who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the pink panther

our next destination was a town called da lat.  for some unknown reason the name got stuck on "repeat" in my brain, and conjured up the tune to the pink panther - so that whenever i said or read "da lat" i was then left singing "da lat-da lat, da lat ... da lat, da lat, da lat, da lat, da-laaaat duh duh duh duh dum".

and now, i suspect, so will you.  a moo-ha ha.

but i digress:  da lat.  right.  not much happening in this place.  our first day there was also the first day of rain that we've experienced in this so-called "monsoon season" - so happily, i spent most of it on the interwebs uploading photos to facebook.

the town was pretty small, pretty busy, pretty average and rather unpretty.  baffled as to why we had chosen to trek all the way there, we adjourned to our guidebooks for some insight and discovered that just beyond the centre of the town, there were indeed several rad things to see.  given the distanced between everything, we also realised that short of hiring a taxi for the day (something our budget simply would not allow) we had no other choice but to rent a motorbike to get to all the places we wanted to.

my dad always made me swear that i would never take drugs or get onto a motorbike - but fortunately he doesn't read this blog ... so if you don't tell him, he won't kill me.  also, maybe don't mention this to my mom either ... she likes to worry.  a lot.

anyway, turns out that Fathead is very good behind the handlebars of a bike, and after a few hair-raising intersections we had left the chaos of town behind us, and were heading for "the crazy house".

if tim burton was asked to build the house of his dreams, this would be it:   a weird, fantasy-inspired maze of twisted staircases and twirling towers.  bridges swell and narrow as they cross an enchanting garden, and lead into several different sections of what is now a functioning guesthouse: you can stay in goldylocks and 3 beers room, or in the mush-room.

it felt like we were walking through a salvador dali landscape - only i half expected to find myself following a fluffy white tail down a hole.
originally, hang nga guesthouse (but more aptly named, "the crazy house") was conceptualised by the excentric madam dang viet nga.  today it remains in a constant state of construction - an ever-evolving orb of weirdness.  it's also earned a very deserved place on the list of the top 10 most bizarre buildings in the world.
from the weirdest place i've ever been, we took a beautiful ride around their central lake and then followed a 5km stretch out to the datanla waterfall.  though it was quite small - we still loved it.  let's face it:  a waterfall is rad no matter it's scale.  the mist, the sound, the endless volume ... just really leaves you silenced in awe.

the best part of this particular trek into the country had to have been the self-controlled rollercoaster that we rode through the jungle down to the waterfall.  Fathead "drove" (or rather, Fathead did not brake)- and i shattered the tranquility of our jungled surrounds with shrieks of terror.  

we spent the rest of the day just enjoying the bike - a new and i must admit, rather thrilling experience.  we popped into the emperor bo dai's summer palace which was by far the most drab buliding i've ever seen.  well - that's not true.  the home affairs office in paarl is probably the drabbest.  but the "palace" of brown 70's yukness is a very close second.

nonetheless, da lat (strike up the band) turned out to be a rather enjoyable experience.  we had the most divine meals at a restaurant called Tu Ahn's, run by a wonderfully charming (read "off her rocker") woman who would cook you absoutely anything you wanted.  we checked out the thoroughly entertaining night market.  we even managed to be coaxed into a spot of clubbing in the world's loudest club.

so all in all, "the city of eternal spring" was rather festive - and definately worth checking out as a stop over, before you hit the very south of 'nam running.

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