Our third day in DaLat was a bit of a nightmare. Nothing seemed to go our way. Cam Ly Homestay does a great job of putting together an endless amount of tour guided opportunities but McKayla and I figured we could do this one on our own. We borrowed bicycles from Tri and made our way to the local gondola across town. Closed for maintenance.
We decided we’d try to bike to Prenn Waterfall and wrangle up an ostrich for McKayla to ride. We hadn’t realized the road leading to Prenn was a fairly steep, winding, heavily trafficked highway. A half mile down, both of our bikes started acting up. One’s chain kept derailing and the other shook when the brakes were applied. So we made the call to cut our losses, bike back and try again tomorrow with a taxi. The roads here, believe it or not, suck for bikes almost as much as they suck for walking. Constant horns and people pulling out in front of you tends to leave me on edge. Always the fucking horns. At least we made it back safely.
That night, with a full guesthouse, Tri and his wife organized a big feast for everyone. There were three tables set up. At our’s, we were joined by our favorite traveling couple (a Dutch and a Belgian), a group of 3 Germans and 3 Canadians. All very nice people who we had the privelage to share a nice meal with. We started with duck stew, then were brought out the stuff for chicken roll ups, and finally grilled shrimp. It was really nice to have a community meal, it was something I hadn’t realized that I missed.
Our fourth day in Da Lat went like our day before was supposed to go. We walked to the far end of town to reduce our taxi fee to Prenn (only $6 USD). We entered Prenn waterfall and I can only describe it as a permanent carnival where the rides are animals, the towns people are Russian tourists, and the grounds are well kept gardens dotted with some of the most random statues you could think of. Once we got through the gate, the search was on to find McKayla an ostrich to ride. I’m not sure how, why or even when she found out about ostrich riding but she really has been after it to ride one of those monstrous birds. They really are huge, these ones were at least 8 feet tall, saddled and ready to ride. We had to make our way past horses, a camel, a water buffalo and a few elephants, but we found her ostrich. This thing had some giddy up, and had no problem with McKayla on his back. A few laps later McKayla left with a story, a grainy video, and wide smile to show for all her diligence.
Above the crowded park there were paths leading to 3 consecutively higher temples. Once we got halfway to the first temple the crowds melted away and we were left by ourselves, with a few groundskeepers, to enjoy 3 very well maintained, beautifully decorated temples on a hillside. It seems to be a clear rule of thumb, if you hike up hills, the crowds get smaller and smaller.
For being a few miles out of town we got a cab remarkably fast. It whisked us up the hill, that would’ve probably broken us yesterday on our shitty bikes, to the now open gondola. A nice gondola ride brought us over and down a hilly forest to a small community. There was a large Buddhist temple complex overlooking a large lake strewn with jagged inlets. We had some delicious street food, fish balls, vietnamese pizza, and some sort of magic beef wrapped in leaves and grilled, so good. I couldn’t tell you what kind of spice was in those leaf wraps, but we ate them leaves and all after being dipped in some hot sauce, possibly some of the best street food yet.
We called it any early night so we could rest up and get ready to meet our fellow travelers in Hanoi. We’ve been looking forward to seeing Jordan and Dylan in Hanoi before we even left the states, but now it’s actually here. Tonight they’re staying in Macau, which is supposedly the Vegas of China, but tomorrow we’ll get to see those shinning familiar faces.
Thank you Tri, Tri’s family, easy riders, and new found fellow travelers for making Da Lat and Camly homestay a particularly special place.