Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not exactly according to schedule

Almost as soon as I arrived in Saigon, I received an email from Vietnam Airlines that they'd changed my itinerary. Talk about panic when I saw that subject line in my inbox! They decided to cancel my morning flight from Saigon to Dalat and rebook me on the afternoon flight, so the timing of the scheduled entry you previously read wasn't quite accurate. Nevertheless, I made it to the mountainous resort of Dalat. The temperature drop was immediately apparent, as was the inverse relationship to my mood (higher, that is). By the way, Vietnam Airlines operates just like any western airline- no surprises there.

Last thoughts about Saigon, for the moment: I had read that monks had once set themselves on fire to protest political activities in this country. I don't think that's exactly accurate, I think it was spontaneous combustion. Yes, it's that hot here. I was not, however, worried, because I was drenched in sweat which would surely quench any flames.

Dalat was awesome. A smaller city of maybe 200,000, the pace of life is much slower. It is also extremely fertile (not unlike yours truly) so the mountains are covered in green and there are flowers everywhere. Zelda, if Jethro ever talks you into coming to Vietnam, insist on coming to Dalat. I was reminded of the pacific northwest or parts of the big island of Hawaii. I went to a lakeside monastery (gorgeous, see photo), the summer home of the last emperor (sad, dilapidated), and something called the Crazy House. Google that last one, because it defies explanation. I ate a wild boar curry, some grilled deer, and some rather plain pho. The deer was the best thing I've eaten so far, which is not to say that the food sucks, just that the deer was that good.

Nha Trang is hotter than expected. It was 37 degC when I arrived this afternoon, which is about 197 degF if I've done the math correctly.The beach is beautiful and I've got a great room at the Novotel. I had a very nice dinner on the beach of fish, squid, shrimp, and clams with a pina colada. The main drag here reminds me of the main strip at Waikiki (hence the pina colada) and the beach itself reminds me of Mexico. There are TONS of tourists here (my flight here was nearly 50% whitey) and they probably outnumber the locals. I'm not really sure what I'll have the energy or inclination for tomorrow, but it's time to hit the sack.


At 8:23 PM, Blogger Zelda said...

I wish we could go to Dalat instead, but all the family is in Saigon or Sa Dec. I'd have no choice but to suffer.

But it was hilarious when Jethro's grandparents came to visit. The heat was cranked up to 90 degrees in the house and they were shivering under blankets.


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