good to start slow, keep it slow and careful. I hope I get to writing my scooter post soon…since there is interest, I might actually push it forward on my list.
The kids are constantly ‘creating’. Thats another post… ;)
I’m looking forward to it… as it is, to all of your posts ;-)